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Bad Vocal Days

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muffinhead

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Today, I tried to practice and I just couldn't phonate anything properly... my head voice tones refused to cooperate and I had an ugly gap in tone quality from A4 beyond. A couple days ago, I was able to sing a pretty good rendition of Black Hole Sun, but when I tried today, it failed miserably. Is there anything I can do on these kinds of days that is productive and helpful toward improvent? 

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2 hours ago, muffinhead said:

Today, I tried to practice and I just couldn't phonate anything properly... my head voice tones refused to cooperate and I had an ugly gap in tone quality from A4 beyond. A couple days ago, I was able to sing a pretty good rendition of Black Hole Sun, but when I tried today, it failed miserably. Is there anything I can do on these kinds of days that is productive and helpful toward improvent? 

 

Before throwing in the towel, warm up for 20 minutes or more, your voice can miraculous turn around. Sounds like the falsetto muscles are sleeping, and thus your tone is disappearing leaving you with nothing but the sound of air above A4. This may especially be a problem if you haven't vocalized at all during the day... or sing at an unusual time etc. Do not force the sound, everything relaxed, one note at a time... But sure enough we know what a bad hair day is.

 

Very doubtful that you have blown your voice... it takes considerable effort to do that.

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Most times, I sing freely and easily. Now and then, rarely, I have a day where nothing sounds good and I am missing stuff. So, those days, I just rest and let the radio take care of the rest. Next day, everything is fine.

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Take a few days of vocal rest (if you can avoid talking, do that too). I find that inhaling steam for 10-20 minutes to be very beneficial for vocal health too. You should be fine, but if this continues see an ENT asap - better to be safe than sorry! 

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14 hours ago, VideoHere said:

How can we give you good advice if we can't even hear you?  All we have to go on is your explanation.

 

 

A valid point; I'll post something in my progress thread thr next time I run into difficulty. As for the "bad vocal day," I think that my muscle memory isn't developed enough yet to be able to achieve consistent results, hence the ability to phonate and sing well on one day, then competely fail the next. 

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Not always.  Other factors can trip you up...simple, often overlooked factors like hydration level, sleep, allergies, reflux, unreleased tension, swelling of the vocal folds, (not apparant to you) your recuperation level, even mood.

Singing with vocal consistency is a skillset in and of itself.

 

 

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I have the same problem a lot. I avoid it by paying attention to the things I eat, how I use my voice that day, and mood. Don't eat anything too cold before you sing, it tenses up the vocal cords. Dairy is also a big no-no. If you have, perhaps, been to a concert and have been cheering, don't expect to be able to sing amazing the next day.

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Actually, I was reading some myth-busting stuff. Milk, of itself, is not bad and does not create more phlegm or mucus in a person. It will, however, cause problems in a person who is lactose-intolerant or has allergies.

For example, I used to drink whole milk. And even 2% milk. And I would get heartburn. When I switched to fat-free milk, that went away, leading me to think my body was having a problem with the fat in milk. Now, I could drink milk and sing and it would not be a problem.

However, I drink more Diet Coke and coffee than I do milk, so I will be a well-preserved and amp-up corpse. When I die, it will be hard to tell, as I will still be bouncing off the walls.

:24:

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35 minutes ago, ronws said:

Actually, I was reading some myth-busting stuff. Milk, of itself, is not bad and does not create more phlegm or mucus in a person. It will, however, cause problems in a person who is lactose-intolerant or has allergies.

For example, I used to drink whole milk. And even 2% milk. And I would get heartburn. When I switched to fat-free milk, that went away, leading me to think my body was having a problem with the fat in milk. Now, I could drink milk and sing and it would not be a problem.

However, I drink more Diet Coke and coffee than I do milk, so I will be a well-preserved and amp-up corpse. When I die, it will be hard to tell, as I will still be bouncing off the walls.

:24:

Oh eek I'd dump the Diet Coke. That stuff is worse then the real stuff!

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5 hours ago, The Future Vocalist said:

Oh eek I'd dump the Diet Coke. That stuff is worse then the real stuff!

Reminds me of a preview of the new show, "The Ranch," with Sam Elliot. He goes to a doctor and she tells him to cut out the read meat. He replies that is not going to happen. She says to cut back on or cut out his drinking. He replies, oh really? She asks, what do you do for stress?

He replies, I eat steak and drink whiskey.

Honestly, I have a friend who drinks Mountain Dew (I am not talking about fellow member MDEW) and she is in her 60's and still doing fine. I mean, seriously. No coffee. Not a big fan of just water. But she always have a travel mug with her sugary soft drink. And she smokes Marb lights. It's probably what is holding her together.

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Did you folks hear the news this morning that drinking very hot coffee can scar the esophagus which can lead to cancer of the esophagus?  We cannot feel the temperature of what slides down the esophagus.  They think now the real hot liquid as it slides down can be burning it. 

Fun, Fun, Fun.

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Yeah, still not going to stop me from drinking coffee. 4 am and me do not agree. I get up by shear force of will, plus I put the alarm clock across the room and I have to literally get out of bed and walk a few steps to turn it off. Then coffee keeps me from falling back asleep at 80 mph on the way to work.

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On 6/11/2016 at 3:33 PM, muffinhead said:

Today, I tried to practice and I just couldn't phonate anything properly... my head voice tones refused to cooperate and I had an ugly gap in tone quality from A4 beyond. A couple days ago, I was able to sing a pretty good rendition of Black Hole Sun, but when I tried today, it failed miserably. Is there anything I can do on these kinds of days that is productive and helpful toward improvent? 

Unless it's really horribly bad, I wouldn't fret too much about it. Just don't push your voice.

People who weight lift don't lift heavy every day, and neither should singers. Sometimes you need rest days after working on challenging stuff.

Pro singers can get into trouble that way from having so many concerts in a row if their songs are at the edge of their strength level.

I used to get really annoyed by the up and downs, but now I realize it's just part of the process of getting stronger.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Best thing you can do is rest. However, I find the Ingo Titze straw exercise to really help relax my chords when they are like this. Also, STEAM is a life saver! Just boil some water in a pot, cover a towel over your head and inhale for about 10-15 minutes (don't burn yourself though).

If your voice is giving out like this, it is probably a sign it is being overused/dry. However, if this happens regularly then please see an ENT just to be on the safe side.

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2 minutes ago, YouCanSingAnything said:

Speaking of Ingo he also does say that it takes 2 days for your vocal cords to fully recover from trauma. Trauma being heavy use of the voice.

When I have days like this it's just not worth practicing or forcing it. Many times I've regretted being impatient with myself.

Yeah definitely. Probably should have added in my previous post, in regards to exercises, that if it hurts during this period STOP and just rest. Do it when it feels right, otherwise, rest rest rest! 

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