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Vocal strain is the #1 complaint from singers, so it seemed fitting to kick off our podcast by addressing an all to common problem that prevents you from singing or speaking to your full potential.
There is a wealth of bad information about this issue, leading already frustrated singers to believe it might not even fixable. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
I hope you find hope based on the science of vocal anatomy in the answer I give to Alyssa’s question.
I’m an aspiring voice actress and singer. I can hit notes really good sometimes but other times I feel tension in my voice. Sometimes I get so scared about vocal damage that I get discouraged about doing voice acting and that makes me so sad. Is it too late for me?
I answered by sharing details about:
- What actually causes strain, pain and tension in the voice for both singers, speakers and voice talent
- What few people (that includes teachers, trainers and professors) know about vocal strain
- How strain, pain, tension and even vocal damage can be reversed for good
- What your voice will really be like once vocal strain is removed the right way
Thank You For Listening to the Show!
– Kim Snyder,
host of the Help My Voice Podcast, certified vocal coach and vocal repair technician, and creator of The Voice Club Method & The Voice Club Academy
Today I am 25 weeks pregnant. It’s taken a long time, but I think I’m finally in the stage which is commonly referred to as “the glowing period”. Perhaps people are just being nice, but I have been variously described as “glowing” “blooming” and “bonny’” in the past few weeks, which I’m taking as validation that I look as good as I feel!
Having had a rough ride in the first trimester, I’d like to take some time to record some of the positive things about this stage of pregnancy:
My usually oily skin and hair have dried out a bit, and oddly I hardly seem to sweat anymore, which means I can go 4 days without a shower. Result.
I have literally never felt so motivated in my life. I am a goal-orientated person by nature, so the rush of positive hormones plus the inevitable impending deadline (must get everything done before the birth) mean that I am getting so much done at the moment.
Work projects, household projects, other people’s household projects, writing, recording, knitting baby blankets… you name it, I’m knocking it out of the park.
In addition to this, as I’m finishing existing projects I’m not starting any new ones (well, not work ones, anyway…) so my diary is looking clearer every day. I am eagerly looking forward to the day when I can delete everything entirely and legitimately concentrate on nothing but motherhood for a few months.
“Last chance saloon”
Not that I imagine that parenthood will be the end of all life and fun as we know it (quite the opposite, I hope and expect) but right now I am making the most of being able to go to the opera, museum exhibits and other cultural events without Baby Bignell screaming the place down.
My creative juices are flowing wildly, so I am soaking myself in culture and hoping some of it comes out in my own creative projects!
Pregnancy has become a normal state of being for me now, and I’m just reaching the stage where it’s less ambiguous to other people (I’ve lost count of the number of people I have caught looking at me quizzically, clearly thinking “is she? isn’t she?”)
It’s not that I forget I’m pregnant, exactly, but spending the day dressed in well-cut maternity clothes and with a mind often focussed on other things it surprises me at the end of the day when I undress the bump and look at it full-on in the mirror. I love my new shape – looking at my bump now almost makes me sad I won’t be pregnant for much longer.
There’s something very satisfying about having all these new curves (and not having to worry about body fat – pregnancy is the one time in life when you are forbidden to diet!) Looking at my body and knowing it’s doing what it is naturally designed to do – create and bring forth life – is very fulfilling when I take the time to reflect on it. I’m reminded of the times when, as a child, I would look in the mirror and poke my belly out to imagine what it would look like when i became pregnant. Now that day is here, and it really is magical.
So vocally, what is going on at this stage of pregnancy?
A problem for many women during the second trimester is pelvic pain, as the uterus expands more rapidly and requires the rest of the pelvis and abdomen to stretch and re-arrange itself. If this is a problem for you, try these tips:
- Lie on your left side on the floor, with a pillow supporting your head. Your lower leg should be straight and your upper leg bent at the knee at a right angle. Place a pillow or two in between your knees so that your hips are straight.
- Do your normal vocal workouts in this position, and notice which muscles want to get involved to “help” you make the sounds. This is important – you only need to engage the muscles inside the larynx in order to make vocal sounds, and any muscular tension elsewhere in your body (legs, abs, chest, neck, etc) should be much more obvious to you in this relaxed position.
- Actively relax those areas which want to tense up. You can choose any typical relaxation technique to do this. A popular technique is to tense the muscle for 5 seconds and then release it.
- Try your vocal workout again, asking your body to relax. Notice what differences occur in your body as a result of the relaxation and ‘re-setting’ process.
In this way you can not just “survive” the singing commitments you need to undertake while you’re struggling with aches and pains, but you can actually use your pelvic pain (or other aches and pains) to help you make valuable progress.
When you’re feeling 100% you’re less likely to notice tension in your body when you sing. When you’re in pain, you need your body to be as relaxed as possible, so you will be more aware of tension when it arises. However you’re feeling, extrinsic muscle tension will get in the way of healthy vocal progress.
Turn this challenge into an opportunity and watch what happens in your voice. Tell us by leaving your comment below.