The Top 5 Causes & How to Avoid It"
you are like many singers who have experienced a dry,
gravelly voice the morning after a hard night of singing.
You may not be too concerned about this vocal roughness
if you are able to rest your voice for a few days,
but what if you have to perform again tonight? What
if tonights performance has to be the best of
your life? Now, the state of your voice becomes all
can I fix it? Is there some miracle liquid I can drink?
How much water can I drink before the show?
there are some tactics that will help ease hoarseness,
curing chronic hoarseness permanently begins long
before it even happens and it involves dealing with
the number of factors that cause it.
#1 - Poor Vocal Technique
number one cause of hoarseness and vocal fatigue is
poor vocal technique. If you find you get hoarse after
performing or rehearsing it is very likely that you
are singing with a high larynx. To make matters worse,
you are probably forcing large amounts of air through
this high larynx by shouting or singing loudly.
larynx goes up when the throat muscles or swallowing
muscles engage and yank it
up in their effort to help you reach those higher
notes. When this occurs the larynx becomes unstable
and tension sets in. Then, in your effort and determination
to hit those high notes you force a lot of air through
the larynx, increasing the volume, and essentially
muscling your way through the range of the song. This
sets you up for a prime case of hoarseness. All that
pulling and pushing and forcing of air has fatigued
your vocal cords and they have swollen. When this
happens the cords are no longer able to connect properly,
affecting the quality of your sound and seriously
hindering your vocal range.
Seek out competent vocal training. Competent training
is key, since there are
many teachers out there who can do more harm than
good. If you cant afford training, try some
practice techniques. Practice your songs quietly,
but dont hold your breath. Breathe while you
sing. You will have more control over your sound if
the vocal cords are able to adjust to the pitches
you need without the extra-added musculature. Try
singing other genres of music and songs that are not
like your own. Think of it as cross
training for your voice. A more immediate solution
would be to lower the keys of your songs so as to
avoid having to push and strain for the top notes.
If you take time to develop your instrument you can
increase your range and up the key again later.
Cause #2 - Inadequate or No Vocal Warm-up
is shocking to me how many singers come into my studio
with the complaint of chronic hoarseness and when
asked if they warm-up before performing the answer
is no! Always, always, always warm up your instrument!
How long would an athlete last if they did not warm
up their body prior to competing? Singing through
your songs ahead of time is not a sufficient warm-up.
You need to vocalize beyond the range of your songs.
Warm up your instrument before any performance, recording
or practice session. If you work with a vocal teacher
you should already have a vocal warm up recorded.
Otherwise, find a keyboard and run through some scales
using liprolls or tongue trills and words such as
mum and woof. The key to a
good warm-up is to
make sure you are breathing and not straining. Also
include a physical warm-up. Do some general stretching
to loosen up your limbs. Despite what some people
may think going on stage raw only makes
for inconsistent performances. And in any business,
not just music, consistency is what makes for a successful
#3 - Smoking, Alcohol and Coffee
alcohol and coffee all do the same thing to the body,
they dehydrate it. In order to function optimally
the vocal cords need a certain amount of lubrication.
When the body is dehydrated the vocal cords can become
irritated. More pecifically with smoking the heat
from the smoke cause the cords to swell, the cords
then become thicker, making it more difficult to hit
higher notes. I have heard horror stories of people
who have started smoking to increase their bottom
range - thicker cords produce lower sounds (because
of the swelling) but at what expense to the longevity
of your vocal career, not to mention your overall
health. Competent vocal training can also increase
your range healthfully. Even if you are a non-smoker
but sing, reside, or work in a
smoky environment your vocal health will be compromised.
I know I may not be able to convince the smokers to
quit but my general advice to all is to stay hydrated.
Drink water throughout the day. Drinking only during
a performance or recording session isnt enough;
your body needs to be hydrated long before you start
singing. If you drink coffee and alcohol try to match
drink for drink, with an equal amount of water. If
you like to drink tea for your throat, keep it as
natural as possible. I suggest licorice root steeped
in hot water and then cooled to room temperature.
