What has happened to my voice by Julie McCracken

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What has happened to my voice by Julie McCracken

Hi to everyone!

I am brand new to this forum & am delighted to have found somebody to talk to.

My problem is that I have been singing professionally as a solo artist for 8 years altogether. I lived in the Canary Islands for 4 years & performed around 6 nights a week & never had problems reaching any of my high songs,singing falsetto…….or anything.

Now I have been living in mainland Spain for 2 years & since I moved here I have had nothing but hardship with singing. At the moment I sing just 3 nights a week & I feel I have damaged something. I can’t sing any of the high songs I used to, can’t change my voice to falsetto, can’t sing some of the songs I used to find easy to do. I need advice desperatly. I went to the medical centre to get it checked out & I have no nodules in my throat. Now I rely on throat sprays which just numb my throat & helps me get through my gig (just about) & I know that they don’t help & are just a quick fix.

This is really getting me down & I don’t know what to do?

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much

Re: What has happened to my voice by Frith Trezevant

Hi Julie

Without hearing you, it’s impossible to say what’s gone wrong.  Even then, I am not medically trained, and although you’ve been to a medical centre, you don’t say who you saw.  There is probably a voice clinic – an ENT clinic dedicated to disorders of the voice as well as of the larynx itself – near you, and if you have noticed a change in voice quality over the period you describe, it might be worth getting a referral from your Doc to the voice clinic.  A speech and language therapist there may be able to help.

Do you smoke? Are you working in smokey atmospheres?  What about alcohol.  How much are you consuming in an average week?  Are you on any meds that could affect your voice?  How old are you?  How long are the gigs you are singing at?  Are they inside or in the open air?  Do you have a fold-back monitor to get some feedback on your singing?  Do you have asthma?  Do you wake up with a sore throat in the morning ( sometimes a sign of acid reflux)?  Are you within the normal range of weight for your height?  Are you having lessons with someone at present, even just for a ‘checkup’ now and again?

All these things may have a bearing on what you are experiencing.

I hope some of this helps.

Best wishes

Frith

Re: What has happened to my voice by Julie McCracken

Hi Frith,

Thanks for your reply.To answer your questions…….I don’t smoke & have never smoked but I work in bars in the night time & they are indoor & obviously smokey. Drink wise I probably have maybe 2 alcopops a night (while working), Not taking any medication, I’m 24 years of age, my gigs are approx 3-4 hours a night, I don’t have asthma, normal height, never have had any lessons as I have been brought up singing with my family. You see also I used to be a presenter on radio. I gave it up in April after 5 years of breakfast shows from 8-12 in the morning. So that was 5 mornings a week, while at the time doing 5 nights singing. I know everyone says your need to rest you voice by taking a month or so off, but I’m thinking how can 3 nights a week be too much?

God I wish I could sing the way I used to without getting frustrated looking at songs I used to do that I can’t anymore,

Thanks for replying to me,

Julie

Re: What has happened to my voice by Frith Trezevant

Hi Julie

OK.  Smokey environments are definitely not going to help your singing, and neither are alcopops.  The first you probably can’t change, but the second you can deal with.

Alcopops are terrible things for singers.  Not only are they a dose of dehydrating alcohol, but they are loaded with chemicals and sugar.  The added colours and preservatives etc increase the load on your body as they have to be processed out (with water from your body’s store).  What about water?  A much better option.

Two alcopops probably doesn’t make an obvious difference to your singing from your point of view, but alcohol is also a muscle relaxant, and the sugar in the drink takes it quickly into your blood stream.  You want your muscles in prime working order to sing, and they have to work hard to make sounds, particularly high sounds, so another reason to avoid alcohol when performing.

Alcohol can be a crutch to a performer who is nervous.  It’s probably better to find a healthier way to deal with nerves – I recommend NLP.

Three or four hours a night is a long time to be singing.  If you are only actually singing for about 2 hours, that’s probably OK, as long as you are not rehearsing for a couple of hours on a performance day.  Two hours’ actual singing is enough of a burden for the voice.  A main role in an opera is unlikely to consist of more than about 2 hours or so of actual singing, and the singer probably doesn’t sing every night.  If you are doing more than two hours’ singing, you may be suffering from vocal fatigue.

Using your speaking voice for 4 hours and singing for even two hours a day is too much in my opinion.  And this may be the root of the problem.  When a voice gets tired, it recovers when you rest it (say, overnight), but if it is very stressed, it will not recover to the position it was at yesterday morning, but slightly under that position.  It goes on getting more and more tired.  Five years of this kind of treatment would probably seriously tire your voice.

If you think this may be the problem, a speech and language therapist could assess you and offer you some advice on what do to.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes

Frith


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