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Things you MUST avoid for long-term vocal health

bentkbentk Posts: 605Pro, 2.0 PRO
Hi all!

KTVA is all about maintaining good vocal health, whilst going through the massive improvements when working the program. Certain things are a big NO, and you just have to avoid them. The worst thing that comes to mind is simple over-singing. Too much volume, too much air, and eventually end up being a little hoarse, or very hoarse. Over time this will become an even larger issue, and will result in damage.

After my exercises and singing, i can usually feel that i have worked out. And i might have a feeling in my throat. It doesn't really hurt, but i can feel that certain areas around my throat were used. Is it bad that you feel something in your throat? It's difficult to describe. I'd like to clarify that i do not over-sing, and i never become hoarse anymore from singing. Those days are long gone, thanks KTVA! The only thing i can imagine, is that it might be from the times that i kind of 'pinch' the top notes more. And i am then talking about the highest notes. Because of singing an 'ih' too high, or just adding that extra little to make sure you hit the note. On those notes, i can feel a little more throat muscle creep in, but not much. Overal, everything is fine, open throat technique. That, for sure is my basis technique.

One more thing: i can keep singing for a long time these days, without losing range or anything. Tired i can become, but it's not like my voice exponentially deteriorates during singing sessions!

So another question is: would something like i am experiencing now and then (the aforementioned) be detrimental to my vocal health over time? For now, i am only improving my vocals, and things are really going the way i want now. That is absolutely amazing. I would just like to make sure. If you need a little more info, i can provide that.

Then finally, what are the most common problems that cause voices to deteriorate over time? Many singers have that issue, including famous ones.

Some ramblings in this post, but i think you get the message.

All the best,

Ben

Comments

  • videoacevideoace Posts: 570Pro, 2.0 PRO
    I usually wait about a half hour after my warm ups to start my singing for the day. That way the muscles get to relax without losing my warmed up feeling.

    Glottal compression probably saved my voice from a rough road. I wish that it was introduced earlier in the program because I just stumbled on it by accident, and can't imagine how I would have done my scales without it.

    Another cool thing that I finally get is resetting the throat using the yawning technique. I never quite understood what Ken meant until now, and doing this seems to keep my uvula from feeling fatigued.

    So in seven short months, I feel like I've learned and accomplished a lot without tearing up my voice, and hope to keep things going smoothly.

    Peace, Tony
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 557Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    I have agree with you on allot of your observations Ben.
    Tony, I too wish that this would have been available a couple of decades ago... but the next best time to start something good is right now (or a year or so ago :wink: )

    Since Glottal and Hyper-Glottal Compression were introduced I am getting pretty consistent with rarely exceeding 88-90 Db when I sing (distorted or clean)... and yes, I am nerdy enough to check for that (Occasionally).
    If I have actual real-world figures, I can actually track if I am overdoing it... not just guess... that way I can self-correct as real time and not let potential over-doing it damage my hard-won gains.

    I also occasionally monitor my voice on a real-time note meter called "sing scope" to see if I am hitting at least C5 in chest, and the sine-wave shape of my scales to see if they are symmetrical up and down. Again, empirical data allows me to self-correct on the spot.

    Lastly, I also randomly spot-check myself with a small mirror to ensure I am keeping my throat open.

    Your vocal cords are a muscle system, so when you work them out, it is not unreasonable to feel some pleasant new muscle tone/tautness, just not soreness.

    I would also add to cut back on coffee and alcohol, and really start seriously paying attention to hydrating yourself. I live in a very arid climate, so it is doubly important for me, as I would dry out like a sea-sponge if I neglected water intake for too long. I also try to guzzle water between each song to try to keep hydration levels where they they should be.

    When I feel any kind of cold coming on, I start taking Echinacea + Zinc + D + C + garlic right away (with every meal), and so far, I haven't really been sick since starting the program. Note: My throat was always the first thing to kick out on me, not so in over a year.

    Also, I'm sure you all do this now, but I practice to the piano-only scales, as I realized that I was getting lazy singing along with Ken, and when I listened to it back I was horrified. Once I started doing it to piano-only, and can focus my ear on the pitch and cadence properly, I've become allot tighter.

