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Newbie Question 3: What will injure me?

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TimR
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As I listen to more youtube tutorials and experiment more with singing, I do want to avoid doing anything that would be injurious either short or long term.

What things are dangerous? What should a beginner be careful of?

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1. Avoid excessive breathiness

2. Exercise everything on a medium loud volume as the chest needs to be strenthened with good cord closure and brightness in the tone.

Dude you're just getting better and better at explaining stuff!! +rep

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The main technique-related causes of vocal injury:

-excessive breathiness especially on a loud tone (very quickly you will feel a tickle in your throat, and maybe an excessively strong urge to drink water because you are actually literally drying your folds out singing like this)

-excessive squeezing especially on a loud tone (you will feel like your entire throat is crunching in on itself, you may feel tension there even after you stop singing, you may feel like you are "grinding tissue")

or both (pretty sure that's possible? definitely more rare though.)

Less important but still worth noting - some common issues that lead to the above results:

-lack of bright ping/ring/twang/squillo/shimmer/buzz in the voice

-lack of breath support and breath management

-improper/locked support

-lack of efficient and balanced cord closure

-lack of resonance

-excess tension around the neck/jaw/chin/throat etc.

-misaligned posture

and this is not a complete list.

Last but not least, the main non-technique causes:

-singing or speaking dehydrated

-singing or speaking too long without rest (you have to be your own judge on this, depends on a lot of things but basically listen to your body. 10-40 minute breaks are sometimes sufficient, other times you have to call it a day.)

An excess of this stuff eventually leads to symptoms along the lines of:

-loss of a few notes off the high range of your chest voice and/or head voice

-further separation of the registers (harder than usual to blend them)

-feeling like you've blown your voice out (very obvious and intuitive sensation)

-hoarseness (loss of ability to produce a clear resonant sound, only husky or airy or rough)

-soft high notes not coming out, or coming out delayed, or cutting out mid-note

Not to be confused with typical issues of being a beginner and not being able to coordinate your voice well yet. What you are looking for is significant, almost mysterious worsening of your normal vocal condition.

If it gets to that point, chances are you screwed up, and it's time to rest your voice for about a day or so. Doesn't have to be complete rest just go gentle on it. (but don't whisper or be airy - aim for clarity, just use your voice sparingly and not at high volume or high pitch)

Serious vocal injury like nodules etc. is rare and only happens if you're very ignorant of this stuff, and are just generally doing very stupid things with your voice. If you know how to look out for the minor symptoms and are consistently resolving those correctly, that pretty much assures you'll never experience serious vocal injury.

Disclaimer: I'm not a vocal teacher or voice doctor. Just a vocal student. I do "practice what I preach" in this post but have only been managing my vocal health for a couple years and my greatest awareness of it didn't take effect until about 4 months ago

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tim r,

may i impress upon you the need to be very aware of how you speak. improper use of your speaking voice can wreak more havoc than what you do with your singing voice...i.m.h.o.

don't:

whisper

habitually talk loud, meaning near yelling, but not quite (like you would when you speak to someone at a crowded bar).

do bursts of screaming or yelling (like at sports games)

habitually speak with vocal fry (a very common habit for some)

habitually speak without any inflection in the voice, always monotone, n.g.

habitually speak lower or higher than your natural range

habitually speak in the throat - this is a common habit that has to be fixed. one way to help..stick a pencil horizontally between your teeth and get in the habit of speaking above the pencil.

when you speak better, a lot of things will get better, and you will be a lot less prone to injury, and excessive mucus.

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tim r,

may i impress upon you the need to be very aware of how you speak. improper use of your speaking voice can wreak more havoc than what you do with your singing voice...i.m.h.o.

don't:

whisper

habitually talk loud, meaning near yelling, but not quite (like you would when you speak to someone at a crowded bar).

do bursts of screaming or yelling (like at sports games)

habitually speak with vocal fry (a very common habit for some)

habitually speak without any inflection in the voice, always monotone, n.g.

habitually speak lower or higher than your natural range

habitually speak in the throat - this is a common habit that has to be fixed. one way to help..stick a pencil horizontally between your teeth and get in the habit of speaking above the pencil.

when you speak better, a lot of things will get better, and you will be a lot less prone to injury, and excessive mucus.

The pencil thing is gold man, thanks for sharing.

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