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Vocal node issues and other queries

JenniferCampionJenniferCampion Posts: 28
edited October 2012 in Vocal Health and Wellness

Hello. I am new to the forum. As a matter of fact, I only found out about Ken and all this potential for vocal awesomeness today! Just what I've been after for years. I would love to pick up the DVD's as soon as my finances allow. So until then, I figured I should ask some basic questions regardless, for the sake of knowledge and not wanting to hurt my voice. Here are my questions...

1. A few yers back I ended up getting vocal node problems after I stopped extensive vocal practice for quite some time. When I went back to it I was attempting techniques for my loud and high range singing which were both incorrectly and too quickly employed at irregular practice times.

 I have now begun regular practices again focused mostly on low to mid range vocals and try to keep anything husky to a minimum. But, I am still irritating it and sometimes creating pain, is there a way to heal or modify this so I'm ready for the DVD training?

2. Although I am female, my comfortable range and tone is similar to  that which is commonly heard of Eddie Vedder, Paul Rodgers and Chris Cornell's mid to low side. (I'm a rock singer, hence those examples) So given that I hear the 'Diva's' version on the DVD's is very high range stuff, would I start on the 'Dude's' one and then progress?

3. Given that it is said that one's range can be expanded most impressively...most speak of improving thier high end singing; which I definately need to do. However, out of curiosity, can one extend thier low range also? I like to try a bit of everything! Besides, the low end stuff always gets to feel totally natural pretty fast with me.

Kind regards to Ken and all of you on the forum.

Jenny

 

Comments

  • 18 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,092
    edited August 2012 Vote Up0Vote Down

    Jennifer,

    First of all, welcome to the KTVA Forum.  It's nice to meet you.

    Let me say this about where you are right now, having discovered Ken's program and waiting for the right moment to make your move...  I could have kicked myself for having waited so long, "saving up" to invest in my vocal future.

    I discovered Ken Tamplin from Internet Searches on Open Throat singing technique and Belting.  I knew when I heard Ken demonstrate tunes like "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" and more, that he was teaching what I wanted to learn.  I wanted to sing like that!  I read about how he could teach techniques that would enable me to make my voice resilient and preserve my voice instead of going hoarse. 

    I felt like I couldn't afford the expense of the program at the time, so I waited and "saved" and planned to purchase when my next tax refund would come along.  In the meantime, I read everything I possibly could about Open Throat, general singing etc. so that I would be fully prepared to rocket along when I finally got the actual KTVA Stages. 

    Murphy's Lawyers showed up. Life happened. Car repairs, financial disasters, and other necessities of life gobbled up my tax refund.  I'm a working musician, so as this time went by, I continued to blow my voice out again and again, using improper techniques.  All the reading and incomplete and conflicting information I took in did little or nothing to grow my voice.  Still, I waited.  A whole additional year went by.  Finally, I could "afford" to invest in myself and purchased all Three KTVA Stages plus the additional Licks and Tricks and the "Shout" live application program.

    It was then that I realized that I had cheated myself out of more than a year's development of my voice.  I had suffered additional wear and tear on my voice from lack of proper technique.  I was paying on bills that whole time, but I didn't think that I could "afford" to pay anything for my voice.  So I kept trashing it out, thinking I was "saving".

    As soon as I started Stage One, I noticed changes.  Tone.  Quality.  Direction.  Power.  Resilience.

    This technique will change your future, vocally.  You will never be the same again.  It's a lifelong vocal program that keeps on giving the longer you practice it.  Ken has been working on this for thirty years, and he still does about an hour of the same workouts every morning.  

    I'm over a year behind where I would be now, if I had only decided to go forward into this part of my life and pursue my vocal aspirations.  I'm so glad I got up off of my good intentions and finally got started.  I only wish I had done so sooner!!!

    Sorry to go on about that, but it's something I just want to share with everybody out there that is waiting for a "better time" to get started on something that will reward you again and again for as long as you remain a singer!  I intend to keep singing from this day forward!

    So to address your questions, Jenny:

    1. If you are doing things that are irritating your voice, you need to stop whatever it is that is causing that.  Otherwise, you are at risk of damaging your voice again.  Pain or irritation is an indication that you are using incorrect techniques.  "Husky" singing, if it means distorted singing, could be a source of irritation to your vocal cords.  Loud singing can be unhealthy, especially if irritation results.  The exercises in the KTVA stages are intended to be done a minimum of one hour per day, six days per week.  Your voice should be able to handle this much practice at a minimum, but if your techniques are improper, this much exercise could be very hazardous.  You just about have to leave everything you currently "know" about singing at the door when you start KTVA and come into the program like a child, a blank slate, and start from scratch so you can leave your old bad habits at the door and start anew.

