Hoarseness and everyday practice


I'm practicing KTVA for a few months, side by side with my weekly lesson with my vocal coach.
I noticed that my voice is in it's peak after a long period of just being quiet. Sure, my voice should be warmed up a bit before singing but yet - it sounds fresh and healthy.
On the other hand, after practicing KTVA day after day, I feel I'm getting hoarse and my voice is tired.

What is the best approach then? Do I miss anything?



  • VocalityVocality Posts: 1,0452.0 PRO
    edited August 2019
    @forepick first off you should not go hoarse something your doing is not quite right, it would be great if you could post Lah vowel triad scale in both head and chest just to hear what’s going on. That helps us to pinpoint your progression and any apparent issues that need to be addressed.

    Hoarse is caused by over-singing remember to do those exercises gently to start with. Also we’re building strength which takes time we can get fatigue now and then especially at the start.


  • Gaston_JaureguiGaston_Jauregui Posts: 1,001Moderator, Enrolled, 2.0 PRO
    @forepick you probably arent either supporting that well, or doing it too loud, it would help if you record a Lah exercise as @Vocality stated, we could be of help
  • coffeecrankcoffeecrank Posts: 3112.0 PRO
    edited August 2019
    @forepick I had the exact same issue, I started getting hoarse a bit after practice, and that only happened 3 months in... Turned out I was really missing some key concepts from Volume 1. I went back, re-watched all videos, carefully watched myself doing everything correctly, and now the issue is gone and I don't get tense or hoarse after exercises (just a bit tense on the hardest ones at the top of the piano range).
  • JAS.URSHJAS.URSH Posts: 8Pro
    Hi. I am having similar issues as forepick. I get hoarse & a bit flemy. I have been doing the course for a good couple of years. What key concepts did you miss, as I feel I am missing something important but not sure what that is. On the lesson cd's, Ken's voice is quite big & maybe I am trying to match his tone & power too much? Any help would be appreciated. thanx J.
  • WigsWigs Posts: 1,334Moderator, 2.0 PRO
    As a general rule technique wise, hoarseness will be the result of using too much volume, too much air or heaven forbid, both!
    @JAS.URSH as always mentioned previously scales are the best way to pinpoint any problems, if it's really been 2 years on the course then it's possible you might have been using improper technique for some time😬
  • JAS.URSHJAS.URSH Posts: 8Pro
    Sorry I was supposed to be asking @coffeecrank about the Vol. 1 videos she went back to, but info from anyone would be great thanx.
  • JAS.URSHJAS.URSH Posts: 8Pro
    Thank you for your reply @Wigs . I can sing 2 or 3 nights in our band & have no problems with hoarseness, but maybe I am over singing with Ken's Cd... & yes, I think I am using too much air & maybe not enough support to hold my breath while doing his exercises. I have definitely pulled back on the volume within the band & let the mic do the work. Thanx once again.
  • samw2019samw2019 Posts: 2852.0 PRO
    Hi I'm just learning myself so that's a factor, but I tried matching Ken's voice wave for wave and mine's a thinner voice than Ken's, maybe that's causing hoarseness making you push into the scale too much? I'm trying to emulate the bright brassy sound rather than be as strong as his voice 'cause I've tried belting along with his Volume 1 lessons when he gives examples (I think in the diaphragm support videos, doing a big "hey" or "yeah" note, and when he does the Stevie Wonder and gradually puts it on stronger using support) and it's not happening to the same power he does it, so I'm just trying to emulate his technique and sound but with my own voice. I found the scales cleaned me up but my normal belting before training caused me to get a hoarse voice, I'm not too able to offer advice but I think the scales should clean the voice up. Peace!
  • coffeecrankcoffeecrank Posts: 3112.0 PRO
    edited August 2019
    @JAS.URSH The most important thing I totally ignored at first was to use head voice for the second round of exercises. The other thing I didn't pay attention to was vowel modifications. I know it's an advanced topic, but the thing is, when you go up in the notes you might blow your voice if you just try to pull the original vowel (e.g. trying to sing "EEEEEEE" on a very high note will strain you). Once I started going for some natural modifications, my voice stopped being strained from practice (I still get strained from over-singing sometimes).
    And last thing is to really control your breathing and use as little air as possible. You'll notice over time that your air control gets much better and you can use very little air even on long scales, yet producing the same sound. I actually tried doing sit-ups with singing "LAH" scales (forgot which lesson it is), really helps!

