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  1. TMV World Team

    Hoarse Voice / Raspy Voice?

    Hoarse Voice / Raspy Voice? Should you be concerned and do something about it, or should you hope that your voice would get back to normal on its own? Let's find out Perhaps one day you woke up and felt that your throat is unusually dry. You probably did not think much about it, as it had happened before. So you started clearing your throat, trying to cough it out, but this time it was much harder to bring it to the normal state. You have tried again and again and instead of better it was getting worse. Now, probably there was a time for concern. At first, you thought that maybe you caught a cold or a virus, but you overall felt allright and not sick at all, then you started to analyze your social behavior and your conduct at work, trying to remember if anybody there was sick and had a virus or a cold. Then another thought occurred your mind probably I speak too much and too loud on an everyday basis, I speak on the phone all day and then go to a loud club or to my band practice Suddenly, you realize that you are overworking your voice double/triple capacity and not knowingly, you actually abuse your vocal anatomy. Remember the vocal cords are not made from steel. They are two human threads which could handle only so many voice strums per lifetime. Just like your heart, which has only so many beats per lifetime, and therefore, if you are fit and your diet is adequate, you preserve and save your heartbeats for a longer time, assuring the health and length of your actual life span. Similarly, when you look after your vocal anatomy trying not to overload your vocal cords and your throat with excessive pressure of the sound, you will never experience the loss of voice and will never acquire the raspy or hoarse voice, for that matter. And nevertheless, you'll be completely out of danger of injuring and/or losing your voice. However, if the vocal injury already occurred, should you be doing something about it or hoping that one day, someday, your vocal anatomy will recover on its own? The answer is: Act upon it immediately! The longer you wait, the harder it will be to fix it. Don't pretend that nothing has happened, because it did. Minimum to say, you bruised your vocal anatomy and thus your voice is not functioning as per normal. Ultimately, you would need to do 2 things: Firstly, treat your whole vocal box with alternative and holistic means. That will, hopefully, tune your instrument back to its normal physical state. Secondly, learn a new application of how to use your voice speaking and singing without putting an enormous pressure on your already fragile vocal box. In a nutshell, you have to lift and restructure your voice to a different set of muscles and as far away as possible from your vocal anatomy. Those facial and abdominal muscles are very safe to use and you will get much more run out of them than your actual vocal anatomy. There are special speech and singing exercises available and they will allow you to use your voice in a fullest capacity possible, and needless to say, with no pain or strain on your vocal anatomy. So, by utilizing that wholesome vocal mechanism, you will assure the safety and proper workability of your voice for life. So don't procrastinate. Start loving YOURSELF and your VOICE!
  2. Some singers who come to me for non-surgical voice repair are not necessarily the professional singers, which means, that a lot of them have a daytime job or even their own businesses. Some of the professions require speaking on the phone all day, running meetings, doing presentations, and what not. After an 8-hour workday, the part-time singers would rush to their band rehearsal or even an outright performance. Perhaps being vocally very talented but not, per se, knowing about the proper application of their voice, they put the enormous pressure on their vocal anatomy. So let's examine that: They use their speaking voice excessively during the working day and then even more intensely during the night through the late hours. While they're speaking at work, they primarily are doing it from the sitting position with a slouched back, thus drowning their voice onto the bottom of their throats and below. They establish the low voice speaking habit. Then they go to their singing job with already very tired vocal cords and very low drawned in its position voice, which now sits deeply in their necks, chests, and shoulders. When now they try to sing they push the voice even harder trying to reach the higher notes and stay with the melody pattern. It does work for a short while, but then their anatomy starts, so to speak, to close on them. Their neck becomes tighter and tighter, their shoulders are always on the upper position, and they breath heavily through their chest and nose. Soon it becomes apparent that the more they push the less they accomplish, and on the contrary, the result is very diminished and now they are very well on their way to a muscle tension dysphonia. Their voice becoming breathy, low, and raspy, and they simply sound hoarse. From this moment on they hardly can perform their daytime work duties and let alone fulfill their singing obligations at night. Sounds like nothing short of a nightmare, but unfortunately, it is a fact. Finally, after all of the denial and hope that their condition is just a temporary glitch, it does become apparent that significa nt voice repair action is needed. It also becomes evident that there is no change without change, and something's got to give. Now, not only speaking and singing voice has to be fixed, but a new application and manner of speaking and singing would be required. If that change will not take place, the voice/vocal problem will inevitably recur again. So, love your voice and take good care of it. Remember that the vocal cords are not made from steel! You are just human! You deserve to be as vocal as you can be! View full articles
