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My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!

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GUEST,Alex637959 05 Sep 08 - 06:04 AM
Liz the Squeak 05 Sep 08 - 06:28 AM
The Sandman 05 Sep 08 - 06:43 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 05 Sep 08 - 06:56 AM
Peace 05 Sep 08 - 07:04 AM
GUEST,Alex637959 05 Sep 08 - 08:20 AM
kendall 05 Sep 08 - 08:41 AM
SINSULL 05 Sep 08 - 08:42 AM
nutty 05 Sep 08 - 09:00 AM
Maryrrf 05 Sep 08 - 09:35 AM
GUEST,JHW in the library 05 Sep 08 - 09:54 AM
CET 05 Sep 08 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 05 Sep 08 - 11:44 AM
SINSULL 05 Sep 08 - 11:53 AM
Alice 05 Sep 08 - 11:58 AM
Don Firth 05 Sep 08 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,crazy little woman 05 Sep 08 - 12:52 PM
Peace 05 Sep 08 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,Alex637959 05 Sep 08 - 05:00 PM
Willa 05 Sep 08 - 05:17 PM
Peace 05 Sep 08 - 05:22 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 05 Sep 08 - 06:21 PM
Peace 05 Sep 08 - 06:31 PM
Bobert 05 Sep 08 - 07:34 PM
GUEST,crazy little woman 05 Sep 08 - 11:50 PM
Ron Davies 05 Sep 08 - 11:57 PM
Ken Schatz 06 Sep 08 - 12:45 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 06 Sep 08 - 07:06 AM
Jeri 06 Sep 08 - 09:11 AM
Alice 06 Sep 08 - 12:57 PM
oggie 06 Sep 08 - 04:37 PM
GUEST 06 Sep 08 - 06:24 PM
GUEST,crazy little woman 06 Sep 08 - 10:43 PM
GUEST,Alex637959 07 Sep 08 - 05:42 PM
Peace 07 Sep 08 - 06:03 PM
Alex637959 07 Sep 08 - 07:23 PM
Don Firth 07 Sep 08 - 07:25 PM
Alice 07 Sep 08 - 07:29 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 07 Sep 08 - 09:07 PM
Alex637959 09 Sep 08 - 02:25 AM
Peace 09 Sep 08 - 02:46 AM
GUEST,Don Firth (my computer's in the shop) 09 Sep 08 - 12:04 PM
vectis 09 Sep 08 - 01:31 PM
Ken Schatz 09 Sep 08 - 06:10 PM
Acme 10 Sep 08 - 12:26 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Sep 08 - 03:30 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 10 Sep 08 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,crazy little woman 10 Sep 08 - 11:12 AM
Acme 05 Oct 08 - 12:28 PM
the lemonade lady 05 Oct 08 - 12:56 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 05 Oct 08 - 12:59 PM
the lemonade lady 05 Oct 08 - 07:52 PM
BB 06 Oct 08 - 01:43 PM
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M.Ted 07 Oct 08 - 02:23 PM
the lemonade lady 08 Oct 08 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,donna fletcher 17 Mar 09 - 10:37 PM
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Subject: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: GUEST,Alex637959
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 06:04 AM

Hi there!
I don't know if anyone can help me but I am desperate! I am a 20 year old guy and work full time at a private performing arts school. One of the main things we concentrate on is musical theatre, so there is a lot of loud singing involved.

I've tried resting, drinking, vocal spray, - i visited my local doctor and they told me to rest my voice, but it is SERIOUSLY damaged! I used to have a really rich full bodied voice, but now it is scratchy most of the time! When I wake up on a morning, my voice is sometimes deep and resonant, but after about half an hour using my voice (singing - even just talking!) it goes back to sounding VERY scratchy and monotonous to listen to.

Accompanying this, I also have a constant tickly cough! As I work in a performing arts school, I know that coughing just makes the voice worse, so I do it as correctly and gently as I can, most of the time trying to swallowe not cough.

The fact is, due to the nature of my job, I don't have an option to rest it as I work 6 days a week! I am only 20 and my voice is AWFUL! My colleagues use their voice as much as me, but they never seem to loose their voice.

I physically can't sing low notes, without it sounding like something to the effect of a scratchy yawn. My voice truly is in a big mess!

HELP ME PLEASE! ANYBODY! I AM BEGGING YOU!

Thanks
Alex x


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 06:28 AM

Go to an ear, nose and throat specialist... rest and lubricate as much as you can.

Warm up slowly - your description sounds like you've just been launching into stuff without warming up. The voice is like a muscle. Work it too hard too quickly and you'll "pull" it, making it sound scratchy and tickly. Start with some sub voce excercises first thing, something you can do on the bus without being stared at... and work up gently to proper excercises. If you are a stage singer you will have been shown these. If you haven't, then you have an appalling teacher or voice coach.

