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years of vocal lessons and still cant sing without straining?

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neugie92
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Ive taken years of vocal lessons and find my throat tightening and eventually starting to hurt as a song goes on. I know breathing techniques have read numerous books and taken numerous lessons on this but seirously WHAT IS THE KEY TO SINGING WITHOUT STRAINING? I know in Roger Love's book he has an excersise for keeping the larynx down by practicing moving it up and down? will this help? I am desperate!

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Head on over to my thread and do some of the exercises Steven Fraser posted. I was sick of straining all the time and since I've been doing the exercises daily, morning and night. It really has helped, gets you used to singing more freely and not engaging the muscle memory used to tighten up.

Yeah I still tighten up in spots and I need to find a connection to stop falling out a little but it has helped A LOT.

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The key is trainning, really. There is no single secret recipe or a trick that will do it.

You said that you know breathing techniques. What techniques and for how long did you practice them? What exactly did you learn on those lessons you taken?

Do not tamper with your larynx position, it will not solve the problem. Can you send a sample of how you are singing right now?

Consider looking for another coach, the best you can find, because if you worked uppon wrong postures, you will have a very hard time getting rid of them without someone to help you in the process...

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Ive taken years of vocal lessons and find my throat tightening and eventually starting to hurt as a song goes on. I know breathing techniques have read numerous books and taken numerous lessons on this but seirously WHAT IS THE KEY TO SINGING WITHOUT STRAINING? I know in Roger Love's book he has an excersise for keeping the larynx down by practicing moving it up and down? will this help? I am desperate!

Wow sounds a lot like me. Dont worry, im sure many of us have been through that Frustration period. I had a teacher for over a year who never taught me to use my head voice. Naturally i was straining a lot around the passaggio. Is this what your teacher does as well?

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The key is trainning, really. There is no single secret recipe or a trick that will do it.

You said that you know breathing techniques. What techniques and for how long did you practice them? What exactly did you learn on those lessons you taken?

Do not tamper with your larynx position, it will not solve the problem. Can you send a sample of how you are singing right now?

Consider looking for another coach, the best you can find, because if you worked uppon wrong postures, you will have a very hard time getting rid of them without someone to help you in the process...

'

What kind of training? Ive done scale work and attempted sirens but felt i was doing them wrong. Lip bubbles ive done aswell.

here is a smal bit of me singing a chorus that im having trouble with

http://www.box.com/s/hkcg5oqmij3rp997omo0

let me know if you hear anything that can help me thank you so much

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neugie92, don't be offended by this at all, i mean no disrespect, but i'm afraid i find it hard to believe you have had years of voice lessons?

your voice sounds to "virgin" to have had that be the case. i'm sorry.

what i hear is a lack of support and your expelling air too fast. too much air is being used in your singing which gives it a shouty component.

these were lessons with a teacher?

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neugie92, don't be offended by this at all, i mean no disrespect, but i'm afraid i find it hard to believe you have had years of voice lessons?

your voice sounds to "virgin" to have had that be the case. i'm sorry.

what i hear is a lack of support and your expelling air too fast. too much air is being used in your singing which gives it a shouty component.

these were lessons with a teacher?

I agree, I like shouty singing, but if this is what his teacher is teaching and he can't stop straining and has trouble singing in tune, I honestly feel really bad. He was stretching his tongue at his teacher's advice last I heard to try to solve the strain? It sounds like the teacher has actively made things worse.

Neugie, if you can get a really, really good teacher, that would help so much, but if not if you get a really, really good singing book and let people here help you understand it, it would help so much too. People are not sending you in the right direction. Your teacher has got to be taking advantage of you which is sickening.

If you were happy and comfortable, that's one thing, but you can tell something is wrong and you need to get back on track man. You got a lot of potential, I know you can do this, but you gotta change course.

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I agree, I like shouty singing, but if this is what his teacher is teaching and he can't stop straining and has trouble singing in tune, I honestly feel really bad. He was stretching his tongue at his teacher's advice last I heard to try to solve the strain? It sounds like the teacher has actively made things worse.

Neugie, if you can get a really, really good teacher, that would help so much, but if not if you get a really, really good singing book and let people here help you understand it, it would help so much too. People are not sending you in the right direction. Your teacher has got to be taking advantage of you which is sickening.

If you were happy and comfortable, that's one thing, but you can tell something is wrong and you need to get back on track man. You got a lot of potential, I know you can do this, but you gotta change course.

