How To Avoid Vocal Strain While Singing And Speaking

How To Avoid Vocal Strain While Singing And Speaking


Do you want to know how to avoid vocal strain
while singing and speaking? In this video, I am sharing 5 most common
causes of vocal strain and tips on how to prevent them. They include physical and emotional reasons,
so stay tuned to find out how to get rid of that pesky tension from your voice. Hi! I am Katarina, speech language pathologist
from How 2 Improve Singing and here on this channel, I share practical tips about using
your voice in a healthy way. So, if this is a topic that interests you,
consider subscribing to this channel and hitting that bell notification icon so that you don’t
miss any of my videos. There are many different reasons why you may
experience vocal strain. Here are five most common reasons of vocal
strain when singing or speaking. Cause #1: Overusing the Voice
If you are using your voice more than it can handle, it can lead to tension. How do you know if you strained your voice
in this way? If you are hoarse, feel discomfort or pain
during or immediately after prolonged use of voice, but this strain disappears after
vocal rest, you know that you overused your voice. Some examples of contributing factors that
add to vocal strain are using your voice in a loud environment, this includes singing
with a band without proper amplification, or giving a presentation to big audience in
a room with poor acoustics, or using your voice while having an acute infection, such
as common cold or flu. It is possible to use your voice, sing or
speak when you are sick but it is not ideal because you are using more vocal effort and
muscle force to produce clear sound. These are just a few examples of voice overuse. If you don’t know what other conditions
can contribute to vocal overuse, you can download a free checklist of abusive vocal behaviours. Click this link or a link below this video
to get your checklist. If you experience hoarseness, discomfort or
pain on a regular basis after using your voice, you can develop a more serious vocal injury. Also, if the vocal strain remains after taking
vocal rest, it may mean that you have an underlying voice problem. This is the time to speak to your doctor. And if you are not sure, go and see a doctor
anyway, it’s better to be safe than sorry. What is the solution for vocal overuse? It is important to become aware of factors
that can contribute to vocal overuse and avoid them if possible. Also, build vocal endurance and strength by
practicing regularly and schedule voice use wisely, with build-in vocal breaks and time
for voice recovery. Cause #2: Fear and Anxiety
Voice is known to be affected by emotions and stress. When your mind perceives a situation as dangerous,
your body initiates the flight or fight response. Your body increases muscle tension, whether
it’s in your throat or somewhere else, increases heart and breathing rates, it may shiver or
sweat, cause dry mouth and throat and other symptoms. Solutions for this kind of vocal tension may
include practices such as progressive body relaxation, meditation or laryngeal massage. Progressive muscle relaxation is an exercise,
during which you systematically tense particular muscle groups in your body, such as your neck
and shoulders. Then, you release the tension and notice how
your muscles feel when you relax them. This exercise improves overall tension in
your body and decreases stress levels. When you are in a state of chronic tension
or strain you may not even recognize what relaxation feels like. This exercise helps you learn the difference
between the feelings of a tensed muscle and a relaxed muscle. In situation of stress, for example before
audition or performance, you can find the relaxed state easier. And this exercise only takes 5 or 10 minutes
a day. Now, meditation. The benefits of meditation are well recognized
in many areas of life. Meditation can also affect the vocal function. I have a confession to make: I have been a
speech-language pathologist for a long time but I only recently realized the amazing potential
of meditation for my own voice. Meditation may not suit everyone but in regards
to your voice a short meditation, as short as two-minute breathing meditation, when you
focus on your breath, can be beneficial for your voice and overall well-being. I also mentioned a laryngeal massage as a
way to loosen vocal strain and muscle tension. I made a whole video on this topic so you
can watch it right after this video. I will link to it below this video. Cause #3: Poor Breathing Technique
Inefficient breathing is very often the cause of straining and tension. For example, if you inhale audibly, tension,
narrowing or strain is already present in your vocal mechanism even before you start
signing or talking. Or pushing too much air through the vocal
folds, especially when you sing high notes or talk very loudly. Too much subglottal pressure can cause tightening
of the vocal folds, which may engage muscles surrounding the larynx and you end up with
pressed or tight phonation. Some singers may call this type of sound production
“singing from the throat” and it basically means that the vocal effort is not distributed
evenly among all body parts participating in singing and talking. But most of the vocal effort is put on your
larynx and the vocal folds, which causes strain. How to deal with this cause of vocal strain? Include breathing exercises into your daily
routine or vocal warm-up. I have many breathing videos on this channel
so have a look around to improve your breathing technique. If you don’t know if you are breathing efficiently,
click this link and download a free breathing checklist that will help you assess your breathing
skills. I will also leave a link to this free resource
in the description below this video. Cause #4: Incorrect Posture
Your vocal strain may be caused by your poor habitual posture. It may be as simple as that. Keeping your head in the forward position
like a buzzard creates tension in the neck muscles, which may be transferred to the vocal
folds and that directly affect your voice quality. It is easy to become a victim of a bad habitual
posture in today’s world of smart phones, tablets and electronic devices all around
us. Become aware of your posture throughout the
day as well as during singing or talking. Maybe, you jut your head or jaw forward when
you sing high notes or talk loudly. Check in the mirror and start improving your
body alignment. Cause #5: Faulty Vocal Technique
Not knowing how to navigate through vocal registers, inability to keep your throat open
when singing high notes, pushing when belting, using little resonance, raising the larynx
too much are just a few examples of inefficient vocal technique. Some of these practices can even lead to more
serious vocal problems, if used over a long period of time. In other words, you may be experiencing vocal
strain because you are engaging muscles that are not necessary for sound production or
you engage the right muscles but with too much force. I recommend that you try some good old vocal
exercises that support a balanced muscle use and equalize air pressures below and above
the vocal folds. You may have heard me talking about so called
SOVT exercises or semi-occluded vocal tract exercises. Examples are lip rolls or tongue trills, straw
exercises, vocalization on fricatives and similar exercises. Now, it’s your turn. In the comments below, let me know which tip
to lessen vocal strain appeals to you most. I hope you found this video useful. If yes, click the like button and share it
with your friends who may benefit from this information. And click the red subscribe button to stay
in touch. Thank you for watching and I will see you
in my next video. Bye.

