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PopSoulSinger

Help: Mucus causing annoying issues

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Hey guys, I was wondering if I can get some advice from you.  I’m a male singer in my 20s, typically sing in a similar register as people like Gavin DeGraw.  I typically do 3 hour (sometimes 4) acoustic gigs with a break or two in there.

Ive always off and on had some issues with mucus and post nasal drip.  But lately, over a lot of this year, it’s been much worse.  There’s just an overload of mucus build up, sometimes I feel it more as a drip and sometimes it just feels like my nasal passages are tight.  It has made my usual 3 hour gigs MUCH more tiring....it’s like the mucus is affecting my technique.  Like there’s something blocking me when I try to bring my voice up into mixed voice and incorporate my nose for proper technique. Like there’s a wall blocking that area off or something, so I’m forced to use a not as healthy technique to hit the higher register which wears me out so much quicker.  Basically, singing in my upper register/mixing doesn’t feel nearly as easy as it has in the past.

Ive been allergy tested and have a dust mite allergy, i now take an antihistamine at night, Flonase in the morning and Mucinex as needed.  I don’t have a ton of dairy and especially try to avoid it around my gigs.  I drink a lot of water.  I also run a lot and consider myself to be in good physical shape.  Does anyone else have experience dealing with this, and if there’s any ways to deal with it?

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I have horrid allergies and asthma on top of it. The video below will help.

However, you mentioned incorporating your nose, your nasal passages being tight, using your nose for "proper technique," and having to use a "not as healthy technique" instead of your nose. What does the nose have to do with singing technique? It really shouldn't need to come into play in contemporary genres. I can hold my nose and sound exactly the same when using good, "proper," and healthy singing techniques. You likely need to work more on cry vocal mode. There are some great new lectures in The Four Pillars of Singing online course about this.

I also suggest starting to do big sirens through a cocktail straw, with very light, squeaky (absolute minimal airflow) phonations on the higher notes, while holding your nose. Doing that while holding your nose forces you to use cry vocal mode or suffer from extreme pressure buildup. Doing it right, there's very little airflow coming out of the straw, none out of your nose, and no pressure buildup at all, effectively balancing compression and breath support extremely well.

To sum up the most relevant parts:

  • Use personal steam inhaler
  • Nasal rinses
  • Salt inhaler (you can create your own)
  • Tracking (Humming and buzzing the lips)
  • Straw exercises (high notes should be crying, light, and squeaky)

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On 10/12/2018 at 2:00 PM, Draven Grey said:

I have horrid allergies and asthma on top of it. The video below will help.

However, you mentioned incorporating your nose, your nasal passages being tight, using your nose for "proper technique," and having to use a "not as healthy technique" instead of your nose. What does the nose have to do with singing technique? It really shouldn't need to come into play in contemporary genres. I can hold my nose and sound exactly the same when using good, "proper," and healthy singing techniques. You likely need to work more on cry vocal mode. There are some great new lectures in The Four Pillars of Singing online course about this.

I also suggest starting to do big sirens through a cocktail straw, with very light, squeaky (absolute minimal airflow) phonations on the higher notes, while holding your nose. Doing that while holding your nose forces you to use cry vocal mode or suffer from extreme pressure buildup. Doing it right, there's very little airflow coming out of the straw, none out of your nose, and no pressure buildup at all, effectively balancing compression and breath support extremely well.

To sum up the most relevant parts:

  • Use personal steam inhaler
  • Nasal rinses
  • Salt inhaler (you can create your own)
  • Tracking (Humming and buzzing the lips)
  • Straw exercises (high notes should be crying, light, and squeaky)

Thank you so much, I’m definitely going to try this stuff!  I also just incorporated a saline nasal spray in addition to the Flonase (ENT recommended it) so hopefully that helps.

Maybe I wasn’t using the proper words haha I do a bad job trying to explain this stuff.  I guess I mean that it feels like something is pulling when I try to sing in my middle/upper register...like its harder to channel my mixed voice the way I’ve been able to.  When I try to bring my voice up and not use only strictly chest, it’s like theres something blocking it and I’m forced to use more chest in the mix, which pulls and wears me out.  That may have not made any sense hah but I’m sure you can imagine what I’m trying to say. But I’m totally going to try those tips!

 

 

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If you don't push, does it open up to falsetto airiness?

If so, that's a compression issue. If that's the case and you didn't deal with it before, then you likely need to work on a therapeutic semi-occluded phonation like resonant tracking (nasal buzzing consonants, or "humming while buzzing the lips") or cocktail straw sirens with extremely light whimpers with minimal air on the higher pitches.

If you feel healthy, try a Quack & Release (Q&R) onset on ascending pitches, which is essentially a very slow "Neeyeh" that helps you build compression. To make Q&R more about coordination and control rather than resistance and strength, try to do it lightly while using the tongue being up and forward to make the /ee/ sound rather than in the throat like in speech. If you can't do this without push, then I suggest developing better cry vocal mode or adding the cry reflex and top-down whimper into everything you do. Cry is not a pull, but rather a slight lift feeling between your ears -- the same you feel when you cry, whether sad, happy, excited, or angry. This is a bit tricky to learn over text. It's also tricky to diagnose what's going on without walking you through various checklists and different onsets to isolate the issue.

Are you training with a teacher who knows Estill vocal modes or TVS methodology/courses?

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