Troubleshooting the Voice
We all have those songs that elude us, perhaps it's a high note just out of reach, or maybe a passage that we barely get through on one breath. All singers experience hurdles, but how do we move past them?
Firstly understand that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! It is a part of learning to make mistakes and experience hardship. Singing is a skill, and like any skill, it takes practice.
It is important to differentiate vocal trauma from muscle ache, these two things are not the same. Let’s use the gym as an example. When ‘leg day’ rolls around, that soreness you experience after a workout, while it is not pleasant, still means that you have worked productively with your body. By the same token, it is obvious to you when something has been overdone, pulled or torn. It is the same with your vocal folds. Vocal trauma is categorised by an ich, prickle or anything that triggers a cough or clearing of the throat. Warming up and stretching after a vocal workout is paramount to your vocal health. If you are experiencing any vocal trauma, refer to my previous blog I Have A Cold, It's Not Funny! I’m getting off track here, but my point is that you will experience better results when you maintain a consistent vocal care routine, and listening to what your body is telling you will make a huge difference.
Listening and analysing the lyrics of your songs can be a great tool in informing how you sing. Letting the lyrics inform the song will help keep your effort and energy levels high, and help problem solve any difficult moments.
Often, if you find you are running out of breath, it can signal different things. You may be leaking air, or using extraneous effort to push the breath out. Work with your vocal coach and utilise the exercises they give you to help.
Learning how your voice operates will significantly help you with troubleshooting songs. Small changes in the way you sing, perhaps a higher larynx or tongue, maybe an adjustment in the flow of breath... Knowing the ins and outs of your instrument will give you the power to make great change. It’s important to consistently practice and reexamine your techniques to ensure they are effective, but you will get there! So keep practicing, and keep singing in the meantime.