    2. By your description of your style and range, I suspect that you would be more comfortable with the DUDES exercises.  The DIVAS exercises are more in the soprano-oriented, or girl-sounding voice.  If you're more of a Paul Rodgers-sounding voice, then start with the DUDES and use the DIVAS as you see fit.  I believe that most of the "Package Deal" plans include both Dude and Diva practice CD's.  If not, just let Ken or Rob (Ken's assistant) know of your interest, and I'm pretty sure they will help you out with that request.  I alternate all the time between Dude and Diva practice CD's to keep my voice limbered up. 

    3. Your voice will grow in EVERY direction.  UP, DOWN, ALL-AROUND!!  I'm serious, if that's what you want, and you work at it, you will be amazed.  Don't take my word for it, start listening to Ken's demonstrations on Youtube.  If you like what you hear, this man is using KTVA techniques to the MAX!  I know all of the other vocal programs out there will tell you that they have all of the "secrets" you need. Just compare their demonstrations, side-by-side with Ken's demonstrations.  Oh, they don't have any demonstrations?  Or they just do a slider MAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!! and that's it? 

    You're going to wonder why you ever waited to get started on this.  Your voice WILL grow, and it will GROW FAST, but much of the development will take place over a period of years and will continue on and on...  You'll find that you're kicking yourself just like me, for waiting!!!  If you're already paying bills every month, why not pay just a little more and give yourself the thing you want the most?  You're worth it!!!

    I'm just sayin'...  no pressure, I just want to share my experience.  I was really wrong to wait so long!

    Good luck and good singing to you, Jennifer!  :^)

    Bob

     

  • Cheers very much for your comment Bob. Trust me, I don't plan on waiting too long on picking this stuff up. I meant putting a bit of cash aside of my own and adding it to Birthday and Christmas money ('cause I'm one of those lucky folks whose birthday lands close enough to the Christmas season to get some pretty nice returns!) That way there's a good chance I could have a start on this by the end of the year. Unfortunately it is impossible for me to get it any earlier than that. I'm a student you see... 

    Anyway, I can sing for about an hour to an hour and a half without tiring or hurting provided I dont go too high. It looks like it's the Journey and Survivor kind of stuff which is causing the most hassle to attempt. It's the high stuff which appears to make me go hoarse afterwards as well. So it looks like I should give it a miss. The distorted stuff does it too. Which is why I'm keeping it to a complete minimum.

    I have improved my voice by taking up regular practice again regardless and built my stamina up to a certain extent and my lower register is cleaner and much more full again because of it.

    But I will take your advice and lay off constant attempts at the high stuff 'till I know what I'm doing. Until then I will stay within the perameters of comfortable range and technique.

    I'm fine with falsetto though. It feels good and natural to go pretty high then. there is absolutely no strain in that at all.

     It's the full on approach to high range songs that ails and exhausts me.

    However, given that vocal nodes are basically callouses of the skin within the throat caused by excessive and/or consistant pressure, I take it that if you stay within comfortable range and stop pressuring it, the skin will soften and repair; in much the same way as the callouses on the fingertips of guitarists when they over do it. Is my theory correct?

  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,092
    edited August 2012 Vote Up0Vote Down

    Jenny,

    The vocal nodes are actually little bumps that form on the vocal cords themselves.  The cords have to come together in order for phonation to occur.  The bumps prevent this from happening properly. 

    I'm not an ENT, and can't give medical advice, but many testimonies exist as to possible negative results from surgical complications regarding nodes.  There are also many endorsements of using proper vocal health-promoting techniques that purport to allow for self-healing to occur. 

    The best cure is prevention in the first place, and that comes from proper technique and avoidance of damaging practices. 

    Although in the Northern Hemisphere, we're all wearing our summer cool wear, Christmas is just around the corner, and will be upon us in very short order.  You will be able to start your journey at that time and begin birthing your new voice.

