Your Healthy Tenor Addiction

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Can I Sing Too Much?

Can I Sing Too Much?
Can you really overdo it when it comes to singing?

Don’t you like to listen to me?

Singers love to sing. Many vocalists on the starting edge of their learning and singing careers might spend hours a day listening to their favorite music and they just can’t help but to sing along.  Mostly, I don’t think they think much about singing too much.

One of the greatest vocal abuses is overuse of the vocal folds. In addition to all that singing we love to indulge in, singers have the added passion for talking. If you ever have the opportunity to be in a room full of singers (as I have been on many occasions) you will realize almost immediately that they are amongst the noisiest bunch of folks. I daresay most singers do not think of their voice when they are talking as much as when they are singing.

Of course, as one grows in their art and becomes more astute with their instrument, they realize when and how often they should take care to talk a bit less. Perhaps simply reducing the level of ones voice would be enough.

Singing too much, combined with talking throughout the day can invite a tremendous amount of vocal fatigue. If you are not sure when enough is enough, try singing and see how your voice reacts. If you find it becoming breathy, weak, (or certainly) tired, you should put yourself on vocal rest.

How much rest is appropriate? Usually, a good night’s sleep will be enough. If you happen to be starting the day, or you have a long way to go before the day is over, try pacing yourself when talking to people. Use a softer voice. If there is a loud noise in the room, don’t try speaking over it. Find a good place, or opportunity to be heard more easily and use your voice then.

If all else fails and you arrive at rehearsal, let the person/s in charge know the condition of your voice and tell them you will be marking! They will completely understand…at least, they had better. If they don’t you might want to reconsider ever working with them again. However, everyone I’ve ever worked with has understood.

While we are on the subject, I usually tell my students that they should not sing more than two hours a day. Even that is stretching the limits of the human voice. Research has offered that the most beneficial use of the voice is gained when practicing three times per day, 1/2-hour each time. Beyond this, we are simply overdoing it.

But, you might think that the voice is a muscle and like any muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it will become. Each muscle in the body will work and become stronger but only to its limit. After that point is reached, fatigue and failure will occur in the muscle. A bicep muscle will tear, heal and be stronger afterward. This is not where you want to arrive with your voice. If pushed too far,  the vocal folds will develop an assortment of conditions which can end a singing career before it begins. These problems are simply not worth pushing the envelope for.

Like our back, each of us are born with what we have. It requires care. We should love our voice enough to take proper care of it. If singing is what you want to do, find a teacher who makes things interesting, fun, understandable and educational for you.

!!!–I highly recommend signing up for a trial lesson with me today–!!!

After finding a good teacher,  (me!), learn your voice and follow the guidance your instructor gives you. With the correct technique and understanding of the voice, your singing will be fun for you for many years to come.

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Singing During Allergy Season

Singing During Allergy Season
What to do if you have allergies and want to sing

Allergies are coming!

A scratchy throat wakes you at 2 O’clock in the morning and you think you’ve been caught by that cold pandemic which so loves to take up residence in your sinuses every year. Thoughts begin racing through your mind about that vitamin C you were contemplating taking the day before and  would’ve, could’ve, should’ve scenarios dance around your mind as you fight in vain to fall asleep. Oh! The wretched cold! Or is it?

Granted, human nature tends toward the worse case scenario, however, a very comforting thought is introduced in your mind, “ALLERGIES.” You realize you actually feel quite good besides a few minor annoyances and know yourself well enough to know how much different you feel if you were actually getting a cold. All is well with the world again and before you know it you’re dreaming again.

You venture to your voice lesson and yet another thought has occurred to you, several, actually; “should I be singing while under the influence of allergies?” “I was told to stay away from taking medicine if I want to sing.” “What will happen to my voice if I take an allergy pill?” “Where in the world did that crazy dream come from?”

As a general rule of thumb, it is very wise to stay away from medicine, or rather, singing when taking medicine to treat congestion, colds, and even some allergies. While I am not an expert on medications, I know what is safe to take when you are singing and what to be careful with.

Good list of medicines you can take safely and sing with: Mucinex for congestion and Tylenol for pain.

Be careful list: I’d hate to say this is a “bad” list because sometimes our needs are more important than singing is and you can take a break…which I know is hard for singers to do. Aspirin and Ibuprofen can be bad to sing while taking because they can (if proper care is not taken) lead to vocal hemorrhaging–bleeding. This can be very bad for the folds.

What can you do? There are a couple things which can help enormously before turning to medications: drink plenty of liquids such as water, tea, or citrus juices. Keeping hydrated keeps mucosal levels thinned and helps the body clean itself from any foreign matter such as a cold. Take a day, or two off and just rest! This is perhaps the hardest thing for a singer to do as we  (singers) all love to talk and keep busy. Sitting around is not generally in our realm of understanding. When all else fails, go to a doctor. If possible, try an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor) and let them know that you are a singer and prefer to have medications which are safe for the vocal folds. They will be able to help.

Worse case scenario, you will have to refrain from singing for a week but, you will have a healthy and happy voice waiting to greet you on the other side.

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