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a ton of knowledge about vocal health

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Mucho kudos, Bob, and a rep point for you for bringing in this video.

I like the part about the voice clock. It reminds me of the point system of weight watchers. I have friends that use that system. They have so many food points in a day. So, yes, they can have fried chicken, one day, but it will use up more points than a salad with light dressing, so to speak. I totally believe the voice is the same way. We have just so much time in a day we can use our voice. According to Ron Keel, Ronnie James Dio said as much in just about those same words, though he didn't have the clock analogy. And RJD sang professionally for over 40 years.

You and I use our voices all day. You, with customers in the store, me, on the phone with crews, clients, builders, my bosses, inspectors, suppliers. So, when I do practice, I try to keep it easy and remind myself that I have been speaking for good chunks of the day. And likewise, at work, when I have the chance to shut up, I do so. And I may only work on one or two songs a day. Or just parts of one. Some days, not even a song. Just some warm-up and a few exercises. For the quality of practice is more important than the quantity.

And, being on the phone all week, I'm just not that big on skype or phone calls. I'd just as soon email or text and save the voice. I think that is the part that may be missing for a lot of people is adequate rest. And that is why I find recording more tiring than live performance.

In live performance, I do a song and move on to another, which may use my voice in a different way. But in recording a song, it may be necessary to do the same part more than once. And like bicep curls in the gym, you will wear it out. That's why, in recording, I have learned to completely get away from it and record it again, some time later, anew.

The down side of live performance, especially in my practice set, is that I would run a tighter time line than just peforming for people. In performing for people, there is space in between here and there for just breathing, talking, stop to go to the bathroom, whatever. In my practice set, I would go from one song right to the next. This video helps me to understand that is not helping. It is not "building endurance." That I must space my practice set. It really helps for me to see how they explain voice production is not a matter of muscular strength and that one does not actually produce tone by how tightly one adducts. The tone is produced by the very outer layer. The rest of the fold involvement is in providing proximity.

This provides a clearer image in my mind of what to do. Again, I can't help but notice that the right symptoms of good voice production mirror the best of classical technique that I have studied. No strain in the throat, ever. Yes, there is tension, just as one has "tension" require to raise an arm or move fingers across the computer keyboard. But that there should not be strain.

That if one is feeling strain or pain, there are plenty of other causes and not just assuming it is because of how one speaks, or sings, or even a particular singing teaching method, though some are, indeed, injurious. I wonder if some people have a malady due to neurological reasons. And that perhaps, these symptoms may have arisen at the same time that some event happened in their life and it is easy to assume that one was the cause of the other. When it could have just been bad timing.

As opposed to the vocal injury I had. I knew what I did and when I did it and following the ancient doctor's advice, "Well, quit doing that."

Rock on, brother Bob.

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I finally got around to finishing the video. It's great and full of good knowledge. It is very wise to post that and I hope others will take the time to watch it too. Thank you, Videohere.

The only thing I would add to it, is specifically for us here because we are in this environment where experimentation is common, most people have a lifetime acclimation of habituated muscular and neurological function that is unique to that person. The way we use our voices, the way our muscles work, the way our brains work to send signals, are all habituated and much is not under conscious control.

My experience and my theory is that when altering those habits that worked for you so effectively over an entire lifetime of development in a significant way, there is likely a risk, by messing both with your brain's expectation of it's 'normal' muscular coordination and the normal kinds of signals it is used to processing in your body's behavior.

So, if it isn't broken, think twice before you try to fix it. And if you do want to fix it, try to get professional help, and consider carefully the source before you trust the information or the exercise in question.

Not all techniques or exercises are made equal. I think back on that 'gug' exercise that I introduced within close proximity to my voice problem. I got that exercise from a book that claimed I was supposed to zip up my vocal cords like a zipper in a way that I later learned was likely not even physiologically possible. It was saying if I zipped up my larynx like the fly in my pants, I'd be able to get more comfortable and relaxed high notes. Sounds great, right? In retrospect I tried that exercise and even visualized that happening in my body way more than I should have, especially since it didn't feel right or comfortable. Still, I kept thinking if I did it right it would work, why would these people who can clearly sing themselves mislead me into doing this if it didn't work or was dangerous? Look at me now. While I can't say for sure it 'was' involved, I can't say for sure it's not involved and I would have been much better off not trying it.

The other one that happened in close proximity that would have been very likely, was the tongue stretching exercise I mentioned before of singing with your tongue held out in your hand. I think it might have pulled or tore something. Both of these are things that a normal person, who was using habituated natural voice production, would never, ever think to try without some 'advice' from an external source.

When you mess with a lifetime of normal development and throw something completely foreign into your body's habituated neuro-muscular environment, that in itself is a risk. So like with your reflux foods, be careful what you put in your body, technique wise.

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You raise some good points, Killer. And I, too, have violated my belief in the ancient engineering principle of " if it works, don't fix it."