  3. Some singers who come to me for non-surgical voice repair are not necessarily the professional singers, which means, that a lot of them have a daytime job or even their own businesses. Some of the professions require speaking on the phone all day, running meetings, doing presentations, and what not. After an 8-hour workday, the part-time singers would rush to their band rehearsal or even an outright performance. Perhaps being vocally very talented but not, per se, knowing about the proper application of their voice, they put the enormous pressure on their vocal anatomy. So let's examine that: They use their speaking voice excessively during the working day and then even more intensely during the night through the late hours. While they're speaking at work, they primarily are doing it from the sitting position with a slouched back, thus drowning their voice onto the bottom of their throats and below. They establish the low voice speaking habit. Then they go to their singing job with already very tired vocal cords and very low drawned in its position voice, which now sits deeply in their necks, chests, and shoulders. When now they try to sing they push the voice even harder trying to reach the higher notes and stay with the melody pattern. It does work for a short while, but then their anatomy starts, so to speak, to close on them. Their neck becomes tighter and tighter, their shoulders are always on the upper position, and they breath heavily through their chest and nose. Soon it becomes apparent that the more they push the less they accomplish, and on the contrary, the result is very diminished and now they are very well on their way to a muscle tension dysphonia. Their voice becoming breathy, low, and raspy, and they simply sound hoarse. From this moment on they hardly can perform their daytime work duties and let alone fulfill their singing obligations at night. Sounds like nothing short of a nightmare, but unfortunately, it is a fact. Finally, after all of the denial and hope that their condition is just a temporary glitch, it does become apparent that significa nt voice repair action is needed. It also becomes evident that there is no change without change, and something's got to give. Now, not only speaking and singing voice has to be fixed, but a new application and manner of speaking and singing would be required. If that change will not take place, the voice/vocal problem will inevitably recur again. So, love your voice and take good care of it. Remember that the vocal cords are not made from steel! You are just human! You deserve to be as vocal as you can be!
  4. Let's suppose you have a car, and you know how to drive it. Does it mean that you also know how to teach driving, or how to fix the car if it's broken? The answer is - not necessarily. You could be a very good driver, but when it comes to fixing the car, you probably would need a certified/professional car mechanic who specializes in technical issues of the matter. In fact, when my child reached 16, she asked me to teach her how to drive, and pointed out that a lot of parents do exactly that. My response to her was; My dear daughter, I definitely know how to drive, but you will not pay me a million dollars to teach you how to drive. I will leave it to a professional who would make sure that you will go on the road, won't kill anybody and, yourself, come back in one piece. Similarly, when somebody claims to be a vocal coach, it should not be assumed that this person also knows how to fix the voice issue/problem, if such occurs. However, I have received quite a few obvious Voice Repair clients from various vocal coaches who were desperately trying to fix someone's voice, having no idea how to even approach it. Moreover, they used the conventional approach to voice mechanics, which is, in the first place, not very beneficial to a human's vocal anatomy. The conventional vocal coaching suggests you to drop the jaw down and stick the stomach out, which could be very detrimental to the vocal health. In that instance, the voice gets drowned very low in its position and it pressures upon the components of the vocal anatomy and thus produces the strained vocal cords and abused larynx. All of the above on its own could lead to growth on the vocal cords, (nodes, nodules, polyps), or even to a muscle tension dysphonia or spasmodic dysphonia. In my book, Vocal Science Flight to the Universe, I have a chapter which is called, How not to become a singer and work harder at doing it. That pretty much describes the 'methodics' of the conventional pedagogy, or the lack thereof. So let's analyze this: If the conventional approach to voice mechanics could actually be harmful to the human anatomy, how could it fix the already occurred vocal damage, which was caused, most likely, by that very approach or, perhaps, by the sufferer's own experimentation's? Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it? It does, as evidently, it is the fact and it is true. So, whatever you do, please separate the ingredients, so to speak. If you need to learn something, find a teaching guru. If you need to fix something, find the top mechanic and truly, it has to be a voice technician, who specializes in the field of VoiceRepair. View full articles
