Top two tips to prevent vocal over use
This time of year is pretty tricky and difficult to prevent vocal overuse, especially if you need to sing and rehearse frequently for holiday events. Vocal over-use and vocal strain are sure to kick in for nearly every singer! Be sure to check my last entry about seasonal vocal strain – that has more to do with your immune system being depressed simply because we get less sun in autumn and winter, at least up in these northern climes.
Once you are drinking enough water, sleeping enough, wearing a scarf, then what do you do to prevent vocal overuse? If you are singing too much, it’s going to show. More precisely, it’s going to be heard! So I’ve got some tips that I follow religiously to help with this problem:
Tips to Prevent Vocal Overuse
- No loud talking. No shouting to be heard in a bar, or yelling across a table at a restaurant or cafe. Zero. Zippo. In fact, minimize the amount of time you spend talking, period. Don’t even read to your kids in bed. Or at least not very loudly or theatrically, with different voices for all the characters. Why? Because, when you’re talking in English, at least, we tend to grate in the back of the throat and grab with the throat. It’s a spoken language that creates vocal strain, unlike Italian, where the consonants make touch-down near the mouth rather than in the back of the throat. If you talk less, you will rest your voice more. For classical singers, it’s TALKING that creates MORE vocal strain than singing, in fact! Proper bel canto singing doesn’t grab in the throat and create strain. The only way to create strain with classical singing is when you push too much air out with vocalization, for example, if you are creating volume and power artificially with a push instead of from the natural ring of using your head & chest resonance chambers completely and correctly. Capisce? Uh, no screaming at your kids either, of course! That goes without saying when trying to prevent vocal overuse.
- Keep it high! When you’re speaking, don’t push your voice down to a lower pitch. Women will often do this to sound more authoritative. Let your voice sit up nice and high and keep the vowels and consonants light and as close to the mouth / lips as possible. Keep your expressions to a minimum; keep your speaking voice bland and light.
Just by trying these two tricks, you will notice, in fact, how much time we spend creating vocal strain by our theatrical manner of speaking! Give it a shot and let me know what you think. If you tell people you need to be extra quiet to protect your voice, they will absolutely respect your decision and be impressed with your discipline! Don’t be afraid of appearing impolite. It’s totally worth it to prevent vocal overuse.
Thanks & kind regards, Rosanna D’Agnillo