When I first came to this forum, a number of people were uploading examples of trying to sound like Brian Johnson from AC/DC. And the almighty "rasp" ruled. And I was told that I was not "doing enough with my voice." Others describing how they do rasp or distortion. And so I tried that on my theme song, "Highway to Hell." A song I normally sang clean. In fact, on an earlier version I sang of it, someone from another forum said it sounded like Justin Hawkins singing it. I should have stayed with that. But I tried the "false vocal folds" idea which, if I may borrow from your list of descriptions and paraphrase, is a wrong idea. And I strained my voice, without pain. More accurately, I strained the muscles that provide fine control. And gave myself partial laryngitis. Twice. I mean partial because I left myself with a cracky low end and a weak whistle up high and nothing in between. Why twice, you ask? Because, regardless of what others may think of me, I don't think I know everything. So, I tried it again. And messed myself up, again. And I recovered my voice by going back to the classical roots that I had. Stuff along the lines of Anthony Frisell, author of "The Tenor Voice."

Then, again, it's hard tell what someone means by a criticism. I posted a song, my best recording to date, liked by every one who has heard it and that is not an exaggeration and one person came in and said I needed singing lessons. I guess that was to keep me from "getting too big of an ego." Because people feel the need to to do that. Keep others in line, so to speak. Had nothing to do with any technical issues in the song.

So, when we work on our singing, we need to define for ourselves what we want. As well, we have to judge what others say of us objectively. Which is hard to do. What part of the criticism is appropos and what is related to that person's psychology? Some panned my cover of the "Immigrant Song" by Led Zep but this other person valued Michael Bolton highly and wasn't really a Led Zep fan, which made me wonder, if Led Zep is not your style of music and Plant's style of singing is not really your cup of tea, why comment at all, other than to appear knowledgable or have some influence? And yes, I am digressing, far afield. But I think it is germaine because why try a particular training system, even one that proves to be injurious, other than to pursue some elusive sound ideal that may not suit your voice at all?

Singing is mental and I know it bothers some people when I say that, but, there it is, in my outside voice, even.

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Dante, It's called holding my tongue out with a washcloth while singing what seemed like comfortable notes, while suddenly having my tongue pull against my hand hard enough while my larynx was depressed that I heard a popping sound. Then feeling 'oh shit' hopefully if I go to sleep whatever just happened won't be a big deal and will heal by tomorrow so long as I never try that again.

Pure torque. If you hold your tongue out, and 'grip it' like that, and your tongue 'tugs' hard enough, it can pull on various structures down there, many of which are connected from the hyoid into the larynx. There's a huge chain of muscles, tendons, and ligament. Nothing down there is designed to withstand force from above like that as far as I know so it's a dumb idea to give your tongue that kind of leverage.

It could have been this, it could have been something different. Things went to hell in a handbasket over the course of a month and the only two things I really introduced were the tongue pull and various SLS exercises. But I do remember the pop and then immediately trying to fall asleep asap. I can get weird popping noises in my throat still that were never there before to my knowledge. No clue if it's just coincidence.

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But that's just the thing, Dante. Killer was following a "knowledgable" person billing themselves as a singing expert advocating this draconian thing and he gave it do diligence and now that I read it, maybe he did do some damage with that exercise, rather than just having the bad timing of the onset of some genetically based malady.

I don't think any kind of tongue pulling or even tongue depressing with a doctor's tongue depressor is usefull or even healthy. It is better to work with the structure you have than to try and alter. So speaketh the greats, verily I say unto thee, the saints of "heavy rock singing," such as Rob Halford, Geoffrey Tate, Ron Keel, Bruce Dickinson, Ronnie James Dio. You know, guys who have been doing it professionally for decades. Then, agian, what do they know?

Edited to add:

Let me temper that sarcasm, just a smidge. One of my ideals is to find out what successful people do and then try to copy that. And the successful singers all say these basic same things. Hydration, rest, and do what it is that your voice can do and don't try to do what it cannot do.

So, I try to follow that ideal.

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Dante, it wasn't like I intentionally depressed my larynx and pulled my tongue at the same time, consciously. I probably had a yawn or a subconscious reflex. I had done a lot of speech level singing exercises that claimed 'never raise your larynx' was the only right way to sing so I was deeply habituated into keeping it lower.

Steven Frasier here has recommended that you just put your tongue past your teeth, and try to hold it there while singing a scale. If it draws back in, that's tongue tension. I read that, and was like 'wow that's much better than tongue yanking.' Another exercise, that Truth1ness lead me to in a book, is where you where you stick your tongue out at the tip of the teeth, and do a little fake yawn. That helped with some of my tongue tension even post injury, though it obviously didn't fix my problem. I believe all of these things are good at diagnosing and relieving it without tying your tongue to a structure that it can torque off of. It's like tying rope to your larynx one one side and a car on the other and hoping it doesn't get pulled.

Anyway, the point is, our bodies are not perfect, and all it takes is a misplaced muscle contraction, in my case my larynx wanted to depress while my tongue was wanting to retract. Maybe even a gag sensation, who knows. Two separate forces, one much, much stronger than the other (tongue is one buff mofo) wanting to do different things. Not a good idea. You guys can get there safer. And it's not like I was desperately in need of freeing tongue tension anyway. It's more likely I created 100 times more problems than I fixed. Maybe the exercise can work for people, assuming everything works flawlessly (no yawning, no reflexes, no habits, no gagging, no whatever), but it's just not worth the 1/100 times that something like this might happen when there are better alternatives.

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