Singers, have you slipped?

I haven’t been vocalizing near as much as I should be. I was very motivated at Christmas through to March break; doing my exercises, soaring through my bridges every day. It felt good, I was crooning!

The last couple of months I’ve been busier. Spring is here and I like to get outside in the garden, and take the dogs for a walk. It’s my favourite time of year. The days just fly by.

Yikes! My voice is paying the price. I did a gig yesterday and I noticed the setback. I was specifically having trouble accessing my head voice resonance as I was bridging through my first passagio.

Luckily I knew the steps to take straight away to get back on track. I focused on taking deeper breaths and engaging the abdominal muscles; I backed off on my volume a bit to the point where my vocal cords were “lighter” and I could handle the air pressure enough to focus on my “cry” and onset of each phrase.

If I was in better vocal shape setting out yesterday, my usual warm-up before a booking would have set me up well with the coordination necessary to get the “cry” and “twang” necessary to bridge through my first passagio with ease.

Once I settled in to the “rhythm” where my vocal cords, breath and body were in sync with each other, I was then able to focus on the bigger picture…..the dynamics, the resonance and vocal effects……and of course, the audience!

So, today I’ll vocalize for two sets of 20 minutes, or maybe longer depending on how it feels. I will do this daily (very focused) until I feel I’m back at the top of my game. Then it will be OK to take a day off once in awhile!

Taking It Easy….

OK, so I haven’t literally “been on the road” with a band. Most nights I was actually able to crawl into my own bed around 3 or 4 am. I had worked tirelessly for years at three and four-night weekend gigs, most of them requiring significant travelling before and after…anywhere from 1/2 hour to two hours each way. When I was younger I didn’t think about how taxing this lifestyle was on my body. I was having fun….doing what I love. I had the best job in the world.

However, as the years went by I began to notice the effects these gigs were having on my voice. I was growing more aware of the trouble I was having singing my “big” songs at the end of the night, and I noticed my throat was often sore. When I had a cold I would sing anyway, and almost welcome the hoarseness because it gave me a husky sound that I couldn’t otherwise accomplish. I would wake up in the morning with severe broken-up sound quality due to “pushing” through the hoarseness the previous night.

It took almost ten years to realize that my voice had gone downhill. Songs that once came easy with “big” notes were now a constant concern as to whether I could “push” them out.

My life changed when I started studying my voice…..and got a nice “little” house gig in a lounge. These two changes complimented each other nicely. My voice has since grown “bigger” than it ever was.

There is no more ideal way to learn how to sing better than to simply know about your instrument…how it works, how to take care of it, and how to exercise it so it will last you a lifetime!