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I can teach you the philosophy and technique that can help you become a singer that is more:
- Technically proficient
- Emotionally engaging
- In control of their voice
- Protective of your voice
Most of what I have to share comes from my real life experience of playing music as a professional musician.
For example, after having troubles with sore throats from singing for almost 2 years (really bringing my vocal confidence down), I realized why singing in the car can lower you confidence (and why warm-ups can turn that around).
And, how to fix a raw throat in 30 seconds, both topics that I am going to cover in this article.
I just want to show you how your voice works, what you need to do to take care of it (and avoid sore throats like mine), and give you some idea’s that will help you be more creative, and more expressive with your voice.
After all, you don’t want to grow older and find that the way you treated your voice (poorly) when you were young, has now completely wrecked your vocal chords.
Even worse than that would be if you were to develop polyps on your vocal chords, making them virtually unusable; the costly surgery to remove them is dangerous and could stop you from ever being able to sing again.
We really don’t want that to happen, do we? So let me show you how to take care of your voice, so we can avoid ever having to take such a drastic and life-changing measure.
Read on to learn more about the exciting world of your voice…
Vocal Health For Singers – Keep Your Voice Damage-Free
Why Singing In The Car Can Hurt Your Confidence (And How Vocal Warm-Ups Can Turn That Around!)
I realized a long time ago that my throat was consistently sore, all the time!
This was extremely frustrating for me as all through high school I would sing for hours on end in vocal jazz and musicals.
And all through that time, I rarely ever had a hard time with my voice.
So why now would I start getting sore throats that made singing even 1 song (without a sore throat) a difficult task?
I realized that it had to do with singing along to the bass in my car, and ended up getting my voice back to a point where I could sing entire concert sets.
Here’s why it happened in the first place…
The first thing you need to remember is that your vocal cords are somewhat similar to your ear drums in that they don’t really react well to just “sudden usage”.
For example, if you just hear a massive 120+ db “BANG!” in your ears, you can expect a bit of ringing and it’s possible it might even hurt or damage your ear drums.
But if that “Bang” started with a low rumble, and slowly increased the volume up to the 120+ db that you originally heard, you would find that your eardrums would compensate for this (They contract to lessen the impact on them).
If you give them time and warning that they are about to be used, you can prevent them from being damaged.
In the same way, just belting out a really high note, without giving your voice any time to react can cause some definite problems for you.
Just as the “BANG!” can hurt your eardrums, just shouting or singing really high, out of nowhere, can cause a lot more stress on your vocal cords than was intended for them.
But if you take the time to warm up (using offline or online singing lessons), you will find that the same “high-note”, that originally was difficult to sing, is now easily reached.
So now if you imagine that you are consistently singing in the car, and you are finding these high notes very difficult to reach; you might start to think that there is something wrong with your voice, or that you aren’t as good a singer as you used to be.
This isn’t true! And it can surely lower your confidence!
One thing I realized was, the reason I never had my voice get sore from Vocal Jazz was…
…the music director always had us warm up!
It turns out all those silly “Do-re-me-fa-so-la-ti-do” exercises actually did have a purpose! (I’ll be sure to make some Online Singing Lessons that will take you through these warm-ups so you can use them in the future!)
I just wasn’t educated on what that purpose was, which seems ironic considering I was supposed to be receiving education on this stuff…
Don’t blow off the warm up! It can make the difference between a shaky/sore throat, and a well-adjusted and controlled voice.
Can’t Breath…Not Enough Air!
A problem with singing, specifically in the car, is that when you are sitting down, there is pressure on your diaphragm that causes you to not be able to breathe properly.
When singing, you are supposed to breath into your stomach (Or at least it feels that way), because the bottom portion of your lungs is often not filled with air…
…that is a lot of extra air that you are missing out on!
Imagine if you could simply sing a note forever, without breathing. It certainly would be a lot easier for you, wouldn’t it?
Well if you breath down into your stomach, you can bet that you’ll be able to sing that note probably twice as long as if you didn’t.
See what Cracked.com has to say about it (scroll down to the “Breathing” section).
The point is, when you are sitting, it is much harder to access that lower portion of your lungs, thus causing you to put more pressure on your vocal cords to sing (Instead of putting more pressure on your stomach, like you are supposed to).
This leads to a lot more wear-and-tear on your vocal cords, making you think that you don’t have as good of a voice as you thought (It’s not true!)
They Did That In A Studio, You Did It On The Road
Oh, did I fail to mention this obvious point?
The musicians you are listening to on your car stereo recorded those vocal tracks over and over and over and over and over again.
Chances are that the album was recorded in some big studio, and they meticulously re-recorded vocals until they had a perfect take.
