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Hey guys, I'm new to the site.  

I am really worried about my vocal health.  I have just graduated uni after years of specialising in vocals and two months ago I began my first proper singing contract in a different country.  Because of the change in climate I got ill and ended up with laryngitis.  Unfortunately I still had to sing and do shows with laryngitis, however, I had to almost scream to get a sound out.  My voice kept getting worse and the laryngitis developed into pharyngitis and guess what... I still had to sing every night.  No voice rest for me :(  It has now been two months and although I do proper warm ups before my shows, afterwards my voice is gone because of the amount of strain I am putting on it.  I still have to shout to get the notes out and I cannot sing effortlessly like I used to.  

 

I'm getting so fed up of it.  I live with other singers and I feel unworthy to join in with their songs because my voice sounds so bad compared to what it used to be like.  The other singers in my company must think I'm talentless.  I just want my voice back.  I cannot do runs clearly; it sounds like I am sliding around the notes and my head voice is completely non existent. 

 

I know now I should see a voice therapist but finding an English speaking one may be difficult out here.  Does anyone have any advice on remedies or exercises that will help me get my voice back?  Almost importantly, do you think I have permanently damaged my voice?

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On 6/19/2017 at 7:57 AM, Ruth Alexis Jack said:

I know now I should see a voice therapist but finding an English speaking one may be difficult out here.  Does anyone have any advice on remedies or exercises that will help me get my voice back?  Almost importantly, do you think I have permanently damaged my voice?

Wow Ruth, sad and frustrating story! My message to you; remain hopeful!  If you can use Skype or Facetime, it won't matter where you live, a great teacher is available!

I am not an expert yet, I have some solid initial advice to share!

1- See an ENT (Ear Nose Throat specialist):

Ask one of the vocal coaches I list below if they can refer you to one they know, or an association that will guide you to one with experience treating singing professionals!

2- Get A Vocal Coach's Assistance:

Daniel Formica (a TMVW member!) has had extensive performance experience and I'm certain is knowledgeable about this subject. Daniel is also an awesome vocal coach!   -     http://yourvocalteacher.com/

I like the videos Mark Baxter has published on healing vocal damage.  As a vocal coach, I'm sure he would be able to help you!

 

 

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9 hours ago, The Future Vocalist said:

I'd throw in Robert Lunte into the mix as well.

Robert Lunte is awesome! He is my vocal coach! Personally, I have never discussed with Robert, or read of Robert's encounters with students who have required his help for a regimen of customized special vocal techniques, or remedies that might augment the healing of damaged "cords." 

In the 4 Pillars material, I "self prescribed" the resonate tracking, occluded phonations, buzzing, humming, vocalise to help with some damage I had, after I had learned a bit about the damage I had.  I am however, unaware how Rob would apply those to his student's vocal damage issues, especially when I would imagine there are numerous variables from singer to singer.

I would recommend that Ruth simply inquire with Robert Lunte directly, you can also send Robert a private membership message.

Some vocal coaches will specialize due to having accumulated more "damage control" students than others, and as a result, gain more experience with the process. 

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Thank you so much for all of your help guys!  I will contact Robert Lunte and watch the videos by Mark Baxter.  I plan to see an ENT specialist as soon as I am back in my home country as there are no appointments on this island until October (which is when I return home).  For the time being I will find advice on singing with and working with the damage.  I will also try the daily ginger ;) 

 

i'll update you soon!

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On ‎21‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 5:34 PM, Kevin Ashe said:

Wow Ruth, sad and frustrating story! My message to you; remain hopeful!  If you can use Skype or Facetime, it won't matter where you live, a great teacher is available!

I am not an expert yet, I have some solid initial advice to share!

1- See an ENT (Ear Nose Throat specialist):

Nope that will not work!

Took 6 weeks for me to get an appointment with one of them, then they shove a camera up your nose and tell you its all swollen up and then give you a prescription that is as much use a chocolate fireguard and dose nothing but pamper

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On ‎22‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 5:51 AM, Kevin Ashe said:

In the 4 Pillars material, I "self prescribed" the resonate tracking, occluded phonations, buzzing, humming, vocalise to help with some damage I had, after I had learned a bit about the damage I had.  I am however, unaware how Rob would apply those to his student's vocal damage issues, especially when I would imagine there are numerous variables from singer to singer.

 

nope that wont work too!

It is just a warm up exercise which is a prevension and not a cure. And even after all these warm up you can still stress your voice

As Ruth says she already dose warm ups anyway

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An ENT can help you determine if there is any physical damage holding you back. While it's true that many misdiagnose acid reflux just because you might have some redness and swelling (regardless of not having the other symptoms) and they have very little info to go on, they are still worth listening to because they are trained experts. In the least, they can tell you if there is injury, scarring, or other physical issues. 