    EDIT: I totally get it! Also joined the band recently, and I'm having issues if mic is overpowered by guitars etc. That's when I oversing and then get sore. If the mic is tuned to a reasonable level, then everything's fine, last time I managed a 3-hour singing session without being sore the next day. :)

    @samw2019 Don't forget he spent decades perfecting his vocals, I bet most of us can only dream of such a long singing career at this point. :)
  • JAS.URSHJAS.URSH Posts: 8Pro
    Thank you all for your informative answers. I will try all your ideas. I think that trying to emulate Ken's big (years of experience ) tone & not controlling my breath are the big factors. Also trying to stay in chest voice too high up on the excercises my be a factor. Once again, Thank you :)
  • samw2019samw2019 Posts: 2852.0 PRO
    @JAS.URSH , All the best with your training and I'm also trying to stay in chest voice perhaps too long than I'm really able right now and sometimes I strain but I leave off when that happens and either flip into head or rejoin at my appropriate notes, and hopefully so far as I can tell and feel get no damage.

    @coffeecrank You're right there and I guess he's a baritone with years of good training and doing it, I'm not worrying about my fach but I think I'm at least tenor and have a thinner voice even talking generally than in Ken's videos. Also on a sidenote have you used earplugs in your band? They really help me hear my vocals over drums and guitar amps and I can avoid all strain and pushing using those (as well as the main object of saving the ears). Peace!
  • JAS.URSHJAS.URSH Posts: 8Pro
    Hi guys, yes, I have been using In ear monitors for last 3 years & they do help a lot. I don't push as much as I used too, but think I go a bit too hard when singing scales with Ken, especially while driving-probably not a good thing to do Ha ha. I do flip into head voice a lot earlier in the band as I do a lot of Backing Vocals as well as lead & find that the thinner sound is better for blending overall.
  • coffeecrankcoffeecrank Posts: 3112.0 PRO
    @JAS.URSH Yeah, driving might actually screw up your breath support. Whenever I sit down during exercises, I notice a huge difference already, and driving must be even worse since you don't sit straight.

    @samw2019 I'm gonna try using some headphones during next practice and see how it goes. :)
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,653Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    edited August 2019
    When driving, you can tend to try to sing over the noise of the tires on the pavement and the rush of the wind on the vehicle. To compensate for that extraneous sound, you crank up the volume of the CD player with the exercises. This makes Ken sound even louder, and you have to sing even louder to be able to hear your own voice at all over the road noise and over Ken's voice if you are not doing the piano-only exercises.

    All in all, you are unable to judge your true singing volume when paying attention to your driving and also having to overcome these competing sounds. This can cause you to oversing, unless you remain acutely aware of these things and consciously use glottal compression to cut back the air when doing your exercises.

    Ken teaches us in Volume 3 that once we get the knack of Glottal Compression, we are to use it from that moment forward, all of the time, only singing loudly when it is absolutely called for specifically in a song.

    Even in strong parts of songs we are to govern our volume, never simply blasting for the "joy" of blasting. That will make you hoarse.

    Always using GC properly, will prevent you from EVER getting hoarse due to oversinging, because you will simply never oversing, once you make a pact with yourself that you must always govern the volume of your voice to more minimal levels by using Glottal Compression always.
  • JAS.URSHJAS.URSH Posts: 8Pro
    @highmtn & @coffeecrank yes, I am sure that singing along with Ken in the car is not super beneficial so I should try it more at home where in the past I have found it better for my practicing.

