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What does it mean "to grow the voice"?

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DDisNow
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I hope this question makes sense.

I often hear the term "growing the voice" "we need to grow the voice" etc, and that doing vocal exercises for the singer is like an athlete hitting the gym.

If I go to the gym and work out hard enough and consistent enough I can see with my eyes the physical changes to the body, and obviously I can feel them as well.

Now, I understand that there are muscles in the throat area involved with our singing and I know the benefit of working out the voice etc, but is there any actual growth of any muscles or physiological changes happening other than developing muscle memory and getting better control of the voice??

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Muscles grow and gets bitter. For instance tak distortion, it can be very Hard in the start and require alot of energy and support, but when youve trained it for à while you Will Find it requiring like 70% less energy and support. Thats because the muscles in the throat got stronger.

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if you keep at it, day after day, month after month, year after year you will start to sense that the voice is different sounding than when you first started...i would describe it as a flexibility and tonal change.

but, if you don't work it, really work it, you won't reveal this to yourself. the gains can be very slight and at times very sudden and it's important to understand it's going to take time, and most of all.....patience.

if you try to rush it, you're making a huge mistake.

the trickiest part of vocal training is to able to sense good strain/tension from bad strain/tension.

you cannot be afraid of this "tension." as time goes on, what used to be difficult becomes less difficult and notes that used to be out of reach are no longer.

i am so glad i stuck with it...i cannot wait to hear how things are years from now.

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Thanks guys.

I really thought "building/growing the voice" was just mental imagery for the singer as in an athlete hitting the gym.

So which are those muscles that physically gain from training the voice?

What an excellent question. There's like 2 dozen muscles in the throat involving the movements of the larynx and ancilliary structure. Most of them, I cannot remember and would have trouble pronouncing. It would be way cool to see which muscles are being strengthened and how that helps the sound production. And are any one of those muscles involved in the increase in range that singer training brings?

This is going to be a good thread, I think.

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Well, I interpret growing the voice a little differently. I don't equate this to growing the muscles although growing muscles may be involved in the process. I interpret it to mean that you can't just decide to sing and get hold of the instruction book, memorize it and you're there. It's a process and it starts out with baby steps, then you learn to walk, then run, then jump and then dance...

You grow. Your voice grows. You nurture it, you prune it, you feed it, you pamper it, water it, fertilize it. It starts small and it fills out. Not the muscles "The Voice."

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DDisNow,

You'll generally increase strength and stamina, though, muscle size may or may not grow larger (depending on individual). Tone might not be better either. Famous stories-- golfer was it Ben Crenshaw or Lee Trevino started weight training, and then lost his "championship touch". Another type, major league pitchers three decades ago were usually out of shape, for reasons of not wanting to contract muscles from weight training. Modern day--more muscular pitchers and golfers; so in general, improving muscles will frequently result in better athleticism and more athletic singing.

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Has this actually been proven by doctors that checked the size of internal throat muscles before and after many months or years of vocal trainining? Do the muscles grow and get stronger or is that just what some people THINK happens?

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Has this actually been proven by doctors that checked the size of internal throat muscles before and after many months or years of vocal trainining? Do the muscles grow and get stronger or is that just what some people THINK happens?

That's what I have been asking but no one has provided a definitive clinical study. Not that one does not exist, I just haven't seen it, yet. And the only thing I do know is that I don't know everything.

But we've had many people talk about building muscle for singing and I have asked "which muscles, in particular?" And no one has answered that, yet, that I have seen, though I may have missed some link to an excellent essay or symposium.

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Muscles that are "endurance" muscles (i.e. are composed of predominantly slow-twitch fibres) have limited capacity for growth (hypertrophy) if I am not mistaken. Although muscles in the throat must (right?) become stronger, I would suspect that they don't increase significantly in size through training. Sort of like how the muscles which control the eyelids don't get larger even though we blink all the time, because of their inherent nature.

Also, strength and size are not the same thing. Although a larger muscle is a stronger muscle since it has a greater cross-sectional area of force producing units (muscle fibres), hypertrophy is not needed for strength gains. Consider athletes who must stay in a weight class. Olympic weightlifters have tremendous strength-to-weight ratios for several reasons; not the least of which is that they typically train in low rep-ranges (1-5) which leads to neural improvements but doesn't generally cause enough microtrauma to the muscles to induce very significant hypertrophy (like a bodybuilder for example). So in a very real sense, strength can come from your brain simply "getting better" at telling your muscles what to do.

Then you have on the other end of the spectrum, endurance athletes, whose primary form of exercise is long-duration, low-intensity (from the muscles' point of view!) which also doesn't induce significant hypertrophy.

All that said, I suspect that it may be more helpful to think of the muscles growing stronger rather than larger, as that may lead to some sort of overzealous work ethic which is probably not appropriate to the voice.

Just my 2c

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All: I've heard this 'grow/build your voice' admonition for many, many years. Speaking as a teacher, here is what it means to me:

Learn how to sing louder, well.

To do that, here is what is involved:

1) Release constricting tension

2) Bring breath and laryngeal muscle action into balance

3) Sing resonant vowels

4) Add twang

5) bridge well

6) Equalize vowel enunciation throughout the range

7) use proper energy level for consonants

8) Use variations of dynamics within phrases

9) practice technique to the point of habit

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can't argue with that.

but isn't all of this essentially making things stronger? i think of "strength" in terms of an improvement.......taking something and making it better than it was.

an example: if i'm singing and i suddenly want to spike the power and note height, i am most likely generating greater air pressure in conjuction with greater vocal fold demands......my adduction and stretching vocal fold muscles and folds themselves need to withstand the increased tension. i train for additional strengh to be able to do this, do i not?

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All: I've heard this 'grow/build your voice' admonition for many, many years. Speaking as a teacher, here is what it means to me:

Learn how to sing louder, well.

To do that, here is what is involved:

1) Release constricting tension

2) Bring breath and laryngeal muscle action into balance

3) Sing resonant vowels

4) Add twang

5) bridge well

6) Equalize vowel enunciation throughout the range

7) use proper energy level for consonants

8) Use variations of dynamics within phrases

9) practice technique to the point of habit

Which sounds like, to me, coordination.

As for Mr. Bounce's comment, that describes toning, where the muscle may get more dense with constant use but not overly dense. Muscle tissue rebuilds or repairs denser with one level of repetition.

When a muscle is tasked greater than its capacity, it tears down and rebuilds bigger. That is how bodybuilders do their thing. And, with large muscles in the other areas of the body, this increase in the size of the muscle tissue is desired and there is room for it.

Where is there room in the throat or the larynx itself for muscle to build up? I certainly don't know enough anatomy to answer that, even if there is an answer.

Is strength in the voice definable as an increase in volume and apparent power, which is not actually related to building muscle in the throat, but "building" ability? For we have all done it. Reached a stage where our voice is louder, more "solid" or "stronger" than it sounded before.

And I'm not stating outright that there is no muscle development, I just don't know what it is or to what extent. For example, a tennis player doesn't necessarily develope bigger, more muscle-bound legs. But they do get sinewy, responsive legs to accomplish their tasks. Then, again, those are large muscle groups. Where as the muscles in the throat, especially those governing the actions of the larynx, are not that big to start with and there may not be much physical room for them to "grow."

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