Reasons For Vocal Strain
Vocal strain is something we have all suffered at some point in our singing endeavors. It is that tight feeling you get in your throat when you start getting into your higher ranges. There are a number of reason that this occurs but here are some of the major reasons.
1. Blowing Too Much Air
When singing, you actually need less air to hit higher notes than you do notes in your lower range. Some of us try and push more air out in an effort to hit those notes we are straining on. Pushing too much air not only adds to vocal strain, it can also cause you to crack. All that air pressure pushes on your vocal chords and can cause them to split apart and you voice will crack. Also, pushing engages extra muscles in our throat that we do not need and can tire out your voice quickly.
2. Improper Warm Up
Not warming up before you start singing can cause you to be more tense than you would if you had warmed up. Think of an athlete. Stretching and warming up prevents injury, the same can be said for you voice. Your vocal chords are just muscle and the NEED to be warmed up before you start performing. The lip trill is a great exercise to start warming up your voice and getting some blood flowing into your vocal chords.
3. Larynx Is Too High
Often time as we approach our upper registers the larynx will tend to lift. The is especially true for many beginners. The voice is very comfortable in its speaking register but we do not really talk in our head voices at all so we are not used to what we should be feeling in our upper registers. If you feel a lot of tension as you approach your head voice, your larynx could be lifting. Your larynx houses your vocal chords, so when you larynx pulls you can bet your vocal chords are feeling it too.
4. Tongue Tension
The tongue is connected to the top of the larynx, so when it gets tight, it pulls on your larynx which then effects your vocal chords. Working out tongue tension is very important. I great way to do that is to stick your tongue out and sing the vocal melody of a song on "ah".
5. Wrong Key For Your Voice
Often times, singers will attempt to sing a song that is out of key for them. Some singers with higher voices sing songs that are too low while those with lower voices sing songs that are too high. If you are playing with a band, see about changing the key to a more comfortable range. If you sing a song that is too high for you, chances are you will push to try and hit those notes.
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