    Also training consistency plays a major role in your success. (Hello Captain Obvious :smiley: )
    Currently with my evening routine, I alternate between developing Chest and Head each day, giving myself 1-2 days off a week. On rehearsal/performance nights I only do the Volume 2 workout which lasts somewhere between 20-30 minutes, which incidentally is the time it takes to get to the rehearsal hall.

    That's all I can think of right now, but I hope this keeps going!
  • bentkbentk Posts: 605Pro, 2.0 PRO
    edited February 6
    Thanks for the informative response!

    I do drink coffee, but usually not more than 2 a day. Sometimes 1, sometimes even none.
    I don't drink a lot of alcohol. I usually reserve that for a good whisky or whine which i can then moderately drink. Weeks can go by without a drink, it's not an issue with me. But i will also say again that simple hydration is so important. Especially when you talk a lot, and of course sing a lot.

    The feeling i tried to describe, that can occur in some of my throat muscles, is not really pleasant, as in: Wow what a nice sensation! like a back-rub or something. But it's not painful too. And it's not always there, or in the same degree. Nor does it put any limits on my singing. I will refer to my original post for @highmtn about this. I wonder if this could still be detrimental over a long period of time. However, with KTVA i keep improving every aspect of singing. One more thing, i think, but am not sure, the affected muscles are relatively larger ones in the throat, or, but not limited to, the muscles around my larynx. And no, i don't jam my larynx constantly when i sing!

    There is good advice already here, and i encourage you all to join in for more.

    And of course, glottal compression. That is simply amazing. When you really know to use it properly, it will change everything. For me it also delivers a nicer tone. I think i got a handle on it pretty fast, but it took way longer to 'master' and really get the best from it. Not claiming to be a master at it or anything!

    @Furious_Phil Did you by chance experiment with the amount of coffee your drink? Or have you removed it completely from your diet?

    All the best,

    Ben
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 557Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Hey Ben,

    I have dropped down to 1 a day at work, and usually nothing on the weekends.
    I don't think I ever had more than 2 a day, but being in a very arid climate (and 1 kilometer higher in elevation than I was raised in), it had a more pronounced effect on me than when I lived at sea level by the Atlantic
  • bentkbentk Posts: 605Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Thanks! @Furious_Phil

    I think i do OK with the coffee. 1-2 a day on average. I drink plenty of water, eat very healthy and exercise a lot.
    So i am never really concerned with that.

    I notice another thing whilst monitoring myself to add to the 'throat sensation' i previously described.
    It seems that, especially when you lean more into the sound, that the area around the larynx is always activated (some muscles there). would this be correct? I am able to divert a lot of the 'tension' with support/glottal compression. However, there is always something going on there.

    All the best,

    Ben
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Posts: 557Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    edited February 8
    You will always have "Some" tension... Ken always says that it isn't the lack of tension, rather the safe management of tension.
    Pain is always wrong, managed tension is fine.
    If that makes sense?
  • bentkbentk Posts: 605Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Yeah totally make sense. I get that!

    It's more that i would like open discussion on it and hear experience/thoughts.
    I have a very good foundation now, but i want to tweak everything to an optimum as far as possible. More growth will come over time. But little tweaks like i have been doing have helped me tremendously with diversion of tension and stamina, for example.

    So pinpointing certain things is just a way of confirming if those said things are normal.

    Thanks for keep coming back to this thread, i appreciate it!
  • bentkbentk Posts: 605Pro, 2.0 PRO
    edited February 15
    Another thing i noticed, which doesn't seem to be bad, but am interested to hear about from you guys, is the movement of the larynx. Now not so much up and down, but the general 'looseness' of it. When i am in full mid voice (let's say G4 and up for now), i notice that the larynx is more tense and less free, although it is not like i am pinching my throat. It's as if it's a natural response. To test this, move about your larynx a bit during your chest stretching scales. I am interested to hear more about this.

    As i said, it doesn't feel wrong, more natural. A response that you relax as much as you can, but can't be completely relaxed beyond a certain note.

    One other thing: It seems that my highest chest notes are simply difficult to sustain, and they can cause stress to creep up much quicker. I'm guessing this is normal and OK? Belting a D5 for 30 seconds seems impossible to me. C5 is do-able for a good sustain, but above that it gets pretty hard.

    All the best,

    Ben
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