Drinking liquids at either end of the extreme is not
good for the voice so keep drinks as close to room
temperature as tolerable.
Cause #4 - Excessive Throat Clearing
throat clearing can also cause hoarseness. When you
clear your throat your
cords slam together. If done excessively they will
swell and fatigue. The need to clear our throat is
usually a result of excess phlegm or mucous sitting
on the cords.
Avoid consuming phlegm-inducing foods such as dairy
products, chocolate and orange juice. Try to avoid
eating right before a erformance or practice session.
After eating, extra mucous is produced making it hard
for the vocal cords to perform optimally. However,
it takes a lot of energy to sing, so singing with
no fuel in your body can be equally detrimental. Eat
a regular meal a few hours before you have to perform
and then eat a small snack about 45 minutes before
you go on. If you need to clear your
throat, cough and swallow instead followed by a drink
#5 - Illness and Fatigue
goes without saying that if you are sick with a cold
or the flu you will not be able to sing at your optimum.
In a case of laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx)
your cords are not able to stay connected due to the
excessive swelling caused by a bacteria infection.
If you suffer from chronic sore throats or laryngitis
it is safe to say that you are physically run down.
Fatigue will take a toll on the body and prevent the
body from being able to deal with the stresses faced
throughout a day. Our bodies are exposed to bacteria
and viruses on a daily basis and if we are well rested
our body has the ability to fight it off, if however,
we are fatigued, under nourished and dehydrated the
bodys ability to fight off these invaders is
The key to vocal health is overall health. It is imperative
that you take care of yourself. Eat well, drink water,
and definitely get an adequate amount of sleep. Even
grabbing a quick nap can make a big difference in
your bodys defense system. If you find yourself
battling with a cold or flu remember to avoid singing
with a sore throat.
Singing with a sore throat is like walking on a sprained
ankle. Give yourself adequate
time to rest and recover.
is completely possible to have a vocal career free
of hoarseness but it takes time and care to eradicate
it permanently. Take the time to adjust your vocal
habits and you will be able to deliver a consistent
performance every time you sing and if you take care
of your vocal health, it will ultimately take care
with kind permission from Tammy Frederick, columnist
Musician Magazine and professional vocal instructor
who offers private lessons and voice workshops through
her studio Tammy Frederick's Voice Studio in Toronto,
Visit her website at: www.tammyfrederick.com
Origins of Mother's Day
Day is celebrated on various days in many places
around the world. Mothers often receive gifts on this
day. Mothers Day is celebrated on the 2nd Sunday of
May in the U.S. and Canada.
countries celebrate Mother's Day on various days of
the year because the day has a number of different
origins. One school of thought claims this day emerged
from a custom of mother worship in ancient Greece.
Mother worship which kept a festival to Cybele,
a great mother of gods, and mythology, the wife of
Cronus; was held around the Vernal Equinox around
Asia Minor and eventually in Rome itself from the
Ides of March (March 15 to March 18). The Romans also
had another holiday, Matronalia, that was dedicated
to Juno, though mothers were usually given gifts on
the U.S., Mother's Day was copied from England by
social activist Julia Ward Howe after the American
Civil War with a call to unite women against war.
She wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation. Today, some
organizations are working to revive Howes original
vision of a holiday that celebrates peacemaking by
mothers and others. In the UK, the day now simply
celebrates motherhood and thanking mothers.
most countries, Mother's Day is a new concept copied
from western civilization. In many African countries,
the idea of one Mother's Day has its origins in copying
the British concept, although there are many festivals
and events celebrating mothers within the many diverse
cultures on the African continent that have been there
centuries before the colonials arrival. In most of
East Asia, Mother's Day is a heavily marketed and
commercialized concept copied straight from Mother's
Day in the USA.