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Requesting suggestions for a tired singer

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Karine
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Hi everyone,

I recently had to review my speaking and singing technique because of small nodes on my cords, and I am relieved and thrilled to say they are gone.

However, recently I have snagged a regular gig singing salsa in a club twice a week until 3am, and the big issue is that I am not able to get enough sleep because I always work the next day at 9:30am. The gig nights are back to back of course, fridays and saturdays. I usually bounce back by monday, but this week i was a little hoarse until wednesday... yikes!

I drink a lot and do a a fair bit of vocal exercises to keep in shape, but is there more I can do?

Thanks for your input!

tired but happy in Montreal

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Hi everyone,

I recently had to review my speaking and singing technique because of small nodes on my cords, and I am relieved and thrilled to say they are gone.

However, recently I have snagged a regular gig singing salsa in a club twice a week until 3am, and the big issue is that I am not able to get enough sleep because I always work the next day at 9:30am. The gig nights are back to back of course, fridays and saturdays. I usually bounce back by monday, but this week i was a little hoarse until wednesday... yikes!

I drink a lot and do a a fair bit of vocal exercises to keep in shape, but is there more I can do?

Karine: Yes, several things:

1) On your gig days, use your voice sparingly.... don't talk too much at work, or between sets.

2) Between sets, warm down slightly... 1 min of light voiced fricative consontants (eg, Z or V) on slides should do it. Then, be quiet for the rest of the break.

3) Before the 2nd and other sets, use the same exercise for 2 mins before resuming.

4) After you finish a gig, do the warm down, and do not speak much.

5) If your backing band can do tunes without a vocal, space those throughout a set so that you get a few minutes break now and then. Instrumental interludes in a longer piece will also have the same benefit. It will also give the audience's ears a bit of a break, adding to the contrast of the overall performance. Contrast increases audience interest and involvement.

Let us know how things go!

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Hi Karine,

From a product specialist point of view, I would suggest Entertainers Secret Throat Spray, a customer told me yesterday that her ENT told her to order it for her nodes. Many times nodes are brought about by lack of hydration. Drinking water doesn't hydrate the cords as much as many believe. When using ESTR, inhale slightly when you spray, this lifts the epiglottis allowing some of the mist to get past.

At the end of the show, Thayers Lozenges soothe the inflamed throat without numbing.

Good Luck

Scott

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Thanks Steven for the very helpful input. I am putting your suggestions into action this weekend and will surely be much better for it. I'll let you know monday how I am doing, but I really think I just needed to be reminded that I shouldn,t talk much the days of the gigs and definitely not at the gig. That will surely be crucial.... I am such a social person, not easy, but I'm willing to shut my mouth cause I need to save my voice.I tried the mini warm-ups and cool downs as well.

Thanks a million,

Karine

p.s. to Scott, I never thought there could be a spray for singers. I am not inclined towards purchasing anything because I no longer have nodes, and I have to develop my technique and just drink and drink and talk less. It,s a discipline thing.

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Scott's spray product might be very soothing for you. Also, I have to agree with Steve whole heartedly... you must be careful with your speaking. Its not your singing voice, so long as its resonant, that we are concerned about in regards to fatigue, its your speaking voice. The speaking voice will quickly fatigue your voice sometimes. In the worst cases, it is more likely that the speaking voice is the cause of most nodules, not the singing. That is to say, people speaking unhealthy, bottom up phonation, throaty = bad.

"Blabbing" and holering back stage before your gig is an absolute NO-NO-ski!

Keep up with the warm fluids, thats good.

PS:

Scott Rabb has an excellent interview on The Modern Vocalist where he talks about his business and success. Check it out!

http://www.themodernvocalist.com/page/tmv-influential-leaders-of

We will soon be doing one with Steve Fraser!!

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Everything I have read about nodules are they are do to poor technique (the technique may have went sideways after the singer got tired, the singer may not train proper technique, OR some derivative of acidic fluid refluxing). Thus, proper training is necessary to prevent nodules in the singer's future. Placing resonance in optimal areas for the given pitch (setting up with inhale, lifting soft palette, visualization of the pitch and tone prior to singing it) requires less effort while producing more beautiful (less constricted) sound. Money investing in tuition with a world class voice teacher is an investment worth making for one who loves to sing. I digress... assuming that all has nothing to do with what you need. Here are a few things I thought about:

1) neither whisper or try to speak over background noise (Raise Your Voice - Jaime Vendera...speaking of JV check out http://www.rocksource360.com/ as that is his new project, he is a cool guy and I wanted to plug for him :)

2) make sure you can hear yourself in your monitor, if you don't have proper levels in your in-ears or wedge then you are likely to over sing and strain

3) be aware of 1 and 2 when singing on the bus, van, or in the car

4) check your posture, if your head is moving forward or your slouching then you are choking yourself out / making it a lot harder to sing

5) anchor - giving your body a large muscle (ie quadriceps) to express tension in while keeping muscles above your chest free from tension (Rob will teach you to take step back - right foot if you are right handed and vice versa, and sit into the quad a little - don't lean back). Rob taught me to cradle the microphone to prevent tension creep through gripping the microphone. In previous posts I have read other voice teachers teach their students to grip the microphone tighter on higher pitches. I train with Rob and cradling the mic helps me. In one of the interviews in Pro Secrets of Heavy Rock Singing: Interviews, Tips & Techniques of Rock's Hardest Singers by Bill Martin, the singer mentions stomping just prior to singing their highest pitches / anchoring in their lower body.

6) I use Entertainers Secret and it is a great solution. I also use Clear Voice sometimes. I drink water all day; however, my perception is less effort is required to sing the same pitches after using Entertainers Secret. My best guess - your body is smart enough to protect itself and if your chords are not hydrated sufficiently then they will be less flexible. It isn't expensive and it works.

I hope there is something in there that helps. Just my two cents and you can keep the change.

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folks, i own a video store and i have to speak a lot and sometimes talk very loud to interface with my customers on a typical day. i never realized this could be an occupational impediment to my singing later on in the night.

thanks for the tip.!!!

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