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i wish vocal exercises ached

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i wish we could get that pump and ache vocal exercising like we would if we were weight training. it seems that ache makes you feel like you've accomplished something.

sometimes the lighter exercises make you feel uncertain you're accomplished something. there's no "yes, i've really worked this muscle/muscles today."

sound crazy? it's okay to say "yes."

bob

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Bob, indeed, its kinda reversed, if you feel your throat aching, its a sign that something was not working as it should.

One thing that always happens to me, is that after practicing the exercises that aim for development and coordination, I feel really tired, not on the throat, but support and mental. It takes a lot of concentration, specially if its a new posture or correction of a habit.

The development of support coordination falls into this same kind, at least for me. Making esses is not exaclty the most entertainning thing in the world, after a few hundred of repetitions, its painfully boring.

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You can. Try a lot of forte exercises with 'ee' and bright 'eh' in the middle voice, then try to produce the same vowels quietly. The vowel should still be intelligible, but a bit less clear if you've worked it well. That loss of clarity is the thyroarytenoids and pharynx resetting for a larger 'load' on the arytenoids, which provide the high sharp overtones in the voice. Same with chest, produce a lot of huge, open vowels in your low and middle voice with no vibrato and you'll find you're 'grabbing' for chest when you go back down, which is actually constriction. It is very much possible to feel the muscles after they've been worked well, you just have to make sure you don't try to sing past your limit. This can be done easily by just intelligently managing your set - often times when a muscle is 'overworked' you just have to access some other part of your voice to more effectively integrate your laryngeal pharynx or support into the sound, and the ill effects are gone temporarily and you're just advancing technically.

To feel your arytenoids, strike a coup de glotte (somewhere between a grunt and a click, an immediate start to the vowel in other words) on the most faithful 'ee' vowel you can muster. That pressure you shall feel around your thyroid cartilage is the arytenoids approximating. One exercise I like is to start the tone on ee as described, then cycle through to eh ah oh and oo without losing any clarity or letting the resonance 'shift' at all. That will tire you out I promise you!

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i wish we could get that pump and ache vocal exercising like we would if we were weight training. it seems that ache makes you feel like you've accomplished something.

sometimes the lighter exercises make you feel uncertain you're accomplished something. there's no "yes, i've really worked this muscle/muscles today."

sound crazy? it's okay to say "yes."

bob

Yes.

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You can. Try a lot of forte exercises with 'ee' and bright 'eh' in the middle voice, then try to produce the same vowels quietly. The vowel should still be intelligible, but a bit less clear if you've worked it well. That loss of clarity is the thyroarytenoids and pharynx resetting for a larger 'load' on the arytenoids, which provide the high sharp overtones in the voice. Same with chest, produce a lot of huge, open vowels in your low and middle voice with no vibrato and you'll find you're 'grabbing' for chest when you go back down, which is actually constriction. It is very much possible to feel the muscles after they've been worked well, you just have to make sure you don't try to sing past your limit. This can be done easily by just intelligently managing your set - often times when a muscle is 'overworked' you just have to access some other part of your voice to more effectively integrate your laryngeal pharynx or support into the sound, and the ill effects are gone temporarily and you're just advancing technically.

To feel your arytenoids, strike a coup de glotte (somewhere between a grunt and a click, an immediate start to the vowel in other words) on the most faithful 'ee' vowel you can muster. That pressure you shall feel around your thyroid cartilage is the arytenoids approximating. One exercise I like is to start the tone on ee as described, then cycle through to eh ah oh and oo without losing any clarity or letting the resonance 'shift' at all. That will tire you out I promise you!

amen brother. Ee vowel training is really tiresome.

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I think that my biggest problem is that I grew up believing that singing should be effortless. I kept reading things that said no tension everthing should be relaxed. Relax your jaw, relax your throat, I know there has to be muscle involvement somewhere.

