Vocal Tension – What is it and how to Free it.
Many singers suffer from Vocal Tension, Myself included! Having been through a rough time singing with vocal tension it has taken a while to get back to singing freely, something you can easily take for granted. Read on to hear my story and tips for how to free your vocals from tension.
What is Vocal Tension?
So you are wondering, what is Vocal tension? vocal tension occurs when the voice is overworked or technique has slipped and become lazy. You feel yourself tiring quickly whilst singing, and vocals appear to loose the quality of sound.
Singers have a habit of trying to emulate the sound the original singer has created for the song which does not always fit within your range, meaning you are manipulating your voice twice as hard to sound like the original recording instead of using your own voice to make the song your own.
Singing is about being relaxed within your vocal range to produce the sound, any tension you feel around you throat,jaw,tongue or even from your head after a session is reducing your quality of sound, making all these areas overwork. Singing should be effortless and easy.
How is Vocal Tension Created and What to Do
1. Moving the larynx up and down whilst singing.
Sometimes we allow our Larynx to move too freely up and down, making it work harder than it should be. You need to remember to keep relaxed and let your larynx tilt forwards an backwards only and if it is going to move up and down make sure this is only slightly and it is only supposed to move when swallowing, using more muscles. Making these muscles work when not needed will create a form of tension.
2. Straining your Voice
If you push your voice too hard, you can feel yourself strain. When you find yourself constantly straining you may start to feel more vocal tension as the muscles have been over stretched and are not given enough rest time to regenerate, much like is an athlete pulls a muscle, it needs rest!
3. Tensing your whole body.
If you tense your whole body whilst singing you will contribute to vocal tension, remember to relax, the more relaxed your body is the better you will sing! Don’t be afraid of notes and try not to push too hard for notes you can’t quite reach.
My Vocal Tension
So, let me tell you a little about my journey with tension of the voice…
My Vocal Tension started a while back, about 2/3years ago, i can honestly say i never recovered from my singing voice ‘breaking’ at the age of 14 and maturing, i struggled and pushed a bit too hard to get my voice sounding like it did before. I learnt that my voice had become lower in range and i had to work a lot harder to hit the top belt notes of the upper F/G! This is where i went wrong – i pushed too hard and created a TON of tension, easily enough to last a lifetime.
So, once i realised what was happening i started to seek help. I learnt all the little tricks and tips to tell when i was becoming tired in the voice and also how to prevent myself from straining and creating the dreaded tension that left me feeling as though i would never sing the same!
After a lot to retraining and help from my tutors, i started to regain some of the little bits of my voice i used to love for example my vibrato evened out and going from a high to low note become easier with time.
Whilst all this was going on, my singing teacher recommended Ed Blake on Harley Street. She mentioned that she had been going to him for a while to release tension especially after giving birth resulted in a terrible lock jaw and they were able to free this within seconds. At Ed Blake they are the only physiotherapists in the country that are specialist in Vocal Physiotherapy. I HAD to try it, and see if this helped my vocal tension, and it DID! I absolutely would recommend them any day. In total i went to 6 sessions, each one got easier as i went along. The sessions i can describe only as a sports massage on your neck, very tough but worth it, i am terrible if anybody even touches my neck so this was a big thing, it was painful for the first few sessions although it did get easier. I instantly noticed a difference in my voice after the first session! visit their website here! http://www.physioedmedical.co.uk
So after a long battle i am not just more understanding about vocal tension but more aware of how it is created and also how to prevent it from happening.