Let’s be clear, if it tickles, scratches or hurts then you are doing something wrong.
Fatigue, on the other hand, is a sign of growth (assuming the fatigue is in the correct place). If you want to sing better, you need to teach yourself the details necessary to achieve your fullest potential. And, you will get tired. Ah, but be careful. Is your effort in the correct place? This is where a teacher to guide you can speed up your progress significantly.
Self awareness is key here. You are in charge of your body and voice. You are the driver. We, the teachers, are simply the navigators. We don’t know how hard you are working and where your effort is. We only have our ears to signal us as to what you are likely doing. You, on the other hand, have your body, your mind, and your throat to steer you in the right direction.
Here are some variables to keep in mind.
1. How much air are you taking in before you sing a phrase?
2. How much air are you letting out on the first opening (onset) of a phrase, and continuing to let out throughout the phrase?
3. How much cord closure are you getting? Too much will cause over-compression and a squeezing loud sound. This is usually not pleasant to listen to. Too little closure and you will not have the ability to bridge or control details like dynamics and resonance.
4. How much thinning of the vocal cord edges are you getting? This is where some of the real action is, and it’s so detailed, it needs an entire book. (And it’s in direct relation to your breath intake/out-take and cord closure noted in #1, #2, and #3.
5. How high is your larynx? Careful attention to the up and down movements of your larynx will help guide you. Knowing when your larynx is going too high when singing high notes will help you stay on the right track.
6. How much resonance are you achieving? Optimal resonance will give you and your audience goosebumps! When you find the “zone” for balancing your voice with the frequency you are singing, your voice will pop. Your voice will feel huge. The key here is maintaining that balance of resonance and harmonic overtones throughout your entire range. Great resonance can only be achieved when the above are in good working order.
7. How much are your vocal cords stretching? The ability to stretch will create twang, which will increase resonance and a whole other gamut of great things you can do with your voice.
8. How open is your throat and mouth? What is your tongue doing?
Although singing isn’t rocket science, we were each born with a unique instrument inside our throat. This makes every person’s path to improvement different. What works for me, might not work for you. But, knowing the details to look for can put you in the driver’s seat.
Questions? Comments? Please leave them below.