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thanks for all the replies folks, but i was leaning more towards when you need to do light workouts. the lighter exercises are the ones where you really don't (and probably shouldn't) feel anything.

the hard core ones, definitely..... there's indications you worked something, the lighter ones, hardly any.

for example, i would do these frisell descending slides day after day 1000's of them, they are very easy to do, wondering what will become of all these slides....lol!!!

now, at the suggestion of several people, i have begun doing some lighter exercises i have never done before and it's hard for someone like me to accept and trust these lighter movements have a payoff. it's a mental thing i have to get past.

it's like telling a bodybuilder, he can only work out with light weights.

you don't "feel" anything...see what i mean?

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There's "good hurt" and "bad hurt" - that's what a guitarist friend of mine said to me one time. He was practicing these very awkward Shawn Lane advanced single string arpeggios. His left hand hurt and it wasn't a "good hurt". After I do some of my vocal exercises up to C6 I can tell I'm fatigued in a good way - it's a "good hurt" - actually it doesn't hurt at all, just a little tired. However, if I "over do it" I can get this hurt on the left side of my larynx toward the back in the location of my Inter Arytenoids. That is a "bad hurt".

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I struggle with this a lot because I'm not a "natural singer" so to be unable to see what is going on is always frustrating, but there's some magic there too. If you're fretting a note or snatching a weight or kicking an opponent, you can see what is happening, and we humans like to see what is happening!

But there are correlations in physical training too. It's the small things like rotator cuff exercises and glute activations and grip strength and soft tissue work that keep the big boys training. I've never met a guy that says his rotator cuff muscles are aching the next day from doing external rotations, but when it comes time to bench big numbers, he knows that it would have been impossible without healthy shoulders, which was a result of the little things.

So to relate this to singing; you might not be able to "feel" the delayed onset muscle soreness in your throat (makes me cringe just thinking about it :D) but you can hopefully "hear" the effect when your singing is improved. Honestly singing takes a lot of optimism and faith. No wonder we're all such nutters :D

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I get quite tired after my vocal work out. I warm up and then spend 45 minutes doing octave sirens and bridging and connecting 2 a,b and c from Robert's programme.

After this I don't feel hoarse at all, but i do ache in my cheeks and chin, and actually find light singing very hard. However after an hours rest the muscles are relaxed again and I'm able to sing far more comfortably than I could before the workout.

I hope this is normal and healthy. I've been assuming that it's because I've only been singing a few months and I have a lot of strength and stamina to build.

Maybe someone could give me some input on this?

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Often, singing is compared to other athletic endeavors. learning to sing is not like weight lifting. Here's the secret to weightlifting and no one has to believe me. Just, please, read an article or book that is actually about weight training.

To gain muscle mass (bigger muscle cells, not more muscle cells,) you lift a heavy weight for a few repetitions, and a few sets. Ideally, no more than 10 reps, 4 sets. Anything more than that and your muscles have acclimated and now you are into conditioning. Lower weight, more reps, toning and "cut." As in finer definition of muscles. However, you can really see the cut unless you use a strict diet that professional bodybuilders only follow for a week or so before competition, then they go back to eating like normal people.

Running sprints is a matter of explosive power for short durations. A sprinter is blindingly fast but they only run a few heats.

Long distance running is conservation of energy. You pick a pace that you can breath at and maintain it for a while. Yes, there is some muscle fatigue but only at the beginning. And long distance running is a toning endeavor, not a muscle building endeavor. What happens is that your muscles acclimate to what you are doing. They do not become bigger or stronger. Just able to endure longer.

And running is technique, not muscle building.

As for muscle building, it is short duration. So, even if your elevator muscles for the larynx developed like your quads, which they don't, it would only be good for short durations.

So, where is this ache suppose to occur?

Kiran mentions aching in the cheeks and chin. Thank goodness it's not in the throat. And the ache should not go on forever. Just initially. Proper conditioning should mean that as time goes by, the cheek and chin muscles should become acclimated to the job. Ergo, singing should get easier and less "Achy" rather than more, as time goes by.

But, I can't make people stop longing for the ache and the exhaustion. Some people just happen to like that.

