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Strain and tension while doing the exercises

Hey, I've just started with the KTVA program and I have a little expereince with other vocal coaches and just singing in general, so the information and techniques in the program is logical and pretty easy for me to understand, but the problem I am having is that I am not fully relaxed when I am doing the exercises. I don't strain much, but I can feel tension and a little strain even though I am trying to relax (on the higher chest notes). Also I don't know how to keep my larynx down, it just go up way to high even though I am trying to use my tounge to 'dampen' it, it just wont.. How should I move forward? Is tension OK in the beginning or should I stop if I feel it?


  • JonasFinnLarssonJonasFinnLarsson Pro Posts: 200
    Cut the scales workout and work on relaxing and singing to an instrument, where you can stop at anytime. If you feel like you are pushing too much or that it doesn't feel good. Stop for a minute and try to figure out what you can do to feel more relaxed.
    Use the info in the course. It might be not supporting enough or trying to relax the face and throat, rolling your shoulders. Try to shed the strain away.
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,353
    You will have some tension, but try to manage it. You may want to skip the higher notes in the scales temporarily, until you can become more accustomed to going up to those notes in chest voice.

    You can also sing those notes that create tension in a lighter voice, temporarily, just to get the feeling of hitting them, but the goal is to stay in chest voice the whole time. It is tempting to just go into head voice, but that will cause your voice to want to take the "lazy" path. On the other hand, you will need the relaxation to get to those notes in chest.

    Stopping the playback and fast-forwarding to the next place that is comfortable for you might be best, if you don't play an instrument.

    A little tension is ok. A little strain is not. Strech, don't strain. Sometimes stretching isn't super-comfortable, but it should not hurt, and should not leave our voice feeling raspy at all.

    When the tongue rises, the larynx will often rise, too. Try to keep the tongue down. You may need to use a tongue depressor, or if you don't have one, a spoon can do the same thing. Just use that to help train the tongue that it CAN stay down and the world won't come to an end. It tends to freak out sometimes when you are new to the program.

    You can practice trying a lowered larynx position in order to try to "refer to" that feeling when you notice your larynx is rising.

    Do a YouTube search on "Yogi Bear" and imitate the voice that is used for him. That is a lowered-larynx voice. Just practice doing his "Hey, hey, Boo-Boo!" for a while, and if you sound anything like him, your larynx will be down. Take note of that sound and feeling. Then access that feeling and sound when you need to bring your larynx down.

    The larynx WILL rise, but we want to learn to minimize that, and for the most part, keep it centered... not lowered, not raised, but centered. That gives us room to raise it if we should or lower it if we should. Training in a lowered larynx position becomes a good base to build from. It teaches us to save some space up top for those really high notes that will come later.

    All the Best!

  • ArvidperssonArvidpersson Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for the help! It works better on the modifications now, but if I am singing songs with alot of articulating and consonants I can't go anywhere near the notes I can on a open ''ah'' for example. I can sing C5 with just a little strain in chest on a open vowel like the ah, but if I would sing a phrase like ''I am feeling just fine'' on a A4, I would strain and pull alot of weigh. Is this something that will get better as I practise the vowels in the program? Or is it something else I am doing wrong?
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,353
    Yes, it will get better as you improve and develop your voice within the program, but there is a section in Volumes 2 and 3 called Applying KTVA method to Songs. It's basically going to get you to back off on the consonants and emphasize the vowels (like you do in the exercises) while you are singing songs.

    That phase of the training is very important, and you have to implement those techniques on songs to begin to see how this all works out. THEN you will be singing your songs in the same manner that you sing the exercises, and your songs will begin to really take on some great sound.

    EE's and I's and several other vowels are very difficult to sing at a C5, so you learn vowel substitutions, in addition to vowel modifications. These help to act as vocal "shock absorbers" that will help you with those tough passages.

    All the Best!

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