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Issues with keeping up practice.

Hello all

I have been doing this course for about 8 months and am at volume 2.

I practice regularly and enjoy it thoroughly but I feel that I have many many off days. I struggle to get 6 strait days of practice as sometimes my voice just wont hit notes right or I struggle on chest to head changeover or at the highs of chest voice. often times on these days my voice feels tired.

I would like to be practicing more and I feel progress is being limited by my vocal strength.

So I think I am probably oversinging or am definantly doing something wrong. 
A usual practice generally involves running through the workout and then singing 3 to 5 songs. (generally start on corey taylors wicked game and finish with something like unforgiven 2 by metallica)
I sing and do the workout at a far louder than talking volume but in no way yelling.

I always back off if I feel a sharpish (not painful but if i were to push it it would be) feeling but generally I would continue to practice but with less projection. should this be a marker to finish my session?

from reading through the forum I feel I may currently have swollen vocal cords as the symptoms seem to be the same.
I also learnt through reading here that the workouts are full workouts with a warmup at the start and not just a warmup for you to then practice singing after.

so in summary am I oversinging?
what can I do to balance my practice between the kvta workouts and actual songs so I can practice more regularly?

thankyou for your time.


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    highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,359
    edited April 2015

    Hi, @ruddisnot!

    I'll try to give you reasonable answers.  You're asking a lot of good questions, so I'll give it my best shot to give you some good advice.

    Firstly, I think that you probably ARE oversinging.  It's very easy to do.  At the point you are at (Volume 2) you haven't yet gotten to the part where Ken starts instructing you on how to cut back the air and compressing the air rather than letting it come out at the rate you're probably used to doing.  The good news is that you will be learning that soon.  The not so good news is that it can take some students a while to actually implement this properly.  It took me a while to go from knowing that I should be doing it, or thinking that I WAS doing it, to ACTUALLY properly doing it.  I can tell you that it does work, but it will be up to you to listen to what Ken says, and from that, actually implement that into your daily practice of both your exercises and your songs. 

    What you describe is kind of what I would call the two-edged sword of singing.  You need more stamina to help you support your voice and ease some of the stress that you are putting on it.  That can only come from lots of proper workouts.  The other part of the equation is that you have to be very careful while doing those stamina-building workouts or you will wear your voice out, and cause swelling of the cords.  Once that happens, you may tend to try harder to get the notes that are hard to reach anyway.  That can result in a cycle of oversinging.

    I can tell you from experience that you are more likely to be wearing out your voice on songs rather than the exercises.  The exercises tend to stay on one or maybe two vowels, and are graduated and repetitive.  You know what's coming.  Songs have every vowel and every consonant under the sun in them, and the melody is going to be more varied.  When I was in my early days of learning KTVA, I would love to sing songs for hours at a time, but that's when I would tend to overdo it.  Then the next day, my voice would be tired at vocal exercise practice.

    For now, I do not suggest that you skip ahead.  I suggest that you simply try to do the exercises AND your songs at a lower volume.  Give your voice a little more distance below that point you say you are taking it to now.  Don't take it up to that sharpish feeling.  You know where that is.  Stop a few notes shy of that for now.  Stop taking your voice to that point and let the tendency to swell go away and heal.  So instead of just finishing your session when you feel that feeling, learn your current limitations, and stay below them, both in pitch and in air pressure. 

    To be honest, KTVA is teaching you many basics that you really need to learn in Volumes 1 and 2.  It's not until Volume 3 that you have worked out enough and learned enough of the baby steps before attacking real songs.  I know that many students are already singing in bands, and therefore singing songs.  They may not be using the proper techniques, because they really haven't learned them yet, even though they may have been singing professionally for years.  There is a difference in being what people may say is a "good singer" and in being a singer that is using techniques that will give you a lifetime of good singing.  Ken wants you to learn the techniques that will allow you to sing Metallica all night long and still be ready for more.  First we have to get you rebuilt and firing on all twelve cylinders.

    There is no problem with you still being on Volume 2 in the length of time you have been working KTVA.  Certainly, if you are taking your voice to places that cause your voice to get or sound tired, then that will give you setbacks.  So to start with, let's make sure you aren't overdoing it, on either your exercises OR your songs. 

    I would recommend that you concentrate on Ken's exercises for the time being, and if you can bring yourself to it, let the songs wait a while.  I know that some people will tell you that you should be practicing on songs.  I say yes, practicing songs is good, but only when you have learned more of the techniques that apply directly to songs.  THEN you need to be practicing applying the techniques to the songs as you practice them.

    In everything there has to be balance.  So, for now, let's just suggest that you move the balance to more workout exercises and fewer songs, and in all of these, monitor yourself and be very careful to NOT oversing.  I do think you probably have been oversinging, even though I haven't heard a demo.

    When you cut back your volume, you will find that you will have stamina to spare.  Eventually, as you progress with your workouts and as you progress to Volume 3, you will gain more strength, stamina, range, and knowledge on how to better regulate your breath.  Never forget the importance of support.

    Where you are at right now in your course is like being a little over halfway up a mountain.  You can barely see the top, because it's partly hidden by the part of the mountain you haven't yet climbed.  There is still a lot of work yet to do and a lot to learn.  The good news is that you're over half way there!  The not so good news is that you're only a little over halfway there.  : ^)

    Enjoy the journey.  We're all in this together. We all have times that we just can't get to our workouts.  We just have to persevere, and do our best to keep moving forward, even when we feel that our current plateau will never end.  That's usually a sign that we are close to our next breakthrough!

    Plan on doing more of your song-singing workouts a little later in the course.

    Focus now on technique.

    All the Best!


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    ruddisnotruddisnot Pro Posts: 6
    Thanks Bob. Very helpful answer.

    I shall lower the volume of my practice, focus more on the exercises and save singing for when I am in a super happy mood and just want to sing regardless.

    I am comfortable with forgoing practice of songs until the future.

    I will get some recordings up soon So you guys can give me some pointers. does video help?

    I would like to ask for a definition of support. am I right in thinking support is proper posture and diaphragmatic breathing?

    Another thought is in volume 2 Ken mentions sliders but it seems there is no exercise for this in volume 2?

    After checking these forums out I realise I really should have been here sooner!

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    highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,359

    Yes, video is helpful, it includes more information.

    Support is a huge subject all to itself.  There are many, many posts on support and a whole category section here in the forums.  I would ask you to please read up as much as you can and even watch some of the webinars on glottal compression and the WayPoint videos and then ask follow-up questions after giving yourself a good background on it.

    You can also use the search box at the top of the page to look up previous Q & A's. 

    You need proper posture for good support but there is a lot more to it than that.  It is closely intertwined with controlling the diaphragm.

    There is no individual exercise in the workouts for those particular sliders, but nothing prevents you from doing them along with and without the video playing.  They are very good for working your voice and taking it through the passagio smoothly. 

    I'm glad that you have discovered the great resource that the forums offers for expanding your vocal knowledge.

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