Thanks everyone for their input I am activley looking for a vocal coach but cannot find one that seems able to take me where I want to go. In the meantime are their any excerises anyone can reccomend based on that clip. I am well versed in inhaling a diaphramtic breath but do not seem to understand how to apply that breathe to aid in vocalizing. Also when i breathe my bely basically fills up and not so much my rib cage. Any advice?

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Thanks everyone for their input I am activley looking for a vocal coach but cannot find one that seems able to take me where I want to go. In the meantime are their any excerises anyone can reccomend based on that clip. I am well versed in inhaling a diaphramtic breath but do not seem to understand how to apply that breathe to aid in vocalizing. Also when i breathe my bely basically fills up and not so much my rib cage. Any advice?

A few exercises:

Inhale with a straw or with pursed lips. Feel the diaphragm (bottom of the ribcage) expand. Don't let your shoulders raise. Keep the centered and low. Now exhale with a hiss, Sssssssss, trying to keep the same feeling of 'engagement' down below. The key is to learn to meter out a steady amount of breath.

Try to use less airflow than you are currently using as it sounds like you are overblowing the notes.

Another idea I read from Steven Frasier, try inhale and exhale with the 'warmest most moist breath' you can. Plug your ears, and try to keep both the inhale and exhale silent. This might help with constriction too.

Ultimately, I'd suggest rather than trying to force a loud powerful sound, you start with a small, relaxed throat sound for now (with good breath support down below), and try to swell it up just to the point where it creates the note in a solid way, no more. Try to make it feel like your breath is flowing smoothly up and out from your support system, silky air spinning the bottom all the way up and out. Try not to make this sound breathy, but don't pinch it.

You may find results, trying to keep a similar feeling to what this exercise here gives, only adding an invisible H (very very small softening) to the onset of the note instead of the glottal attack.

Another thing I would highly recommend, is that you think 'lighter' than you currently are. Think 'relaxed' and 'less heavy.' Smooth, free, relaxed. If you try using head voice or falsetto, this might actually help you break psychologically/physiologically out of this kind of pushing/straining phase you're in and teach you to not use this much compression and squeezing on the cords.

If you can take a light head voice, and gradually pull it down, until it meets your chest voice. Feel that spot there. Work on that spot. The kind of sound that Roger Love is 'trying' to get you to achieve, would be better achieved by learning to properly bridge than with random gug exercises.

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neugie92 - The main thing with that clip is you are singing an F#4 on "alive" without the right type of vowel mod. On the "ah" vowel, if you don't start shifting things at E4 you're going to feel real tight no matter what. Welcome to the club of most of us here that don't do this naturally and had to learn. I bet if that song was transposed down 3 half steps you wouldn't feel nearly as uncomfortable. As soon as you go above Eb4, without the right resonation you're in trouble. It's a fact of physics.

You've got to find a teacher to teach you this. I could try to walk your through it in text, but it is hard to convey this. If you're that serious and that motivated you owe it to yourself to invest in one skype lesson with someone that can teach you this - Tony O'hora, Lunte, Tamplin,...

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neugie92 - The main thing with that clip is you are singing an F#4 on "alive" without the right type of vowel mod. On the "ah" vowel, if you don't start shifting things at E4 you're going to feel real tight no matter what. Welcome to the club of most of us here that don't do this naturally and had to learn. I bet if that song was transposed down 3 half steps you wouldn't feel nearly as uncomfortable. As soon as you go above Eb4, without the right resonation you're in trouble. It's a fact of physics.

You've got to find a teacher to teach you this. I could try to walk your through it in text, but it is hard to convey this. If you're that serious and that motivated you owe it to yourself to invest in one skype lesson with someone that can teach you this - Tony O'hora, Lunte, Tamplin,...

I agree partially, but I have a theory that singing E4 is different for the voice types just as it's different between men and women. I think a dramatic bass would likely have a different passaggio than a lyric tenor and a one size fits all rule, would probably be unrealistic as voices are extremely different.

Neugie has been trying a whole lot of SLS related material (I have the same Roger Love book with the gugs and it has now mention of vowel mods) and my experience is that crying over passaggio and flipping into neutral above works to smooth out the break, but taking the cry any higher than smoothing out passaggio would likely require increasingly strong vowel mods for consistency.

So it kind of depends on what he wants to do, and what he is currently doing.