Get professional help.

LTS


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 06:43 AM

try looking at your diet cut out all dairy products,and alcohol,gargle with salt water,get a tincture called glechoma[ground ivy]it helps to dry sinuses,it is possible you have catarrh draining from your sinuses to your lungs.
try herbal expectorants to clear mucus from your throat and chest,you need to find out what is causing you to cough,you should try a qualified herbal doctor,or a doctor or a homeopathic doctor


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 06:56 AM

You really must consult an expert. It sounds as though you have strained your vocal cords from over-use and perhaps (?) also from singing wrongly (forcing volume and register etc.). Musical theatre unfortunately can be a notorious voice-damager because it encourages a "belting" style. Very dramatic and effective, but it wears out the vocal cords, fast. One problem is that they develop nodes, which are like calluses. These are very hard to get rid of and can require surgery.

Really, as your doctors have already said, resting it is the only answer. If you have a tickly cough you are probably causing further harm by constant throat-clearing. I know it's a horrible choice, but I really think you will have to decide between your job and your voice. You also have to get a professional - a doctor who is also a voice specialist, not just a GP - to tell you whether the damage is permanent or not, because after enough abuse, it can be.

I really wish I could write pleasanter advice but this is the truth. There are a number of other helpful threads on Mudcat about voice problems. If you click on the link below you can read a similar one, and then look at the links in blue at the head of the page, which will bring up other related threads:

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=88583

The very best of luck to you - do please get medical help, and come back and let us know how you get on.

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Peace
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 07:04 AM

Alex, have you ever seen a voice teacher? That is, did you ever receive instruction in HOW to vocalize, use your diaphram (sp?), use your breathing?

Bruce


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: GUEST,Alex637959
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 08:20 AM

Well Ive had vocal training in profeesional singing so my technique now is good, but i did used to have a terrible technique - thats when the scratchyness started, but now even though my yechnique is good and i am breathing correctly, it seems to be getting worse.....

it really could just be overuse i suppose....


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: kendall
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 08:41 AM

Where do you live?


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: SINSULL
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 08:42 AM

" i visited my local doctor and they told me to rest my voice"

Are you hoping we will tell you something different? Rest your voice or risk losing it for life. Get to a voice coach for professional advice.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: nutty
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 09:00 AM

the voice is very sensitive to allergies and could be affected by some substance you are using or being close to every day. It could be a simple cleaning material or aftershave or any artificial perfume.

You could have allergy tests or just ask the doctor to prescribe an inhaler and see if that improves the situation.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Maryrrf
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 09:35 AM

Allergies was the first thing I thought of. Definitely an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist is called for.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: GUEST,JHW in the library
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 09:54 AM

Its like this. 'Doctor, every time I do a pole vault I hurt my back, have you any tablets for it?'   
I'd sung since a toddler but a few years ago got pain in my chin, neck and collarbone. I mentioned this to the ENT specialist (who I was seeing about going deaf) and knowing me to be a singer he immediately presented me with a list of local (Darlington) singing teachers. I had to make the expensive decision whether to go to one OR STOP SINGING. Lots of friends said I couldn't stop could I so there I am.
It's a long long process that has cost me way way more than I make from my few bookings. But I can see the progress, yes the pains have gone but I'm quite hooked on it now I can see how things are building and we come back to things I could not have done and now can.
My teacher analysing what I sing and instructing me what do do is fundamental. A book or online course wouldn't work. You need that expertise.
Good Luck - let me know if any more story might help convince you!
John


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: CET
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 11:44 AM

Sinsull's right. Get the right medical and vocal specialists and follow their advice. Mudcat won't give you the magic spell that will let you get away with not resting your voice. You might consider consulting an Alexander Technique teacher. They are used to helping accomplished musicians of all sorts who have been doing something wrong with their bodies over the years, and find that they can't perform like they used to.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 11:44 AM

This puzzles me:
"I ... work full time at a private performing arts school. One of the main things we concentrate on is musical theatre..."
And there are no professionals available among your colleagues to consult? Or are you keeping the problem hush hush out of concern for your job?

It would seem to me that if this school is worth the name, they should be well aware of the vagaries and hazards of a career built upon the voice, and should be both teaching and exemplifying care of the instrument! If they are so short-sighted that they can't put you on a recovery/training regimen (professional sports teams realize that their athletes are investments and treat them accordingly, at least the worthwhile organizations do), then perhaps you should be looking for another position.

At 20 years old your whole career is at stake. Don't risk it for the sake of a few weeks' paychecks. Get professional treatment and if the doctor/trainer orders rest, REST! There will be other employment opportunities, but only one voice.

