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Skogsberries

Rest or Sing?

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Hi dear singing community. 

My basic question is - what's going on? Should I rest my voice or not?

I am on my first year of singing with the goal of performing. I have earlier seen a doctor telling me my vocal cords are fine, and a speech therapist who showed me the phonation pipe technique which worked wonders on my talking voice. Recently I visited her again and she showed me that actually now I have to lower my volume when talking, not to tire it too much. This applies to my singing too.

I have also been taking singing lessons with CVT-teacher which has been great. 

I now have my first rock gig in around a months time and do feel pretty nervous. Not only because it's the first time but because I'm mostly worried my voice won't hold or that I won't get time to practice cuz of what's troubling me.

I've been having some troubles for 3 weeks now with soreness in the throat which prevents me from feeling okay enough to sing. My voice is not hoarse in any way, but I have clear sensations of the soreness. 

I think it started with a very mild cold, during which I sang, but the feeling now remains of something swollen or tight in the area above and inside larynx. I don't sense pain in the vocal cords. 

When I sing there's no problem in terms of how it sounds - nobody would detect something was wrong. 

I just wonder to myself what to do. Keep waiting / not singing / speaking as little as possible /do exercises to get rid of tensions, hum, eat garlic... Mentally relaxin and preparing... 

 

What would you do in my situation? 

Best,

Berries 

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First I would like to qualify that there are currently no doctors here, and medical advice may be from a professional singer, but not a medical doctor.

My talking voice lowered quite a bit after training for stronger TA (chest voice musculature) engagement above my bridge. I've heard it happen with a lot of my students and other singers. Thicker TA muscles, thicker vocal folds, can lead to a lower voice.

However, soreness is a different issue. You need to recover, even if you only experienced a minor cold, allergies, or anything else that caused swelling. Warm salt water gargles morning and night can help. Vocal rest is really good for you. Ingo Titze's straw exercise can help you gain your voice back, even help the soreness subside when done lightly. 

If it is sore muscles, there are a few things I've come across with my students. I hope this at least helps point you in the right direction.

(1) TA muscle strength training like I described above can cause soreness of the muscles. But it feels like a sore muscle (like a day or two after a workout feels), not the same as swelling from illness or allergies.

(2) Pushing too hard can pull a muscle. I had one student who decided to push his voice to the limit without my guidance and popped a blood vessel on his larynx. He couldn't sing at all for 6 weeks. I've experienced this type of things first hand when belting along side a soprano student of mine. 15 minutes in, something popped and I very suddenly coudn't do it anymore. When I tried, I would have a sharp pain on the side of my larynx. I had pulled a muscle. It took 3 months before I got my range back, and another year before the pain was gone completely. The ENT couldn't find anything wrong, but there definitely was. Thankfully I found Robert, the owner of this forum, and his program. Then I was able to learn how to belt above a tenor C without any strain at all or risk of blowing out my voice again. But that's beside the point right now.

(3) Illness effects and linger. I"ve had a couple of student who experienced severe laryngitis. Afterwards, their singing voice had changed drastically. They had to push harder, fight with compression, and pretty much re-learn how to sing. The straw exercise I mentioned above helped them a lot.

Here's a quick rundown of what I recommend if it is illness or allergy related:

 

Ingo titze's Straw Exercise. Good for recovery, warm-ups, and assist both relaxation and placement n training. I show a full, quick warm-up here. But the straw exercises is first.

 

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