liteacher replied to DisgustingVoice's topic in General DiscussionsDefinitely go see an ENT (look for a laryngologist in your area, as not all ENTs have experience with the speaking and singing voice). If you are in NYC I can give you a recommendation for one - otherwise a Google search would definitely find one for you (there are actually far less ENTs with a specialization in laryngology than you think). The doctor will be able to tell you what type of damage (if any) you have on your vocal cords? Are you male or female? If it is any consolation, males are far less prone to vocal cord nodules than females, though of course it is possible. The fact that resting has allowed you to improve a little bit sounds to me as though there might be some underlying swelling on the vocal folds that you might want to take care of - I would stop singing for at least two to three weeks while hydrating yourself and get yourself to a doctor before beginning to sing again-- this is especially important because you could be speaking with bad technique as well. Regardless, the doctor will tell you and hopefully will be able to refer you to an SLP for some voice therapy.
liteacher replied to LizaJean's topic in General DiscussionsHi! I'm new here, but I'm a student (not a certified trainer) studying with a teacher who is mainly trained in Estill (though who also has her master's in speech pathology and vocal rehabilitation). I have been studying with her for quite some time so I'd like to think I have a decent understanding of the Estill method (I understand not everyone agrees with everything the Estill method preaches, but I figured I would give my perspective). From your initial post (and this is just my interpretation of what you are writing since I can't hear any clips), you wrote "Even when I belt, there's still a decent richness to the tone, but once I get into head voice, I lose it." You say that your voice is fairly deep sounding, so my guess is that you are lowering your larynx while singing and possibly tilting your cricoid (think of an Italian mobster saying 'EYY Anthony' to feel the sensation of a cricoid tilt). The tilting of the cricoid in Estill terms allows you to keep your vocal folds thicker, helping you to produce what Estill would call the 'belt.' When you get into what you say is the head voice (Estill would most likely refer to this as a thin vocal fold body cover and possibly even stiff vocal fold body cover if your sound is breathy), your body might be habitually raising the larynx, thus losing your deep tone, while also losing the 'resonance' that you had in your thick vocal folds. The "break" that you hear is the body switching vocal fold body covers (thick fold to stiff fold or possibly thin fold depending on the sound you are producing). An Estill teacher would most likely work on teaching you to control the aryepiglottic sphincter (AES), mainly how to narrow the sphincter. When narrowing the AES, the arytenoids and aryepiglottic folds end up moving toward each other making a 'reed-within-a-reed' to work as a megaphone. The narrowing creates a formant between 2000 and 4000 Hz (sometimes known as the Singer's Fromant) which produces "cheap" resonance as it keeps the oomph of the voice with much less effort. It is what allows many Broadway and musical theatre sings to perform 8 shows a week as well as Opera singers to produce sounds with high volume, often unamplified (in classical terminology, of which I was also a student, AES twang is most often compared with squilo). It is a bright sound, so it won't necessarily be as dark as your 'belt,' but you can play around with larynx height once you get used to using the AES to darken the sound. Exercises that have helped me learn to narrow and widen the AES have been: duck quacking, 'beep beep' like the road-runner, baby sound (wah-wah), witch's cackle. Once you gain control of the AES, you can practice sirens from the lower part of your range in thick fold body cover (chest voice), and work your way up, as you get to your break, you will narrow the AES (and you'll start doing this before the break so it is not obvious), to get you through the break. Once you feel you've gotten past the break and into thin fold body cover, you can start to lay back on the narrowing of the AES. What you'll want to make sure you maintain is a feeling of open throat (Estill would say retracted false vocal folds), as singers tend to constrict the throat when learning to narrow the AES. One of the Estill triggers for retracting the false vocal folds (open throat) is to pretend you are using the muscles in your ears to unclog them on an airplane - making your ears crackle a little bit - it is a similar sensation to the retraction of the false vocal folds. Just read #1 in your post --- when you feel tension under the chin, that is almost always tongue tension - as I said earlier, I suspect you are lowering your larynx to produce some of your deep sound/tone. Lowering the larynx is not bad - it is in the recipe for the Opera sound quality - but many singers use their tongue muscle to compress the larynx down - this will cause tongue tension and give you many problems later on. Play around with your larynx (fake yawn, etc.) to learn to control it without the use of the tongue (put your finger under your chin to make sure it stays as flexible/soft as possible while lowering the larynx).