-Glenn


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: SINSULL
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 11:53 AM

I wondered at that too Glenn. Hasn't anyone at the school noticed your problem? very strange, if not.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Alice
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 11:58 AM

Alex, get to an otolaryngology voice expert.
Sounds like you know now what your technique should be, but often musical theater singers BELT too much!
You could have already caused nodes or scars on the vocal folds.
Bel canto technique gets volume by floating the sound on well sustained volumes of air, rather than pushing against the vocal folds. That pushing to get volume sounds like it may be the problem. Stop speaking, write to communicate, get to an expert doctor and don't sacrifice your whole life long use of voice just for using it short term now.

PM me if you'd like.

Alice


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 12:40 PM

There is good advice above. Heed it!

Now, I speak with the voice of experience:

1. Get to a specialist, not just a GP. See a laryngologist. Then, do what he/she says.

2. The laryngologist will undoubtedly tell you to rest your voice. This may mean don't sing, don't talk, don't even whisper. Now, fasten your seat belt:   you may have to remain silent for as long as six weeks.

3. Then (still, always pending what the laryngologist says), before you start talking or singing again, get to a voice teacher (the laryngologist may be able to recommend one) to slowly and carefully rebuild your voice.

This is serious! Don't mess around with it. I know. I've been there.

Despite the fact that I had some very good voice training early on from an excellent teacher, I got careless, overused my voice (singing every night, including singing over a bad cold—DUMB!) and wound up where you seem to be. So—I went back to my voice teacher and she shipped me off to a laryngologist. He sprayed my throat with something, and told me that I had acute laryngitis. I would have to stay completely silent for four to six weeks until the inflammation went away. I went back to him every week so he could examine my vocal folds with a laryngoscope, and it was six weeks before he turned me loose. But he told me not to talk yet, but to go back to my voice teacher right away and have her rebuild my voice.

That was no fun at all, because I had to cancel singing engagements I had lined up and guitar lessons I was teaching. My income! But it was either that or jeopardize my singing career.

I followed that program to the letter and I got my voice back, better than ever. I'm now in my mid-seventies, and my singing voice is as good as it ever was. And that's because I learned—the hard way—to remember to use good vocal technique as I was originally taught, and not do anything dumb and abuse my voice.

I repeat: THIS IS SERIOUS! Do whatever it takes to get it fixed now! Forget everything else and DO it!

And GOOD LUCK!!!

Don Firth

P. S. Keep in touch. Let us know how it's going.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 12:52 PM

Hope you're still in touch, Alex.

Consider this. I'm from Kansas City. We had a run of 'Wicked' here lately, and during this run, 'Wicked' grossed its one-billionth dollar. Yes, $1,000,000,000 - American.

Imagine the kind of technology that a show like that can afford. Imagine the incentive there is to protect the voices of its performers.

But here you are, at a private school, no doubt expected to reproduce a show like that without the technology and without the one billion dollars. It's insane.

There's hope, I think. The people who are applying the pressure have no idea how unrealistic they are and have no idea of the damage they are doing to you and your students. I think they can be made to listen to reason.

As for voice advice, I agree with those who say see a specialist, etc.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Peace
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 01:57 PM

The man who 'saved' what I have for a voice was named Julio Barocol (sp?) many decades ago in NYC. Three visits to him and I did the things he said to do. You NEED/MUST see a voice specialist. It may be a combination of two things--allergy/improper technique. However, after the allergy has been ruled out or treated then you still come back to seeing a laryngologist. People have given you excellent advice imo, and it would be foolish to ignore that advice. Also, become a member at Mudcat even if only to speak with Kendall by Personal Message. Likely the best North American story teller (with no offense to Utah), outrageously witty, ugly as a sack of hammers and the best timing in the singing business. And he has lost his voice (after doing everything possible to keep it). If anyone could hammer home why y'oughta take care of your throat, he could.

Please note that everyone--and there are more than a few centuries of experienced people writing on this thread--has given the same advice. Please don't ignore them, Alex.

One last thing: I understand the panic you are in. I was in a similar boat a few months ago: vocal strain, voice cracking at the high end and breaking in unlikely spots. I was able to go back to fundamentals and those lessons from Julio in NYC. I'm telling you this because I know the panic you are likely experiencing. See the docs and see the voice coach.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: GUEST,Alex637959
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 05:00 PM

Thanks you've all been a great help. When I metioned that the doctor told me to rest my voice, he didn't look at my throat, or even seem as though he was really listening to me, as that particular visit to the doctor was about a more serious health issue and i just happened to mention my voice.

As to above about my colleagues - i have a scratchy voice most of the time, so iassume that they think thats just how my voice sounds. You hit the nail on the head with why i havent told anyone there - I dont want to risk my job!

I've booked another appointment with my GP and i'm gonna be a bit pushier to get something done! Thankyou very much, all of you who have commented - your help is greatly recieved!