Self-prescribing also can work well, if you're well studied in the issue and howw to work through it. 

I had a student who has almost the exact same issue you describe, Ruth. Go gentle on yourself. If you find out there is no physical damage, then it's a matter of building back up from zero. If your warm-ups are too much, then go back to the basics and gentle vocal strecthes.

Pick up a cocktail straw and do Ingo Titze's Straw Exercise (below). It was originally meant for vocal recovery, and can be a great tool for warmups, cool-downs, and even solid training. In your case, it is a great gentle stretch for the voice , and can correct a lot of issues. The important part is, not pushing when singing through the straw. Hold your nose at first and try to relax into the note. It will take time to get right, but it's incredibly good for your voice. Combine that with bridging and connecting sirens into head voice and back, and you have a solid vocal warmup and stretch that's not taxing on the voice.

Once that gets comfortable, then start doing 5-tone scales from low to high. Don't push yourself, just focus on good resonant placement and gentle stretches into higher notes. As that gets more comfortable, add in a push into the solar plxus for betetr support and maybe a little volume. Let your air pressure close your chords for you, trying to relax your throat while you sing. Crawl first, then walk, then run. It takes time, but it will happen.

 

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On 22/06/2017 at 8:03 AM, 2 cats in a dust bin said:

take a teaspoon full of ginger every day; it helped me a lot when I was sick like you

Can not remember now but the plans in gin or it may of been tonic water, are supposed to help

Do you have raw ginger or is it in liquid form? As disgusting as it is I have been eating raw ginger and garlic the past few days.  I think it has helped a bit!

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34 minutes ago, Draven Grey said:

An ENT can help you determine if there is any physical damage holding you back. While it's true that many misdiagnose acid reflux just because you might have some redness and swelling (regardless of not having the other symptoms) and they have very little info to go on, they are still worth listening to because they are trained experts. In the least, they can tell you if there is injury, scarring, or other physical issues. 

Self-prescribing also can work well, if you're well studied in the issue and howw to work through it. 

I had a student who has almost the exact same issue you describe, Ruth. Go gentle on yourself. If you find out there is no physical damage, then it's a matter of building back up from zero. If your warm-ups are too much, then go back to the basics and gentle vocal strecthes.

Pick up a cocktail straw and do Ingo Titze's Straw Exercise (below). It was originally meant for vocal recovery, and can be a great tool for warmups, cool-downs, and even solid training. In your case, it is a great gentle stretch for the voice , and can correct a lot of issues. The important part is, not pushing when singing through the straw. Hold your nose at first and try to relax into the note. It will take time to get right, but it's incredibly good for your voice. Combine that with bridging and connecting sirens into head voice and back, and you have a solid vocal warmup and stretch that's not taxing on the voice.

Once that gets comfortable, then start doing 5-tone scales from low to high. Don't push yourself, just focus on good resonant placement and gentle stretches into higher notes. As that gets more comfortable, add in a push into the solar plxus for betetr support and maybe a little volume. Let your air pressure close your chords for you, trying to relax your throat while you sing. Crawl first, then walk, then run. It takes time, but it will happen.

 

I have never heard of this straw exercise but as soon as I've done my soundcheck I will try this!  I do really want to see an ENT, it just takes so long to get an appointment.  I was scared in case I have nodules but I don't think I do now, as occasionally my voice comes back - it's just every time it comes back I push myself too hard and go back to square one.  Doesn't help that our microphones are rubbish as I'm always screaming out the notes.  Tonight I'm going to sing quietly regardless of whether I'm heard or not.  That video looks very helpful though.  I'll let you know how I get on with it.  Thank you :)

 

i looked up some more remedies for curing nodules naturally (in case I do have them but as I said, I think I'm just exhausted)... has anyone tried drinking aloe Vera gel before?  Online it says this is very good and I have been drinking aloe juice but I'm unsure how pure it is.  Apparently you can drink the gel you buy in stores but I don't 100% trust this.  Any ideas?

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17 minutes ago, Kevin Ashe said:

came across this Ruth, thought it might interest you (if you haven't already seen it) and may be another resource  

 

Thanks Kevin!

you'll be happy to know that my higher range and head voice have come back.  It's a miracle!!! I'm so happy, I've been singing near enough constantly (being super careful) to make up for the two months I've been without it.  

Thank you all so much for your help :D 

 

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On ‎25‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 4:49 PM, Ruth Alexis Jack said:

 

Do you have raw ginger or is it in liquid form? As disgusting as it is I have been eating raw ginger and garlic the past few days.  I think it has helped a bit!

I get a pot of grinded ginger in the herbs and spices section in the supermarket and put a tee spoon of that in my bear, it dose not matter how you eat it so long as it gets in your system

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