Edited by Maria, Magnus87, Doug Collins, Eng and 5 others
Questions and Answers
Home remedies to repair the sound of my voice?
What can I do to make my singing voice better?
You can do the following home practices to repair your voice:
- inhale steam
- take a hot shower
- limit your intake of caffeine
- drink less alcohol
- use a humidifier or vaporizer
- keep room out of dust
- drink 8-10 glasses of water a day
- do not smoke
- take cough drops to moisten throat
- do not speak at all
Does it hurt the vocal cords to sing with a raspy voice?
Hi, I'm 27 years old, and I'm from Norway. I'm singing in a metal band from Norway called Hollow. We have released two albums, and we recorded our third album in February - April this year. On the last album, I've sang 90% of the album with a raspy voice. It was a lot of takes, just to get the perfect take with that raspy voice. So parts were really high. I must admit that in the studio it was really cool. But now when we have been practicing those songs now in rehearsal with my band, then I tried to sing the songs, as I did then in the studio. Some parts were a little hard for me to sing live, because it was really high in the studio. So when I tried to sing those parts now, it's really difficult, and its under the tone sometimes, and it hurts to sing with that raspy voice live. So the question is, is it better then to sing with my clean voice live, and to do some changes with some of the tones, and not try to reach the highest notes? Instead go a little bit lower, on the highest parts? The producer said that I must sing with the raspy voice, and instead have some breaks in the songs, and focus on the hooks in the songs, live. The most important notes. But I would like to sing the songs all the way through, and not have breaks in the songs. I'm getting a little bit frustrated, and I don't know what to do? Hope for an positive answer, Cheers from Norway.
Hi. Congratulations on the new album and upcoming performances. As you're no doubt aware, your voice is by far the most delicate and fragile of instruments. While a guitar or bass player can just replace a string, or a drummer can screw on a new skin, your voice takes time and care to keep in top shape.
The first thing to consider is that you are likely singing louder live than you are in practices or the studio. This is often because a live performance is very loud due to the crowd, and you naturally tend to try and sing 'over' the crowd. This is bad, and can hurt your voice. You should try not to sing so loud, as even opera singers will tell you that they don't often sing at the top of their range because it can hurt their voice. Other times you may just need to have a talk with your managers and sound techs. Sometimes they mistakenly believe that singers 'sound better' when they sing louder.
Just observing these two things will help you be able to sing the songs all the way through, as you like, but make sure you listen to your voice. If your voice tells you it's being hurt, then you'll need to back off a bit. That may mean having the sound tech turn your voice up to keep you from hurting your singing voice, or it may mean switching up some songs in a set.
Here are some additional steps and tips that will help you in hitting the notes you want to, while still being able to keep your voice healthy. As a bonus, we've put in an example you can use to explain who a singer's voice works to others - because most of the time, only singers understand just how demanding singing is.
- 1Don't hurt yourself.Your voice is absolutely your best and most informed guide to what you can and can't do. If it starts to hurt, then pay attention. Either change the way you are singing, or take some of the other steps listed here, but don't keep doing the same thing that hurts your voice, or you could damage it.
- 2Drink lots of water.In fact, if you drink nothing but water, your voice will love you. Water helps to increase your hydration levels, which thins mucus. This lets you sing longer, with less stress, and allows you to sing higher notes.
- 3Get plenty of sleep.When you are tired, it shows in your singing voice. You will feel sore, and your voice will start to tighten up. Then you won't be able to hold long high notes, or meet demanding changes in tone or pitch. Also, by sleeping more, you will feel more rested, which contributes to a more enthusiastic and energetic performance.
- 4Always warm up your voice, no matter what you are doing (even singing for a birthday party).The muscles you use when singing function the same as the muscles of an Olympic weight lifter, gymnast, or ballet dancer. Every one of those athletes will always warm up - not just for the muscles, but also for the tendons and ligaments connecting everything. As mentioned earlier, your vocal cords can be compared to the physical professions listed earlier. Everyone would expect those athletes to be hurt if they did not warm up, and you're just like them, only you use your voice. Always warm your singing voice up to avoid damaging it and hurting yourself.
