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Connections between singing and hours spent talking?

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Mr Bounce
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Hey all!

I've been thinking about this idea for a long time; that simply speaking a lot seems to help the voice. I have had periods in the last few years (during which I started learning to sing) where I didn't have a lot going on and would barely speak at all (half an hour or less for a whole day) for extended periods of time (weeks, months). In the space of only a few months or less, now as I have started speaking much more in my daily life, there is an extremely obvious change in my singing voice! I feel like my voice is working properly and my experience is now about learning the skills of singing rather than struggling with getting frustrated by the physicality; vocal folds that just didn't do anything!

It makes sense to me that the vocal apparatus would not stay in good order if they are never used except for a fraction of the day spent vocalising and singing.

Has anyone got anything to share on this particular aspect of singing?

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It depends on how you speak. If you allow yourself to phonate naturally at whatever pitch is natural and resonates, then yes, speaking will help the singing voice. Whispering and speaking in husky low tones not only trains the voice downward, it also allows too much air to pass and dry out the cords.

I have to watch myself. I am on the phone all day, so I can't be hollering in peoples' ear or in the phone but I also can't let everything just drop and bottom out in order to "be quiet." So, I have been making sure I allow my voice to change pitch as it will naturally. And to phonate fully and comfortably, with no force.

A muscle is a muscle. You walk quite a bit in a day, even you are not doing it for "exercise." And those muscles are capable of carrying you all day. Provided they are used correctly. Proper posture, good footwear, not too much weight to carry, etc. Granted, they are the largest muscle groups in your body and that has something to do with it. Just the same, you are not running or jumping all day. I suppose one could use american football as an analogy. There are times when you walk, run, or jump. Same with singing and talking.

But we were just talking about this in another section of the forum. If you, as a man, are tempted to talk low and gravelly because it seems more manly or macho, don't. That is just shredding your voice and if you don't have nodes, it will give you some. Once in a while for a specific effect is one thing. For example, the low and rough sound of actor Clancy Brown as the drill instructor in "Starship Troopers" is not his natural sound. That is an affectation that he developed solely for the role and only used while on-screen. Same for his role as the Kergan in the movie "The Highlander." Not only is that a special sound he created but it was actually dubbed in later during what they call looping. But as a singer, it's vocal suicide. I'm not saying you can't do distortion but the initial tone is pure and the distortion is added on top.

So, yeah, if you speak properly, it will help make singing easier as the muscles train to resonate and support properly. So, I sometimes think speech level singing is backwards. It should be singing level speaking, which will have a positive feedback effect. Just like walking properly makes it easier to walk, which makes it easier to walk properly, etc.

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That is interesting. So you are saying the voice can be trained like a muscle, and that you're not just learning coordinations, but developing physical strength and flexibility in the vocal apparatus?

I definitely agree that you have to speak in a healthy way. There can be a tendency to want to sound low and "manly" as possible, but like you said, surely that leads to problems later on.

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That is interesting. So you are saying the voice can be trained like a muscle, and that you're not just learning coordinations, but developing physical strength and flexibility in the vocal apparatus?

Both, but learning coordinations is more important than developing raw strength in the inner throat muscles (which can only get so much stronger, from what I've heard).

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Here's my view ... after 12 hours of teaching per day, the last thing I want to hear is my voice...

so I warm it down and go to sleep. Therefore, the connection is .. well, a disconnection.

When I'm on vacations, I feel I can knock down walls with my voice (I still warm up in the morning - no exception there).

I just try to see life from a "singer's" perspective and cause as little wear and tear as possible.

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if i talk less during the day, my singing voice will be better. there are singers who refuse to talk at all for a day or more before a big performance. i also try to use the high and low part of my speaking voice throughout the day and ng sirens and lip bubbles during the day here in my store.

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As I know after speaking more than 6 hours a day (total spoken time), you will experience voice fatigue. Of course each one of us is different.

Good breath support, correct vocal fold closure and good voice placement (as most of us do when singing) can help to reduce the stress on the vocal folds.

Because I speak a lot, I toke one year of logopedic lessons, and it helped me to reduce the stress on my voice during the day at work. Most of us want to preserve still a suitable voice quality for singing practice, gigs… occurring normaly at night.

Managing well your speaking voice is fundamental and it can help to develop a good singing-voice technique.

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Great discussion topic and a particularly excellent point made by ronws,

The vocal apparatus is muscular and will always benefit from (correct) exercise. For those of you who use your speaking voices for a living (I do) it is important that you don't fall into the trap of trying to 'save' your voice by using inefficient voice production. The idea of speaking quietly or whispering is most likely a bad approach. Far better to produce your natural voice with less volume: this does NOT mean to become more 'breathy' or allowing a whisper to creep in. You would be better off to shout than to do this for reasons outlined in the above post. You can still allow your voice to have natural resonance and tone without becoming 'airy'. Simply, hold the air back! You can still produce volume when required (teachers) by using the abdominal muscles to resist the release of the diaphragm. Whenever you whisper or try and effect a 'telephone' voice, you are likely to push air through the folds and they will end up very dry and you will end up vocally tired.

Tony

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What vocal power said.

I am office manager at an electrical company and I constantly answer the phones to coordinate work schedules with the pool builders we work with (we predominately do the electrical required for pools, spas, and fountains, such as filter pumps, cleaner pumps, salt systems, ozonators, pool and spa lights, controls for those mechanisms, as well as some residential remodeling, relocating residential electrical service, plus call-ins from homeowners that need a service call to fix something), as well as talking with the work crews out in the field, ordering materials, talking with my supervisors (the two owners.) So, I vary my speach pattern during the day. Not trying to sound low and husky but not overly loud, either. One of the owners has an i-pod with just about every song on there and he likes to sing, too. And does pretty well, even though it's not a "delicate" voice. He is usually on pitch. It could have been worse. He could have been Kermit the Frog with no pitch control. When he speaks, he phonates fully. So, his voice lasts all day. I don't sing much in the office. I let him handle that. :)

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So, how do you know if you are "speaking correctly"? My speaking voice is rather low for a woman, but my singing voice is quite high. Last week, my voice felt scratchy for several days after my audition in LA, and I was very careful about how I spoke and hardly sang at all because I was afraid of damaging my voice. Should I have been worried? If the singing voice is like a muscle, then could it have been because I had been singing, talking and vocalizing for a period longer than I was used to? If I keep exercising it, does that mean that my voice could last for hours? I like to exercise and I know that as you exercise, your muscles ache because you are breaking down muscle fibers and the are rebuilding and becoming stronger. Does the voice work the same way?

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Very interesting to hear from people who must speak all day for a living! I think LydiaN makes a good point; how do we know if we are speaking correctly?

For me, I consider myself to be speaking well when I hear the same ping and quality of tone that comes when I sing, and it just seems to come naturally with no strain anywhere near the throat. Of course, just as with singing, I think you have off days for any kind of vocalising (in this case, speaking!).

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Good question. Well, does your voice feel okay at the end of the day? There are times at the office when there is nothing to talk about and so we don't. Don't worry, the phone will be ringing in a minute and you will be talking again. And there are times when I don't sing on the way home. Silent for the whole trip, averaging an hour. And there times when I practice here and there around the house.

I think my voice might wear out if I was talking constantly. On the other hand, with singing, the voice could wear out very quickly with improper technique. Even with good technique, though, many a pro singer spends as much quiet time as they can "saving it up for the show," so to speak.

Back to muscles. The folds are also muscles. And I disagree with Roger Love on this,. We are not built to phonate 24/7. Muscles can get fatigued, even when used properly. So, we each have to find our own balance.

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