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Singing Paranoia

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  • Singing Paranoia

    Hi guy's I just found this site and I'm very excited! I've been looking for something like this for a while now! I'm a relatively new singer and I have been sampling vocal teachers looking for one I clicked with, and I finally did. We've only had a few lessons now, but on my last lesson she mentioned that I use too much forward resonance for my "Ah" vowel and it sounded nasally. She went on to say that "Many modern pop artists use forward resonance and it damages their voices" which I took to mean, 'forward resonance is damaging to the voice', which really freaked me out. I agree with her, that I sounded nasally and that it sounds better with her corrections, but what I was doing before definitely didn't "hurt." I had the assumption that I would have an innate sense if something were damaging my voice, like if something was painful, or strained, or tense etc. that it was probably harmful. Now I'm wondering IF I would know.

    Is it possible to damage the voice without feeling the negative side affects, and if it is how can you tell if you are? Is forward resonance actually damaging, or did I maybe misinterpret what she was telling me?

  • #2
    Guys like Davie could tell you for sure but I will say that when it comes to technique, bad habits unchecked are defacto, damage and when it comes to voice any improper stress or constriction often does result in vocal chord issues.
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    • #3
      Hi Levington and welcome to the forum!

      It's true that there is a lot of unhealthy singing in pop music. A lot of younger voices can get away with vocal abuse and bad technique up to a certain point then issues eventually catch up somewhere down the line. Sometimes it may happen from forcing the voice to sound like something that it's not. I strongly believe in singers finding their most natural singing voice and use that as a foundation to building a unique and distinct sound. Regarding the using phrases such as "forward resonance", it not exactly a good or bad thing. It is merely a phrase used as imagery for a singer to invoke a certain response or sensation. But like any kind of imagery, the way each person interprets it can vary drastically, and that is why some teachers will discourage the use of certain words or imagery in their teachings, because it can be misused. For example, someone might interpret "forward resonance" or forward placement as forcing chest voice or yelling, trying to throw the voice into the distance. Whereas another singer might interpret it as squeezing the throat, making the voice overly nasal.

      Regarding vocal damage, if it feels uncomfortable right away then its most likely wrong. Especially if you feel a drastic drop in vocal quality, such as hoarseness. On the opposite end, it is also possible to have sound technique but feel vocally fatigue early simply because you are having an off-day. We have to remember that our bodies ARE the instrument, our bodies go through changes everyday. Regarding the possibility of unknowingly doing vocal damage, it is also possible, that's why its very important to have a good basis for vocal technique. The best way to approach vocal technique is to rely on bodily sensations to guide your voice rather than relying on internal hearing. Once you're able to invoke certain sensations within your singing then you can easily distinguish if you're doing something right or something wrong.

      I hope this helps you. If you want some opinions on your singing then you could post up a clip. But if you're not entirely comfortable posting up a clip then you can feel free to message me.

      Moderator - Vocals and Voiceovers Forum
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      • #4
        I think that it is also important to mention recovery time. To get an idea of how robust the voice can be, imagine that cold you may catch one or two times a year, accompanied by a coughing phase. Imagine what that does to the vocal cords. The stress of singing doesn't get much worse than that, yet, given time to recover, it is rarely a problem.

        In fact sporadic stress may end up being beneficial (in the same way that the body strengthens and develops stronger immunity as a result of something like measles in early childhood). What I mean is that stress is not an issue in itself, and is actually part and parcel of development. The issue is the nature of stress within the context of recovery. It is how you monitor that, that matters. Patience is of the essence.

        The most dangerous factors are persistent ones, because they are usually coupled with inadequate recovery, and a complacency about warning symptoms, which can eventually become treated as "familiar and normal". Even when damage occurs, the person has long forgotten that the normalized symptom was in fact a warning. A warning may even go away after a while, and something less obvious take its place. Early warnings can be the most useful. So, one has to be patient (allow recovery), vigilant and honest. I sometimes hear people spluttering and clearing their throat between phrases of a song, but they often find a benign excuse for it. It could be a warning, and the type that goes away. But the underlying problem persists. The opportunity to investigate and change should be taken early.

        I would say, if you are patient, vigilant and honest, don't worry. You are the best judge of what is or isn't healthy. People have different anatomies, and the rules are not hard and fast regarding placement. As davie indicated, insisting on trying to sound like somebody else may persistently stress your vocal instrument. So, again, being honest about being yourself can be critical.