In theory, SLS works ok as long as it is done exactly right:

Overdrive up to passaggio

Then Cry comfortably through lightening the sound

Into Neutral above (or MLN)

I don't believe it requires extreme modifications, only slight ones but you won't get as much range out of cry this way without a vowel mod.

Either way, I agree he should get a teacher. Skyping with a good teacher would be better than using his old teacher or old books. Getting a better book would help too, as the Roger Love one I have wouldn't help many people sing, IMO. You really can't just make a bunch of sound effects and expect to be able to sing in fact you can train bad habits or risk injury through repetition like me.

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Look for a coach. I dont know what "results" you are aiming but the first step is to be able to do a song without hurting yourself, since in the present condition you cant, vowel mods or simply a few support exercises will be useless.

You need to train hard and get the fundamental posture correct and confortable before anything else. So find coach and work on it.

GL

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Look for a coach. I dont know what "results" you are aiming but the first step is to be able to do a song without hurting yourself, since in the present condition you cant, vowel mods or simply a few support exercises will be useless.

You need to train hard and get the fundamental posture correct and confortable before anything else. So find coach and work on it.

GL

I agree he needs a teacher, but I think he might try backing off in the meantime and working on less strained sounds even if they aren't 'final' sounds. He could at least have something to work on with the breath support that would be harmless and productive.

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Hard to say, I dont know the information he received and that resulted in the actual state nor the muscle memories that were developed.

I am not confortable in saying anything besides what I hear on the clip. Without seeing personaly what he is doing I would not interfere, specialy because of the overcompression.

Maybe relaxation exercises and very simple breathing without engaging support... Is there a thread with this kind of information/exercises?

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[i agree partially, but I have a theory that singing E4 is different for the voice types just as it's different between men and women. I think a dramatic bass would likely have a different passaggio than a lyric tenor and a one size fits all rule, would probably be unrealistic as voices are extremely different.

Yes, your theory is correct and supported by facts - if you read some Steven Fraser posts you'd see that it is well documented. But my post was targeted toward his particular voice and his issues. He is not a dramatic bass or a woman. In fact his voice seems to have a quality consistent with Tenor. The 1st formant of "ah" when sung by a person of his voice type loses resonance at about E4 unless he starts shifting resonance. The fact that he feels strained supports this.

There are two aspects of passagio - 1) reasonce issues which often need to be rectified by changing reasonance centers to help support the formant of the vowel while the harmonics change pitch and 2) the spot where the CT starts to stretch the folds - often referred to as where head voice starts. These two points are different. #1 changes depending on vowel. #2 is somewhat adjustable, where you can make the switch so gradual that you cannot even tell where it starts.

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That's really interesting information, I appreciate it, Geno. I likely subconsciously adjusted my vowels pre injury to avoid strain, even without lightening the mechanism and bridging into head voice. When I hear my oldest chestiest singing, I hear a lot of 'oh' and singing used to feel that way.

Personally, I'd take significantly less full voice range if it involved less intellectualizing of the process one way or the other. Full voice range is just not important enough to me to think about all of those rules, so I'd probably be better off just bridging early or maybe not bridging at all using overdrive/falsetto. Whatever could minimally keep me safe while expressing myself emotionally. I used to just sing what was comfortable, and if it got strained, then that wasn't the right way to sing. Not terrible complicated, right/wrong change it. Unfortunately I'm forced to think intellectually now as the damage has already been done when I introduced all of those exercises/change with the same lack of thought.

I can kind of agree with this and see what you are saying. Neugie is audibly straining and he can feel it. Changing the mechanics too much would be more dangerous than having him get a very good teacher, but not changing anything wouldn't be good either.

I've been saying I think there should be a sticky thread with beginner advice on singing somewhere period, (avoiding constriction, basic support, some emission guidelines, warnings about jumping ahead) just so people who come here ignorantly (lurkers, too) might have something safe to read/try or a good spot to plant their feet. Otherwise, they have mountains of information here and will probably try the wrong (random) things.

If anyone with more knowledge than I could compile a collection of the safest information/beginner exercises possible, and just post it prominently for people to read, then it would balance out all of the other more common threads here, most of which involve things that people who have no voice teacher and/or lack of a lot of singing experience should probably not be doing.

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killer, to digress a moment. you had said on more than one post that roger love's gug and goog exercises were some of the exercises that had helped ruined your voice.

why is that? i have done those gug and gug exercises off his cd, and if one followed them as he was demonstating in the order he had listed, i don't see how those could have possibly landed you such trouble.

please explain. i just don't understand.