  5. Let's suppose you have a car, and you know how to drive it. Does it mean that you also know how to teach driving, or how to fix the car if it's broken? The answer is - not necessarily. You could be a very good driver, but when it comes to fixing the car, you probably would need a certified/professional car mechanic who specializes in technical issues of the matter. In fact, when my child reached 16, she asked me to teach her how to drive, and pointed out that a lot of parents do exactly that. My response to her was; My dear daughter, I definitely know how to drive, but you will not pay me a million dollars to teach you how to drive. I will leave it to a professional who would make sure that you will go on the road, won't kill anybody and, yourself, come back in one piece. Similarly, when somebody claims to be a vocal coach, it should not be assumed that this person also knows how to fix the voice issue/problem, if such occurs. However, I have received quite a few obvious Voice Repair clients from various vocal coaches who were desperately trying to fix someone's voice, having no idea how to even approach it. Moreover, they used the conventional approach to voice mechanics, which is, in the first place, not very beneficial to a human's vocal anatomy. The conventional vocal coaching suggests you to drop the jaw down and stick the stomach out, which could be very detrimental to the vocal health. In that instance, the voice gets drowned very low in its position and it pressures upon the components of the vocal anatomy and thus produces the strained vocal cords and abused larynx. All of the above on its own could lead to growth on the vocal cords, (nodes, nodules, polyps), or even to a muscle tension dysphonia or spasmodic dysphonia. In my book, Vocal Science Flight to the Universe, I have a chapter which is called, How not to become a singer and work harder at doing it. That pretty much describes the 'methodics' of the conventional pedagogy, or the lack thereof. So let's analyze this: If the conventional approach to voice mechanics could actually be harmful to the human anatomy, how could it fix the already occurred vocal damage, which was caused, most likely, by that very approach or, perhaps, by the sufferer's own experimentation's? Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it? It does, as evidently, it is the fact and it is true. So, whatever you do, please separate the ingredients, so to speak. If you need to learn something, find a teaching guru. If you need to fix something, find the top mechanic and truly, it has to be a voice technician, who specializes in the field of VoiceRepair.
  6. So I've been frequenting this forum for a while and there are a few questions that I had which maybe some of you veterans on here can help me understand:   A little bit about myself before I begin:   I've been singing for about a year and a half. My first teacher did the usual scales, breathing exercises, sing songs you like type formula to try and help me get better. I went to her for 10 months, but unfortunately I didn't improve at all. The only thing that got better was my range, but that didn't translate into better singing.    My second (and current) teacher has helped me leaps and bounds in terms of my progress. In only a month, I made more progress than I did with my other teacher in a year. I've been with him for almost 5 months now with good progress. The only thing is though, we don't do any scales, breathing exercises, nothing of the sort. We just sing songs. Now, I believe he does have formal education on singing and he is well-versed on the terminology, but none of that constitutes what we would call a "lesson." I've been making great results but my concern after perusing this forum is, won't my progress come to a halt sooner or later if I don't include vocal training exercises and just focus on singing? Or will I just keep "getting better?" I feel like singing is like any other sport, as you get better there is a greater amount of attention to detail as you get more proficient.    Anyways sorry for the long-winded story. My questions are:   Stylistically, I would like to have an R&B, Pop, Contemporary type of sound, but I also wouldn't want to restrict myself to just a few genres. So based off of this, would it really matter what vocal program I chose to work with? Cause I was reading Robert's earlier posts about how 4 Pillars isn't a "rock program" but training for vocal athletes and my goal is to sound similar to this:      Can this be achieved with 4 Pillars? Or is there another program which could help me out more stylistically speaking?   Second question:   I've heard that the exercises performed in most of the programs share similarities. So, with that being understood, would it matter which program I choose because the "training" is almost the same but the styles of singing people choose to approach are different?
  7. Singers Advice

    Constriction and Retraction

    Hello, I've just posted a new video on Constriction and Retraction check it out. Its one of the best tips in technique that I have ever learnt. I thought it might help some people struggling with cracking in the voice, strained higher register and for everyone who wants to sing safely and a clearer voice.