How do I know about weightlifting and running? Because I used to butterfly 110 lb free weights and run 2 miles. Of course, that was about 20 years ago. Decided I would rather be a singer than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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Often, singing is compared to other athletic endeavors. learning to sing is not like weight lifting. Here's the secret to weightlifting and no one has to believe me. Just, please, read an article or book that is actually about weight training.

To gain muscle mass (bigger muscle cells, not more muscle cells,) you lift a heavy weight for a few repetitions, and a few sets. Ideally, no more than 10 reps, 4 sets. Anything more than that and your muscles have acclimated and now you are into conditioning. Lower weight, more reps, toning and "cut." As in finer definition of muscles. However, you can really see the cut unless you use a strict diet that professional bodybuilders only follow for a week or so before competition, then they go back to eating like normal people.

Running sprints is a matter of explosive power for short durations. A sprinter is blindingly fast but they only run a few heats.

Long distance running is conservation of energy. You pick a pace that you can breath at and maintain it for a while. Yes, there is some muscle fatigue but only at the beginning. And long distance running is a toning endeavor, not a muscle building endeavor. What happens is that your muscles acclimate to what you are doing. They do not become bigger or stronger. Just able to endure longer.

And running is technique, not muscle building.

As for muscle building, it is short duration. So, even if your elevator muscles for the larynx developed like your quads, which they don't, it would only be good for short durations.

So, where is this ache suppose to occur?

Kiran mentions aching in the cheeks and chin. Thank goodness it's not in the throat. And the ache should not go on forever. Just initially. Proper conditioning should mean that as time goes by, the cheek and chin muscles should become acclimated to the job. Ergo, singing should get easier and less "Achy" rather than more, as time goes by.

But, I can't make people stop longing for the ache and the exhaustion. Some people just happen to like that.

How do I know about weightlifting and running? Because I used to butterfly 110 lb free weights and run 2 miles. Of course, that was about 20 years ago. Decided I would rather be a singer than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I am actually a personal trainer, Football/Track athlete, and I am in school for exercise science so I will have to challenge your thinking a little bit.

Weightlifting can be explosive/Low reps that you can do no more then 6 times to really train strength and the central nervous system to recruit more motor units or you can train for endurance/conditioning which is what singing is more like. Although you might be training for conditioning after a certain point you will reach what is called diminishing returns or you will plateau. Then when this happens you an either increase the duration or time under tension or you can increase the intensity.

When you are singing or training to sing you don't want to keep going to the point of pain, but you do want to keep going until you feel tired or you can't manage to make the same quality of sound as you could during the middle of you exercising. This is a sign that the muscles of the voice are fatigued and losing coordination. The reason why we don't feel pain in this area is because the muscles are so small that it takes a lot to feel them fatigue and the smaller the muscle the more quickly it can recover. That's why we can sing everyday, but we can't lift weights everyday or sprint everyday because of the amount of motor units that were fatigued.

I firmly believe that just because you can't sing a tenor C in full voice doesn't mean you will never be able to do it and have to settle for singing it in head voice. I also don't think just because technique is correct that this will happen automatically. I believe that the muscles have to be strong enough to resist the breath pressure required to sing in this way.

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I disagree Iz. And my point was to get away from this view that singing is like other athletic endeavors. When you get tired, you compensate. That's why, as hard as it is to hold back, I think people should NOT train in singing to the point of exhaustion, save in the abs, if they are not previously conditioned. That is the only place you should feel some exhaustion. And then it is time to quit for the day. Otherwise, you will compensate, usually in the throat.

And the reason I think it is wrong to train singing to the point of fatigue is that it becomes the habit to learn to compensate, rather than follow proper technique. And a number of singing systems that have nothing to do with physical therapy and athletic training programs often advocate the beginner train in singing for no more than 15 to 30 minutes at a time. As the nerves and coordination become conditioned, longer durations can occur. Of course, you could be write and these other singing teachers could be wrong.

I am certainly no expert.

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If you do not fatigue your self, vocal training is futile. You should be able to sing hours on end without strain on vocals chords but real singing is at least as hard as working out. If it is not you will probably rather lose your voice than achieve anything what so ever.