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Agreed, Bob....

Prior to meeting Robert Lunte, Jaime Vendera, Hilary Canto, (and others I've since met here at TMV), I too used the same gug and goog exercises from Roger Love's CD and experienced no adverse effects from doing so.

I have a tendency to believe there is much more to Killer's dilemma. ???

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killer, to digress a moment. you had said on more than one post that roger love's gug and goog exercises were some of the exercises that had helped ruined your voice.

why is that? i have done those gug and gug exercises off his cd, and if one followed them as he was demonstating in the order he had listed, i don't see how those could have possibly landed you such trouble.

please explain. i just don't understand.

Ok.... Gug. Gug. Gug. Gug. Gug.... For awhile. I felt tension and pain, so I stopped.

So I tried to sing, it was like "Gugxplosion" when my throat didn't open right.

It increases glottal pressure, and refuses to allow the vocal cords to break into falsetto, so this caused pain when I tried to resume singing normally and the glottal pressure was habituated overboard. Excessive glottal closure, plus too much air (that would have been fine prior with less closure), equals pain and damage.

If you want to try it, use various amounts of air in your tone, with a closed glottis. It's just dangerous to try in ignorance. I had voice habits, of less glottal closure, prior, and when it didn't open up like expected and squeezed it's really bad news. Actual physical pain.

It may have not been the actual thing that damaged my voice, but it very well could have been and was in close proximity.

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killer, to digress a moment. you had said on more than one post that roger love's gug and goog exercises were some of the exercises that had helped ruined your voice.

why is that? i have done those gug and gug exercises off his cd, and if one followed them as he was demonstating in the order he had listed, i don't see how those could have possibly landed you such trouble.

please explain. i just don't understand.

Personaly, I think that the margin of error of this kind of exercise is too low to tell beginners to do them.

You cant know how much pressure the student will build behind the G and the B. And if its presented as I see some people showing them on youtube, I can easily see how the damage can happen:

- Close the B or the G

- Build excessive pressure

- Adduct the folds

- Release the consonant and the larynx will receive the impact of the pressure directly, bumping up against the tongue root. The tongue will react and stiff, the G will become tense, and so on... With time, you get a RSI.

Specially if you tell people to "zip up"...

All those exercises that try to tamper with adduction directly are dangerous in my opinion, and should be used very carefully only in cases where a serious problem of airy emission is present. More likely by a speech therapist to correct a disfunction, like cord bowing. In my opinion this is too dangerous to be used without supervision. There are many other ways to make the larynx work and correct lack of strenght which IS common on untrainned voices.

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Personaly, I think that the margin of error of this kind of exercise is too low to tell beginners to do them.

You cant know how much pressure the student will build behind the G and the B. And if its presented as I see some people showing them on youtube, I can easily see how the damage can happen:

- Close the B or the G

- Build excessive pressure

- Adduct the folds

- Release the consonant and the larynx will receive the impact of the pressure directly, bumping up against the tongue root. The tongue will react and stiff, the G will become tense, and so on... With time, you get a RSI.

Specially if you tell people to "zip up"...

All those exercises that try to tamper with adduction directly are dangerous in my opinion, and should be used very carefully only in cases where a serious problem of airy emission is present. More likely by a speech therapist to correct a disfunction, like cord bowing. In my opinion this is too dangerous to be used without supervision. There are many other ways to make the larynx work and correct lack of strenght which IS common on untrainned voices.

They never tell you what the end goal is either or explained the science in the book. It was like 'if you want a healthy voice, if you just gug like this every day you'll get a great singing and speaking voice.'

So I was doing that directionlessly with no scientific understanding of what the point was, and it got me with pain and like a feeling that it exploded. I went to bed immediately, hoping t would disappear.

That 'zip up' advice, made me feel tension trying too. My throat felt tighter after trying SLS exercises in general, it didn't hurt though, so I thought it was supposed to be normal zipping.

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Killer,

BTW..... I meant no disrespect with my last "post".... I simply believe there is much more to your ailment !

My offer to you still stands - If you wish to contact my doctor I will gladly give you the contact info.

No excuses about traveling, either. Due to my disability, I personally travel HUNDREDS of miles each month to visit SEVERAL doctors and I'm on a limited budget due to my retirement.....

Regards,

Adolph

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