    When I finally did purchase my KTVA package, it was after setbacks and delays.  The truth is that I had even more setbacks and delays when I did finally buy, but there was no way I was going to keep waiting any longer.  I realized that a more perfect financial time was never coming, and that struggle is constant and just a part of life.  I just bit the bullet and made a way.  I thank myself every day for moving on with my life to make it the way I want it to be.  I would still be waiting now.  :^)

    Stay in touch.  Put up some demos of your voice if you like.  Good luck with your studies.

    Bob

     

  • So you mean KTVA excersises could potentially promote vocal node self healing? Nice.

    Would love to put up a vocal demo. How though?

     

  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,092
    edited August 2012 Vote Up0Vote Down

    Jenny,

    To put up a vocal demo you need to record a song with you singing. It's easiest if you use a computer to either record the song, or load the song onto your computer after it's recorded.  Open an account on a free online service.  I use soundcloud.  Upload the file of your song to Soundcloud or what ever site you choose. Copy a link to the song when it has been uploaded.  Paste that link in a message here and tell us you've posted a demo.  We'll all take a listen and then make comments if we feel like we can do any good.

    As an example, here is a link to a demo I posted: http://soundcloud.com/highmtn/f-l-m-l-bob-h

    With regard to the vocal nodes, Ken shows you how to sing properly.  He cautions you against a number of things you should not do.  If you stay within those guidelines, and learn proper breath control and regulation, you should not aggravate your vocal cords.  You may be doing something wrong now, even when you are avoiding the loud and high vocals, so it's hard to say what your specific condition would be.  Ken does give you the tools to preseve your voice for a lifetime, even when belting and wailing high notes.  You have to follow the guidelines and take responsibility for your own voice.  He gives you the tools to do just that.

    Bob

  • Cool. I checked your Soundcloud stuff. It's pretty sweet. I probably would use Youtube for mine, but it's highly unlikely that level of clean production would be possible. I can only do slightly fuzzy video clips or mp3 player recordings at the moment as I can''t find my proper microphone to record through Audacity.
  • Here is a link to a Youtube video of me trying out Pearl Jam's 'Black'. Hope the link works...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1JAdWUNHsc&feature=plcp

  •  ^ Yep. It works. But it'll tell you it needs to open up a separate wee box on your screen first. So, if you've got a pop up blocker installed you need to temporarilily allow them for the video to come up. I await your reviews and constructive criticism Bob!
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,092
    edited August 2012 Vote Up0Vote Down

    Jennifer,

    Your voice sounds very good!  I'm not sure what it is that you have done to irritate your vocal cords, but my guess would be that you have probably belted improperly, and that would be a very likely candidate.  In order to create that deep tone, you are using a very low-larynx position.  I don't think that would contribute to the nodes, but I'm no specialist on that topic.

    Your intonation is spot-on.  I can't even come close to the low-end you're putting out, but you are doing a good job at creating that tone.  Such a big sound can easily overblow the cords, especially at higher volumes.  Ken Tamplin does teach safe methods for belting, however the methods and control are very subtle, and it is the responsibility of the student to learn and adhere to responsible belting in order to attain a lifetime of healthy singing. It's easy to get addicted to distorted tones, and overuse of distortion can eliminate your ability to sing with clean tones.  You want to be able to do both clean and mildly distorted, at will.

    You are wise to hold off from aggravating your cords until you can get through the KTVA stages.  Much of the breath control is introduced in Stage Three, but you need to establish the basics correctly in stages one and two before charging into stage three.  You can't put the roof on before the foundation.

    You look a little strained on some of the higher parts.  The vocal exercises will stretch your range to help you to expand your range and do so with greater ease.

    Good Demo!

    Bob

  • Hey Jennifer,

    in regards to nodes, vocal rest is the best way of letting them heal.  Depending on how bad they are, you may need to take 2 wks off from any vocalizing.  that includes talking.  After singing professionally for almost 20yrs, I was diagnosed recently with minute nodes, nothing that I had even noticed.  That is what my ENT recommended.  He said they are common in professional singers, much like callouses for guitar players. You may also have to take account of anything else in your life that may be contributing to the nodes.  Coffee, alcohol, talking in loud environments, allergies, and acid reflux, can cause an unhealthy vocal environment.  If you combine that with incorrect singing technique you will be setting yourself up for vocal wear and tear.   The KTVA program is designed to develop not only range, and tone, but also the stamina that it takes to sing a lot of high energy material.  I've been working this program for just over a year, and am amazed at the results.  All the best to you.
  • Cheers sspatrick. I know exactly what you mean. Over the last three years that I've had the node issues (I think it's been that long anyway...) I have got them to go away, then they come back and so on and so forth. Judging from what I was trying to sing when it started, it appears to certainly be a technique issue.