  8. About Semi-Occluded Workouts Vs. Vocal Warm ups This article is about a specific kind of vocal warm up exercises. These kinds of workouts are called semi-occluded vocal tract postures. They are popular with singing techniques and with voice therapists. Their purpose are three-fold, as I have come to know them at The Vocalist Studio: Create More Efficient Phonation And Balance They balance the sub-glottal and super-glottal air pressure (above and below) the vocal folds and thus help the singer to create more efficient phonation and balance with the increased velocity of air required for singing. Inherently, speech vocal mode is not efficient compared to phonations used in singing, so the semi-occluded vocal tract exercises increase the efficiency of the relationship between the singer's respiration and vocal folds. Seamless Passage From Lower - To Higher Vocal Registers Semi-occluded vocal tract exercises establish a resonant track. They help the singer to get into a seamless passage through the vocal bridges (breaks), thus preparing the voice for good bridging from the lower vocal registers to the higher registers, namely, (chest to head voice). Lift The Voice Into Healthy "Top Down Phonation" They lift the voice out of what we call at The Vocalist Studio, bottom-up phonation into more healthy and successful top-down phonation. It excites the resonators (mouth, nose, sinuses), gets the overtone production placed in the mask and removes throaty singing. Summary This essay first published December 11, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008.
  9. About Semi-Occluded Workouts Vs. Vocal Warm ups This article is about a specific kind of vocal warm up exercises. These kinds of workouts are called semi-occluded vocal tract postures. They are popular with singing techniques and with voice therapists. Their purpose are three-fold, as I have come to know them at The Vocalist Studio: Create More Efficient Phonation And Balance They balance the sub-glottal and super-glottal air pressure (above and below) the vocal folds and thus help the singer to create more efficient phonation and balance with the increased velocity of air required for singing. Inherently, speech vocal mode is not efficient compared to phonations used in singing, so the semi-occluded vocal tract exercises increase the efficiency of the relationship between the singer's respiration and vocal folds. Seamless Passage From Lower - To Higher Vocal Registers Semi-occluded vocal tract exercises establish a resonant track. They help the singer to get into a seamless passage through the vocal bridges (breaks), thus preparing the voice for good bridging from the lower vocal registers to the higher registers, namely, (chest to head voice). Lift The Voice Into Healthy "Top Down Phonation" They lift the voice out of what we call at The Vocalist Studio, bottom-up phonation into more healthy and successful top-down phonation. It excites the resonators (mouth, nose, sinuses), gets the overtone production placed in the mask and removes throaty singing. Summary This essay first published December 11, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008. View full articles
  10. I received a very interesting comment about over-trained singers at my page here on The Modern Vocalist.com: "What I strive for: no two voices are the same. It's that unique strong signature characteristic that separates people who can sing from people who become icons in music. Take Sting for example, not the greatest vocalist, but there's no mistaking that aged husky whimper of his. Technique is important for power and control, but I find that there are too many people sounding too trained. I believe that one should incorporate one's personality into one's sound as much as possible in order to go about creating that strong iconic signature sound that no one else can recreate. Take Chino from Deftones-that guy can't sing a note- but the Deftones wouldn't be anything without him. Same goes for Trent Reznor from Nine inch Nails. I think it's a fine balance between a trained and untrained voice that needs to be found." - Timothy Ian David Lester This is, in fact, why some people think you can know too much about music or voice. They feel that too much musical knowledge can cause a musician or singer to over-think and turn their art... artificial. Actually, sometimes they are right, but only because they are not being taught well, in my humble opinion. The first thing we vocal coaches should do is to interview our new student and find out what his or her vocal and musical goals really are. Do they need to sing classical songs to get into (or through) college with a major in voice? Do they want to sing what they are writing: R&B, country, pop, jazz, hip-hop, alternative? We must know so we don't guide them into a style that is not where their heart is. Yes, people can learn to sing both classical and popular genres, but sometimes the jump can be hard. It's like learning to speak different languages very fluently. Yes, you can do it but it takes time, careful and accurate coaching and exposure to the masters of the musical genres you want to sing to perform multiple genres well. If you want to sing in more than two or three genres (like pro session singers must), this is what I call "stunt singing". Does your student really want to be jack-of-all trades, or do they want to be a master of one? I believe we need to do exactly what Timothy is suggesting: help our clients find their uniqueness. This is what really sets the heart free, and sometimes gives a vocalist a career as a recording and performing artist. It