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Great Difficulty Letting Go Of Tension In The Chest - Anxiety Problem?

sam.ksam.k Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 41
Hi All,

I've been doing KTVA for about 6 months now. The primary reason I bought this course is because I had really poor tone and no vibrato, my voice always sounded really strained and shaky.

From the start I have guessed that tension was a problem. The random pattern of the shakiness that I hear in my voice is exactly like the random pattern of shakes you get from any tensed and straining muscle. You know exactly the shaky pattern I am talking about. Clench your fist, forearm and bicep as hard as you can, notice how it shakes, and there are semi-random bursts of larger shakes along with the constant smaller shakes. If I sing a single note as steady and constant as I can then, in the volume and pitch of the note, I can hear that same pattern of constant small shakiness punctuated at random with larger bursts. Despite my voice being better in many other ways, this aspect has not changed at all over the 6 months that I have been doing KTVA.

I have read elsewhere (another singing advice site) that some people can have muscle tension issues that they have been unable to feel for years because it is so habituated that the brain has totally switched off from the feeling. I am not sure, but I think this applies to me.

During all of volume 1 I thought I was doing fine with letting go of tension as instructed, but I didn't make any progress on my strained tone and shakiness. I had everything else together so I thought that maybe I was expecting results too soon.

Now during volume 2 I've had a few "AHA" moments and I think I am starting to be able to actually feel that tension, but I am not sure. I am feeling the tension across the front of my lungs on the lower half of the chest. Roughly speaking, it occurs in the area from the top edge of the solar, plexus extending about 2 inches up and sideways almost out to my nipples on either side. The feeling that I feel, when I feel it, is much the same as the "butterflies in the stomach" feeling, and on the few occasions when I have been able to release it, it feels a bit like someone has poured warm water on sternum.

When I consciously try to release tension in this area while I am singing, I often have an involuntary negative reaction in what I can only describe as "anxiety" like symptoms such as increased heart rate and shortness of breath. Also, as a bit of extra info, although I generally don't have problems
in my life with anxiety or panic attacks, I do have anxiety issues (shakey voice, shortness of breath, can't think straight) during confrontation, so these feelings are not completely unknown to me.

Despite about 6 weeks of working on it I have not made much, if any progress. Often, trying to work on it just makes it worse and makes me really tense and anxious, at other times I go back to being unable to feel it.

An additional confusing factor is that I honestly can't tell the difference between becoming aware of a feeling of tension that was already there versus the other possibility that this is a brand new tension that I have developed because I have made no progress on these particular issues and I'm feeling desperate and unconfident.

The two stories equally fit my lived experience and I don't know how to tell what's what. I don't know how anyone else could tell from the outside either, but I am putting this out there anyway in case anyone can offer some insight or strategies for dealing with it.

Thanks for reading.


  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,353

    What I heard in your vocal demo that you just posted on another thread is a lack of good, solid support.

    Lack of support will cause the exact shaky sound that you are describing and I did hear that in your voice.

    Also, you learn to put your tension into support strength and remove it from other areas.  Put your tension to work FOR you instead of against you.  Concentrate on support.


  • sam.ksam.k Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 41
    Thanks Bob,

    I think I need to go back to Volume 1 and focus on the breath support.

    I thought I was doing everything as instructed, but clearly I have not got it right.

    Back to square one...

  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,353


    Please review the postings in the Diaphragmatic Breathing and Support section of the forums.  You may find help there, as well as some of the webinar videos.


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