- 5Warm up your singing voice slowly.Start with the notes that are lower and easier to hit, only moving on to the higher notes after you've warmed up a bit. Then, carry this practice into the songs you sing for the evening as well. Just make sure to test it out in practice a few times before you try it live. For example, you might find that it is easier to sing less demanding songs first, and then finish with the more intense songs. Alternatively, you may find that it is easier for you to start with the more demanding songs, and finish the evening with less intense vocals.
- 6Drop your jaw when singing.The simple act of dropping your jaw and opening your mouth wider can make a huge difference in your ability to sing for long periods of time. It also causes less stress and strain when singing, which will enable you to perform longer while singing at a higher notes.
- 7Don't eat before you sing.Certain foods can significantly increase the amount of mucus, which will negatively impact your singing voice. It's best to eat about four hours before a performance, and then eat after the performance. This way your voice will stay strong, and your singing voice won't get unduly tired from singing through too much mucus, or thick mucus. Alternatively, if you prefer to have that mucus to get some of the 'raspy' sound you are after, you can perform an early set of songs that doesn't require the raspy voice, and then during a set break, drink something that will trigger the mucus, and return to stage having an easier time of singing raspy songs.
- 8Cool down your singing voice.Many bands like to finish the night on one of their most powerful songs, but this is often not good for the singer. It's much better to try and find a popular song to close out a show with that also lets you cool down your voice. By doing that, you'll put less strain on your voice, and be better able to perform the next day.
- 9Don't smoke, and if you must socially smoke, such as a Hookah, do so well before you plan to sing, as smoke can stress your vocal cords.General smoke, such as cigarettes or cigars is something you should absolutely avoid - even socially. If your band mates push you, compare it to the guitarist climbing in a hot tub with his guitar and amplifier, and they'll have a laugh, but understand your point.
- 10Avoid caffeine and alcohol.Both are bad for your voice. As a general rule, drink either water, mentioned earlier, or herbal teas. In the case of herbal teas, make sure they are made from herbs that will help soothe your voice and throat, such as slippery elm bark, and not mixed with caffeinated teas, like green or black tea.
- 11Practice using your talking voice to improve your singing voice.Your singing voice is just an extension of your talking voice. By making sure that you always speak in a full and rich voice, you will be strengthening your singing voice at the same time. As a plus, you'll also sound better, and appear to be more in control of any situation where you are required to speak.
- 12Point your chin down, rather than up, for high notes.Tighten your pectoral muscles as well. This one seems counter intuitive, but it works. When trying to hit a high note, singers often lean back and raise their heads to the sky - chin up. This is because they constantly see it done at shows and in music videos. While you may want to keep doing this for show in your live performances, when practicing, keep your chin down. It will help you hit higher notes better, and with less strain on your voice. This way you will be more rested for the real show, rather than tiring yourself out in practice.
- 13Make sure you aren't singing louder than you need to.One problem that many modern singers encounter is singing too loud. Often, they are singing into enough amplification that they don't need to sing at the top of their voices. Rather, they can sing a little less loudly, with more control, and for a longer period of time. Make sure your monitors are set up so that you can hear yourself, and take care that you aren't singing unnecessarily loud.
- 14Practice singing with your mouth open.To get an idea of this, say the letters 'e', 'g', and 'you'. Notice how your mouth closes quite a bit? When your mouth is closed, you need to put more effort into singing. To teach yourself how to sing with these notes open, you can put any plastic bottle cap in the front of your mouth. This will help keep you from being able to close your mouth. Then, practice singing the vowels of the alphabet, until you can sing them all without closing your mouth. Later, you can switch to more complex words and songs, eventually teaching yourself to sing most notes without closing your mouth. Just, make sure you use a big enough bottle cap that you don't accidentally swallow it.
Also, if you haven't already, it's a good idea to find a competent opera singer, and get some vocal lessons from him or her. The reason to select an opera singer is due to their ability to strengthen the voice so that it carries. A stronger voice is less likely to be hurt or strained during a performance, and the more strength you build, the greater your vocal control is going to be.
Good luck, and make sure to let us know how things go.
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Categories : Voice Lessons & Tips
Recent edits by: Dougie, vc, Inukshuk