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I disagree Iz. And my point was to get away from this view that singing is like other athletic endeavors. When you get tired, you compensate. That's why, as hard as it is to hold back, I think people should NOT train in singing to the point of exhaustion, save in the abs, if they are not previously conditioned. That is the only place you should feel some exhaustion. And then it is time to quit for the day. Otherwise, you will compensate, usually in the throat.

And the reason I think it is wrong to train singing to the point of fatigue is that it becomes the habit to learn to compensate, rather than follow proper technique. And a number of singing systems that have nothing to do with physical therapy and athletic training programs often advocate the beginner train in singing for no more than 15 to 30 minutes at a time. As the nerves and coordination become conditioned, longer durations can occur. Of course, you could be write and these other singing teachers could be wrong.

I am certainly no expert.

I agree with this, which is why I stop my workout as soon as I feel tired. Because once my cheek and chin muscles start aching, i feel as though I have to push more air to compensate, which I think is counter productive.

The tiredness comes from the fact that having a wide open embouchure and dampening the larynx are fairly new to me, and therefore require more effort at the moment.

That being said, this tiredness I'm describing used to occur much sooner than it does today, so I seem to be making some progress

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I agree with this, which is why I stop my workout as soon as I feel tired. Because once my cheek and chin muscles start aching, i feel as though I have to push more air to compensate, which I think is counter productive.

The tiredness comes from the fact that having a wide open embouchure and dampening the larynx are fairly new to me, and therefore require more effort at the moment.

That being said, this tiredness I'm describing used to occur much sooner than it does today, so I seem to be making some progress

And that's what I am talking about. As time goes by, the muscles in the cheek or left big toe or right scalpula become acclimated to what is required. Then, they are not as exhausted. But that is conditioning or toning, not "building muscle."

Anders said we should be able to sing hours on end without straining the folds. Theoretically, true. But that "real singing" should feel like a workout.

What is "real singing"?

And, yes, I get a perverse pleasure from people thinking of me as lazy.

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I am actually a personal trainer, Football/Track athlete, and I am in school for exercise science so I will have to challenge your thinking a little bit.

Weightlifting can be explosive/Low reps that you can do no more then 6 times to really train strength and the central nervous system to recruit more motor units or you can train for endurance/conditioning which is what singing is more like. Although you might be training for conditioning after a certain point you will reach what is called diminishing returns or you will plateau. Then when this happens you an either increase the duration or time under tension or you can increase the intensity.

When you are singing or training to sing you don't want to keep going to the point of pain, but you do want to keep going until you feel tired or you can't manage to make the same quality of sound as you could during the middle of you exercising. This is a sign that the muscles of the voice are fatigued and losing coordination. The reason why we don't feel pain in this area is because the muscles are so small that it takes a lot to feel them fatigue and the smaller the muscle the more quickly it can recover. That's why we can sing everyday, but we can't lift weights everyday or sprint everyday because of the amount of motor units that were fatigued.

I firmly believe that just because you can't sing a tenor C in full voice doesn't mean you will never be able to do it and have to settle for singing it in head voice. I also don't think just because technique is correct that this will happen automatically. I believe that the muscles have to be strong enough to resist the breath pressure required to sing in this way.

Izzle - That's interesting stuff. I've always wondered about how the vocal muscles differ from the larger muscles. I can sing everyday. However, if I'm working on a new song that is rather demanding, and there are tough parts like for example very chesty "EE's" up in the D5 or E5 range - this will fatigue the Inter Arytenoids quickly. I find that if I put a day of rest inbetween singing this song, I will improve faster. If I try to sing these parts too long on a daily basis, I will get worse.

If the song is "in my voice" where I've developed the muscles sufficiently I CAN sing the song every day - no problem. It just takes a little while - maybe a week or two. For example, I have one Puccini Tenor Aria with the typical long sustained C5 at the end, where this song is "in my voice". At first the song was demanding. However, I can now sing it everyday without any fatigue whatsoever. In fact I use this song at the tail end of my daily warm up. It relaxes my voice.

I do a lot of strength training (interval training) working my bigger muscles. I always put 2 days of rest in between the same exercise - I exercise every day, but alternate the workout.

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