How to Soothe and Prevent a Strained Voice
Does your voice feel sore and tired? Had a long string of performances or a weeks solid in the studio? Many singers over work their voice resulting in strain. Just like athletes pull a muscle and create injury, when a singer strains their voice this is much like pulling the muscles used to make your voice produce sound. It is most important to be aware of how and hen your voice starts to strain and then how to prevent it happening.
See below my tips to help prevent and a soothe a strained voice.
Sing Phrases on narrower vowels such as ‘ee’ and ‘oo’ in order to acheieve easier high notes, using this technique enables you to prevent your voice from cracking which contributes to straining the voice.
Don’t push when getting higher, as you increase up your range whether it is during scales or a song by getting louder and stronger you risking pushing your voice to its limits. Resisting the urge will enable you to get to the higher notes with more ease and without straining. Pushing means your are making yours chords vibrate at a faster rate and only creates more of a strain on your voice.
Don’t be afraid. Some singers tend to shy away from places in their voice they don’t think they can reach, if its a fast phrase a note too low or a note too high, work on it. Practice it, and don’t be afraid. It will become easier and easier the more your practice.
Relax. Whilst you are singing; choose a fairly easy song, walk around and relax your body, the more you think about how and what you are singing sometimes doesn’t work in your favour. Keeping your shoulders, neck, and tongue relaxed helps to release vocal strain. The more your tense your body the more strain it puts overall on your voice.
Keep your tongue in a forward position. Often singers suffer strain from keeping their tongue too high at the back of their mouth creating a block for the air to get through from the diaphragm. Start to let your tongue move forwards ever so slightly to release tension and preventing strain.
Lower your Larynx, first find your larynx by placing 2 fingers where your adams apple is (or for you girls where we would have one!) you will feel your larynx moving up and down when your speak. Singers often find strain when their larynx is kept in a high position especially on high notes. A way to help relax the larynx when going for a high note is to think of an elastic band stretching as you ascend higher, you are going down as much as you are up. Imagining this will enable you to lower your larynx, reducing strain.
Use correct breathe and technique, try ‘anchoring’ yourself as you sing for notes you are afraid of. Giving yourself support and engaging your muscles will help tremendously preventing your voice from straining as easy. Check out some anchoring techniques HERE!
Water. Whilst singing keep your vocals lubricated and healthy to prevent yourself from straining. Particularly if the room you are in is very dry, there is nothing more damaging than singing with dry vocal chords, this in itself leans to voice to straining. Find my Tips on keeping a voice healthy HERE!
As your voice strains you will start to feel tension around your neck and shoulders, it is essential at this point you stop for a little time whilst you feel your body return to normal tension. In this time perform a few sirens to bring your larynx back to normal position – much like a warm down. This helps to release a few bits of tension that may still be there. Once your feel your voice is now back to normal position and no longer feels a strain you may return to practise but be aware of the things that may make you strain. Singing should be easy, there are things such as breathing and using technique where you do think about how you are singing but all in all singing should be natural.
Key points to remember;
- Don’t Push
- Keep Healthy
- Listen to your voice
- Know your limits
- Work up to parts of your voice your struggle with.
- Don’t be afraid
- Lower your larynx
Soothe Your Voice with Honey. Honey is fantastic for helping your voice regenerate, it coats the vocal chords with soothing antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. Manuka Honey being the best of its kind. Its i great for protecting the vocal chords and when having a sore throat when your voice feels it is in need of some love most!