All of us know what it feels like when the throat is tense. Unfortunately one can also sing with vocal strain without even realizing it. One of the signs of this insidious activity is being left with a hoarse voice after singing practice – no matter if singing felt uncomfortable or not.
In this article we tell you why you should learn to be aware of even the tiniest amount of vocal strain and why to get rid of it. In the long run singing with vocal strain can bring out many problems and getting rid of them gets more difficult the longer the constriction has been present during singing.
Sometimes Constriction Can Be Hard To Notice
A singer who hasn’t yet experienced how free their voice can really be, cannot know how easy and comfortable it can actually feel. A tiny bit of strain has become a norm that feels ordinary and the singer feels their voice sound “free”. However, a difference can be noticed when a sound with some constriction is sung right before or after a sound that is free. A singer can also feel the difference between these two sounds in their instrument.
Strain Can Have Unpleasant Consequences
Even the tinies bit of vocal strain can bring many unpleasant consequences:
- Singing (especially high notes) can be difficult or uncomfortable.
- The singer has to clear their throat repetitively after singing due to appearing mucus.
- The air seems to run out.
- Voice gets hoarse after singing.
- It is difficult to change dynamics (soft to loud or vice versa) when singing.
- Problems with keeping the pitch appear.
- The singer isn’t able to unleash the full potential of their voice.
The most unfortunate consequence of vocal constriction is the possible damage to the vocal folds.
Vocal Strain Prevents The Full Vocal Potential From Being Used
The disadvantages of voice strain mentioned before are a burden on the whole process of singer’s expression: the lack of dynamics due to vocal strain makes it difficult to express all the different colors and emotions with the voice. In other words; singer is not able to do everything that they would like to with their voice.
The Risk Is There Even When The Amount Of Strain Is Small
No matter if the amount of vocal strain used is small or big, one should become aware of it as even the tiniest amount of constriction can have long term consequences on vocal health. A big amount of vocal strain is easy to notice but a smaller amount of strain can easily remain unnoticed, especially if the singer hasn’t yet experienced what a truly free singing voice feels like.
Some singers use a little bit of strain or constriction in their voices as an artistic effect. This is OK as long as the singer also knows how to return to a totally free voice after using the effect. Herein lies a challenge of mixing up free voice and a little constricted voice, meaning that the singer doesn’t realize that they have actually left on a constant, small constriction or strain in their voice.
Places To Be Cautious In
Singing loudly is one of the moments during which to pay close attention. When more audibility is looked for in singing, many tend to push or press their voices. Pushing means using too much air pressure when singing and pressing refers to squeezing the vocal folds together during singing – both of which are aiming to add loudness to the voice. This can be accomplished through many other ways than pressing or pushing – ones that do not place your voice at risk.
Also singing high notes can often lead to vocal strain for similar reasons as when singing loudly. Therefore it is essential to learn to use the voice efficiently in the way wanted without compromising vocal health.
How To Prevent The Voice From Straining?
In order to avoid the voice from straining the singer must learn to recognize the difference between how a constricted sound feels compared to free sound. Means are multiple. The essential goal of vocal training is indeed the pursuit towards free and vivid voice so that the singer is able to use their instrument the way they want to.