really takes experimentation, a feeling of safety to try new ways of using the voice and feedback from someone with great intuition about how an audience would react to what they are hearing. We want an audience's immediate reaction to be: "Wow what a song, what a delivery of that song!" Not, "Wow, I wonder who this artist's vocal coach is and what method they use?" My favorite artists actually play with their voices, sometimes "de-supporting" for a weak, sensual or sad sound. But when it's time for business, they ramp up all the vocal wisdom they ever learned and deliver such controlled power that we are mesmerized with their song. They scream, use breathy or husky sounds on purpose, but -- and here's the rub -- they NEVER hurt either the listener's ear or their voice. It's like an aural (instead of an optical) illusion. And it comes from being -- you guessed it -- very well trained. A good example is the masterful performance of a great actor. If they are doing what they should, you never even detect the slightest whiff of "acting", do you? But you can bet your bottom dollar that they used top dollar acting teachers to get to the level they are at in their craft. According to her biography, Janis Joplin planned every "impromptu" scream she did. A singer who is serious should be trained by an insightful and wise vocal coach who will train them so well you don't hear "vocal training" when they sing. You hear a song that elicits from you an emotional response. Period. This essay first published August 4, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008. View full articles
  11. I received a very interesting comment about over-trained singers at my page here on The Modern Vocalist.com: "What I strive for: no two voices are the same. It's that unique strong signature characteristic that separates people who can sing from people who become icons in music. Take Sting for example, not the greatest vocalist, but there's no mistaking that aged husky whimper of his. Technique is important for power and control, but I find that there are too many people sounding too trained. I believe that one should incorporate one's personality into one's sound as much as possible in order to go about creating that strong iconic signature sound that no one else can recreate. Take Chino from Deftones-that guy can't sing a note- but the Deftones wouldn't be anything without him. Same goes for Trent Reznor from Nine inch Nails. I think it's a fine balance between a trained and untrained voice that needs to be found." - Timothy Ian David Lester This is, in fact, why some people think you can know too much about music or voice. They feel that too much musical knowledge can cause a musician or singer to over-think and turn their art... artificial. Actually, sometimes they are right, but only because they are not being taught well, in my humble opinion. The first thing we vocal coaches should do is to interview our new student and find out what his or her vocal and musical goals really are. Do they need to sing classical songs to get into (or through) college with a major in voice? Do they want to sing what they are writing: R&B, country, pop, jazz, hip-hop, alternative? We must know so we don't guide them into a style that is not where their heart is. Yes, people can learn to sing both classical and popular genres, but sometimes the jump can be hard. It's like learning to speak different languages very fluently. Yes, you can do it but it takes time, careful and accurate coaching and exposure to the masters of the musical genres you want to sing to perform multiple genres well. If you want to sing in more than two or three genres (like pro session singers must), this is what I call "stunt singing". Does your student really want to be jack-of-all trades, or do they want to be a master of one? I believe we need to do exactly what Timothy is suggesting: help our clients find their uniqueness. This is what really sets the heart free, and sometimes gives a vocalist a career as a recording and performing artist. It really takes experimentation, a feeling of safety to try new ways of using the voice and feedback from someone with great intuition about how an audience would react to what they are hearing. We want an audience's immediate reaction to be: "Wow what a song, what a delivery of that song!" Not, "Wow, I wonder who this artist's vocal coach is and what method they use?" My favorite artists actually play with their voices, sometimes "de-supporting" for a weak, sensual or sad sound. But when it's time for business, they ramp up all the vocal wisdom they ever learned and deliver such controlled power that we are mesmerized with their song. They scream, use breathy or husky sounds on purpose, but -- and here's the rub -- they NEVER hurt either the listener's ear or their voice. It's like an aural (instead of an optical) illusion. And it comes from being -- you guessed it -- very well trained. A good example is the masterful performance of a great actor. If they are doing what they should, you never even detect the slightest whiff of "acting", do you? But you can bet your bottom dollar that they used top dollar acting teachers to get to the level they are at in their craft. According to her biography, Janis Joplin planned every "impromptu" scream she did. A singer who is serious should be trained by an insightful and wise vocal coach who will train them so well you don't hear "vocal training" when they sing. You hear a song that elicits from you an emotional response. Period. This essay first published August 4, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008.