     What Bob said about incorrect belting just before you is, to me the most likely candidate for the cause. That's what I was 'playing with' at the time of my nodes appearing.

    You see, at that point, nobody ever told me that for belting you need not only to sing from the diaphram, but to use it like a support to sustain the loud and high notes the whole way through those notes. Also, and probably even more offensive to my chords, was the fact that I had no idea that distortion should be felt as a sizzly feeling on the roof of the mouth NOT in the throat. (I am now kicking myself...)

    I always wondered how the hell Dave Grohl, James Hetfield and thier likes could do what they do for so long without annihilating thier voice or collapsing after gigs! I could never work it out. I'll tell you, I know now how they obviously don't do it...I've learned that the awkward and painful way! Sure as hell and I'm not doing that again...

  • And to you Bob...thanks very much for your comments!

    In exchange, thought I'd mention a couple of things about your cover of Bad Company's 'Feel Like Makin' Love'. When you added a little distortion on the chorus you sound a little like the lad from Motley Crue. That's cool, I've never heard it like that before and it really works. A lot of people would just totally 'blues out' on that part, (including me, I used to do that one) but you make it different. That rocks.

    As for the verses, I can hear a kinda country rock influence though that, a lot. You sound like the kind of guy that could really make something special out of stuff like 'Life In The Fast Lane'.

    Anyway, I'm not gonna critique specific techniques 'cause I clearly don't know enough myself to do that.

    However, I felt it was only right after such a positive and detailed resonse as you gave to me, that I should do the same and be a little more specific about what I liked about your voice.

    Cheers.

     

  • Jenny,

    You are welcome for the commentary on your demo.  I'm sorry I can't give any more technical advice specifically on the nodes, but there are definitely some good ways and a lot of very bad ways to employ belting and powerful high notes.  Ken has written a huge article which is posted in the member's section that goes deep into dangers and misconceptions about belting and how the belting methods he teaches DO promote healthy singing.  It is a very controversial subject, and nobody knows how to teach safe belting and wailing like Ken Tamplin! He's been doing it and teaching it safely for years, and can belt circles around the best of them!

    Thanks for your critique of my song link.  Your comments are well-put and on the money.  I'm a fan of the Eagles, especially Don Henley.

    Here's another link of a cover I did recently that is a slightly different vocal style from the Bad Company tune: http://soundcloud.com/highmtn/everything-i-own-080812

    I gave this one a shot because it was out of my comfort zone and therefore an opportunity to learn and grow.  I don't know if you can see the demos section of this forum from your vantage point, so I thought I'd put it on here for you to hear.

    Bob

  • Hey Jennifer,

    We've all done things in the past that may have hurt the voice. This program will help set you in the right direction. I have more range and am singing better than I ever have. All the best to you!
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,092
    edited August 2012 Vote Up0Vote Down

    Jenny,

    If you haven't seen this article, I think you should read every word. 

    Belting - by Ken Tamplin

    http://kentamplinvocalacademy.com/the-ken-tamplin-guide-to-belting/

     

    Bob 

  • Good news, upon visting the ENT a while back, they discovered I have no nodules. As it appears, my vocal discomfort is due to hypothyroid and general stress. Now that I'm using thyroid medication, there has been an instant change for the better in my vocals. Ok, so they're not what they were. But, they are way, way better and less strained less often. Just goes to show sometimes doesn't it?
    All that worrying that I had really hurt my voice and there it is!
    Happy days!
  • That's really good news, JenniferCampion! Funny thing, I was just thinking about you a couple of nights ago, wondering how you were doing with your voice. And here you are!! Crazy how stuff like that happens! Nice to hear from you and that you're doing well!

    Bob
  • Oh, my god. You remember me? From 4 years back...
    Wow. I was kinda down tonight but man, that's really brightened me up!

    Thanks pal.

    Jenny.
  • Yeah, actually I had been in a covers band for a little bit, but it never really got much further than the practice room. It was all classic rock and it was actually really good for a while. I won't go into details but in case you ask it was down to personal differences.
    Well, in the long run, it doesn't matter, I have recordings of us all doing UFO and Dokken together and the guitarist wrote some stuff for my voice he wants me to work on later as another project, oh and I made new friends. All good, can't complain.
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