    I think I am using Glottal Compression most of the time but not giving it the support it deserves. My wife who is a the lead vocalist & a singing teacher (& yes, she can really sing well) has been very patiently helping me with my breathing but I am still struggling to really connect & feel that I am pushing down on my diaphragm. It just seems to allude me. I will try the sit up & "Lah" vowel as suggested this weekend. Thank you all. Much appreciated. :)
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,653Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    Think of pushing down on the diaphragm/Support as the BRAKES when you are driving down a twisting, turning mountain road. It's what keeps you from going over the edge or crashing into the rocks. In a less threatening environment, it is what prevents you from wearing out your voice too quickly. If you apply it correctly, enough of the time, you will experience very little wear and tear on your voice, especially your highest notes. It's the difference between control and out of control.

    Some people think of support as how to blast out louder notes. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's more how to sing, rather than how to blast. It's a reduction in outflow pressure.

    Because the faster our diaphragm rises the faster the air comes out, it is only logical that if we can slow down the rise of the diaphragm that we will naturally reduce the outflow of air (which incidentally makes our breath last much longer, especially with moderate cord closure). Because the diaphragm operates only on the "Downstroke" when it contracts and we inhale, we have to activate our "inhaling" muscles AS we exhale, to slow down the full, uncontrolled release of the breath. Using our inhaling muscles as we slowly release the breath is somewhat counterintuitive. So physically pushing downwards on our insides is one way to get our diaphragm to remain contracted instead of just "letting go" like it does during normal breathing.

    The sit ups are an illustration of how much effort it may take to resist the exhalation response. It's not an illustration of how hard we should blast out the air. It's how much strength we should apply to resist the uncontrolled escape of air from our vocal tract.

    When you "get it" you will notice a change in tone. With mild to moderate cord closure, and regulated air outflow, you will increase the ratio of tone to wasted air coming out. Your notes/breath can last much longer.

    It takes a while to get it. We are used to breathing without thinking or really controlling it.

    Another helpful exercise would be to inhale (not too much, because you don't want to feel like blasting it all out at once) and seeing how long you can PROLONG the release of the air. Work on that and try to get way up there. You will discover that you have to use muscles that you are not used to using in order to go a really long time holding your breath back.

  • HuduVuduHuduVudu Posts: 1,6632.0 PRO
    To find proper support, just have your wife push in just above your pubic bone. She will know where. When she does this you push back. This is the fast way. I taught my wife very quickly by doing this.
  • JAS.URSHJAS.URSH Posts: 8Pro
    Hi everyone, Thank you au all for your valuable information. I have tried all the techniques you have suggested & finding I am slowly but surely getting it. I listened to our live recording from last night (as I often do record us) & found that my tone was smoother & connected , my pitch was on & I could hear that I was using Glottal compression all night. I will continue to experiment until it all feels a bit more natural & consistent. Cheers everyone. J.
  • JAS.URSHJAS.URSH Posts: 8Pro
    Thank you Bob. I feel like I am getting there-just have to pump the bicycle tires up a bit more-ha ha. Appreciate your time in writing back to me. All the best Jason
  • brian_copbrian_cop Posts: 112.0 PRO
    I found that doing the daily warmup keeping my cords limber and flexible helps while also doing a warm down/cool down after I exercise the cords helped me a lot. It keeps my cords relaxed and ready to go for the next day even if I push it a little. Or by starting with a hum in the shower then vocalizing after I do like a 5 note scale humming. This has definitely helped with the hoarseness i’ve had in the past where I had to take a couple of days off. Make sure you’re also drinking plenty of water and breathing like everyone said before me is very important, and support. Cheers, and I hope your vocal journey is going very well.
  • epoloepolo Posts: 122.0 PRO
    One day I noticed that while doing the exercises my vocal cords started feeling irritated. I thought I was doing the exercise wrong. Then I decided to a humidity reader and found that I had been training with low humidity which can wreck the voice. I bought a humidifier and have been feeling better ever since. Something to consider.
  • NicolasBlackElkNicolasBlackElk Posts: 52.0 PRO
    Hello I wanted to ask a question here about feeling my voice tired after the Vol 1 workout is this normal I'm not hoarse but I have a little tingly sensation like a little irritated throat and then I feel I have to not talk too much.
    WHat can I do ?

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