19 comments on “How To Avoid Vocal Strain While Singing And Speaking

  1. Katarina H. Post author

    Thank you for watching. Let me know which tip do you find the most applicable to your voice? Comment below. Here is a link to a video about the laryngeal massage that I mentioned in the video: https://youtu.be/um0fp2s2PUo

    Reply
  2. Kate Pearl Goddard Post author

    Love this! I see these tips translating not only to singing but speaking, acting, voiceovers etc.

    I love how this has been created as specific to singing but your advice transcends multiple aspects!

    Posture in particular resonated with me!

    Thank you! 🙏🏾✅

    Reply
  3. HardwireSpeers Post author

    I've had a lot of strain issues over the last 5 years or so and your tips are always appreciated. Posture, breath support and technique have all been instrumental in improving. I've recently started to do meditation as well – learning the Ziva Meditation method which is two 15 minute sessions per day in a nicely structured way has been great.

    Reply
  4. Bryan Toder Post author

    This is interesting that, while don't sing (in public!), I know to relax and reduce tension before I start making videos, audios, and such! Your video is excellent!

    Reply
  5. Expat Essentials For Italy Post author

    The incorrect posture is one I'm guilty of. It's surprising how much that we take for granted has an effect on the vocal cords. Well-explained video.

    Reply
  6. The Omega 3 Zone Post author

    Wow! Wasn't aware that meditation can be so helpful for the voice. Good tip about regular resting of your voice. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  7. Overall Buddies Post author

    Wonderful and helpful video! Thank you! I'm here from our bosses group and I really appreciate this information! I think Posture is the hardest thing for me right now…mostly because of computer work!

    Reply
  8. qadri kashif Post author

    excellent advise please advise me through mail i am suffering from vocal cord spasm and rigid i apply to much force to speak my speech therapy is going on but there is no result five months have been send me you email address

    Reply
  9. C L Post author

    I was diagnosed with acute laryngitis and been having hoarse voice for 2 months and a week already . Was even advised absolute voice rest for 1 week straight but I was not able to completely obey. It got better with medications but I still could not sing the way I could before 🙁 Thanks for this vid.

    Reply

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