And after that, they applied compression, EQ’s; Pitch-Correction, and all other sorts of post-production madness.
Yet here you are, sitting there in your car, beating yourself up because you can’t sing it as good (live) as them (in the studio).
Now that I put it in perspective for you, it seems kind of silly for you to think that way doesn’t it?
And you aren’t even counting the part where you are not that specific singer. You don’t have the same voice as them. Your range is different, and your tone is going to be completely in a different direction.
Your voice is not worse, it’s different. And so is mine.
“But noooo”, you say; “I should be able to sing it exactly the same as that singer!”.
Well you can’t, and that doesn’t make you a bad singer, it just means you aren’t superhuman.
How To Get Rid Of A Raw Throat In 30 Seconds
Consistent hydration and warmups are a really great way to keep your voice from getting raw, but what if you need a short term solution?
What Does A “Raw” Voice Feel Like?
A “raw” voice often feels like you just can’t seem to sing as high as you would like to. I find that it’s quite a “phlegmy” feeling, meaning it feels like there’s a lot of snot in your throat.
When your voice is raw and not-warmed up, you will find that the tone of your voice is not as nice, and you will have a lot of trouble singing as high as you would like to.
In addition, you’ll have an overall feeling of lack of vocal control. You won’t really be able to do what you want to do with your voice, it’s really frickin annoying.
I want to make sure that we don’t confuse this type of raw with a strained voice though. Sometimes you might strain your voice to the point where it physically hurts or stings. The only solution for you at that point is to drink lots of water/honey, and let your voice rest.
What I’m talking about is when your voice feels weak, kind of like when you wake up in the morning and you can’t make a very strong fist with your hands; the muscles just don’t seem to work the way they ought to.
You might even just be recovering from a bit of a cold! It doesn’t really matter why your throat is raw (unless you’re in the MIDDLE of a cold, in which case you should rest and stop singing), what matters is how you can fix it.
Listerine As A Voice Treatment For Singers
There’s your solution right there. Gargle some Listerine for 30 seconds, and you’ll find that your voice is a lot easier to control, and you’ll also find yourself straining it a whole lot less.
I’m of course talking about the intense Listerine, not any of this new “less-intense” garbage. You’ll be wanting the stuff that makes you cry.
But there’s a bit of a caveat here:
This is not a substitute for getting a vocal coach. You cannot substitute this for keeping your throat hydrated, and for doing constant warmups on your voice.
The best voice care for singers is:
- Hydrate with lots of water
- Mix water and honey together. Honey is a great way to treat your voice in a healthy way.
- Warm up your voice every day (while giving your voice a break once a week, where you don’t sing at all).
I would also recommend getting a vocal coach if you have the money, as that is going to be the best way to improve your performance.
But if you just need to get rid of that raw throat right now, try Listerine. You’ll be surprised at how well it works as a short term solution when you have an emergency and need an extra boost on your voice.
Why Every Singer Should Make The Plastic Bear A Key Part Of Their Vocal Warm Up (And How It Can Help Heal Your Vocal Cords As Well!)
Vocal warm-ups are incredibly important to protecting your voice. But on top of online singing lessons and “do-re-mi-fa-so-la” warm-ups, there are other things you can do to protect your voice before a show (or just while you are practicing music) as well.
From A Growling Metal Vocalist
My buddy Braden was telling me about how he went to a metal concert, and was talking to the main growler/metal vocalist after the show.
Now anyone who is doing hardcore/metal music is going to have the toughest time protecting their voice, as the music they sing is already about as hard as they could possibly treat them.
So you know that they are going to have to have the best warm-ups and techniques in order to keep their voices from becoming damaged.
The growler he was talking to was holding one of those plastic bear-shaped squeeze bottles that had honey in it.
It was a pretty funny sight. Just imagine the most hardcore guy with long hair and tattoo’s, holding this:
He asked him about it, and apparently putting Honey into luke-warm water is one of the best drinks for your singing voice to protect it from a beating.
Your Vocal Cords’ Invisible Force Field!
You see, the sugar in the honey will coat your throat, so any damage and friction you are going to put on your vocal cords has to work it’s way through the sugar before it is able to really do any damage.
It’s kind of like putting up a small protective force field on your vocals.
This helps to relax your vocal cords, which in turn will help improve the tone of your voice, and will make it easier for you to sing.
So get yourself a plastic bear, and start drinking the lukewarm honey mixture every time you sing.
Try it just once, and you will get hooked; your vocal performance will be better than ever.
Bonus Tip: Mixing honey with tea and a little lemon juice (drink it very slowly) can help to heal your vocal cords if you ever put too much strain on them, or get sick. You can also use this to prepare for a performance as well!