Alex


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Willa
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 05:17 PM

Alex, I repeat what others above have said. Please follow their advice and take this seriously.

Perhaps you've not even told your doctor what your job is. Make it clear to him/her as you have done to us that this is a major worry for you and ask to be referred to a specialist.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Peace
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 05:22 PM

Good for you, Alex. Please let us know how this plays out, OK?

BM


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 06:21 PM

Alex, if it's a choice between risking your job and risking your voice - please risk the job! If you keep on as you're going now, you will (not might: will) destroy your voice permanently, and then - after having given them your all - they will no longer have need of you. Then what? Where can you go? The other bookers out there won't hire you either, because you will simply be unable to do the required singing. How long can this situation go on anyway?

I have seen kids - and I mean children - with vocal wobbles you could drive a truck through, caused by belting and pushing their lower registers up too high, so that they can sound exciting and dramatic (which that tense edge does - but think what that tension is doing to your body). This may not apply to your employers, but I've never been convinced how much some of these performing-arts schools care about the physical well-being of their students as long as they get Results Now. So many young voices just get used up before they've even had a chance to reach maturity, but hey - plenty more where they came from.

If I sound cynical it's because - as a rehearsal accompanist who has played for many shows over the years - I've seen this happen time and again. Don't break yourself on that rock, please. You may be destroying all your future artistic chances. Do something to save your situation while you still can. Please.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Peace
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 06:31 PM

Beautifully said, Bonnie.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Bobert
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 07:34 PM

Back about 5 years ago there was a lady who did a workshop for singers on exercizes for the voice so that it doesn't get blown out... Alot of the exercized sounded like monks chanting but she swore that it works...

I donno if you can find her but it was at Blues Week at Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia and I think it was 2003 or 2004... Theis lady worked with lots of folks who had to sing alot so see if you can track her down...

B~


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 11:50 PM

Hello, Bonnie. Thanks for posting. It's good to hear the point of view of somebody who works in the business. Also to hear from someone who has a sincere and kindly interest in the students.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Ron Davies
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 11:57 PM

I find that when I sing a lot and don't get much sleep, my voice really suffers. Hope you're getting enough sleep. Sounds obvious, I know--but you really need to take care of the whole instrument--which in this case is your body.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Ken Schatz
Date: 06 Sep 08 - 12:45 AM

Alex,

Bonnie, Bruce, Don, and others are absolutely right - you MUST see a medical voice specialist RIGHT AWAY. You mention going back to your GP - ok, but not good enough! From your description, you are in serious danger of permanent damage, and YOU MUST SEE A LARYNGOLOGIST NOW.

For those looking to be scared straight about good vocal technique and the importance of prompt medical attention to these symptoms, I recommend video of vocal fold nodules.

It IS possible to belt safely. It's just that many people don't, because they don't really know how - there are lots of teachers and coaches out there who are doing more harm than good.

Best of luck,
Ken


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 06 Sep 08 - 07:06 AM

It is certainly possible to belt safely - but how many of them do? You can avoid harm - if you're sensible about it and don't overdo things. But how many roles even allow that these days? I've worried for a long time that musicals themselves are becoming unrealistically demanding vocally, with huge ranges to be traversed, at full volume. Two excellent shows come to mind (both mega-hits), Les Misrables and Miss Saigon. How long can anyone sing those parts before wearing out? One line alone (Ellen's "Chris, what's haunting youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu" in Miss S, sung in the chest register) performed daily and twice on Wednesdays & Saturdays would do enough damage on its own, and the show is full of them.

I used to fight regular battles with my girls, trying to get them to sing it in head-register (no, I wanna be dramatic) until - where I could - I finally refused to play that duet. I also spent more hours of my life than I can remember transposing scores down and re-modulating key changes. But that was a theatre academy. The big bad Real World doesn't work like that. And when you're playing rehearsal piano or harp in the orch pit in the professional shows, you have no power over what happens onstage. All you can do is play, sigh, and collect your paycheque.

Just catch a listen to Good Morning Baltimore from the musical Hairspray. And don't get me wrong: I'm not being snobby. I think this is a great show number. It's upbeat, catchy, and carries you along on a tide of enthusiastic good-time spirit that is huge fun to listen to. But I wouldn't give you tuppence for what her voice is going to sound like in a year's time, especially if she (or someone) has to perform this 8 times a week.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TodPbIXnKw

When I hear that abrasive opening uh-uh-OH it just makes my throat ache; ditto the lyric "start" which begins high, is held for several bars and then modulates UP. No voice can go there too often and survive unscathed. Even operatically-trained performers with strong technique can come a cropper if they take on roles which demand this sort of singing. Listen to Joan Diener at the beginning of Man Of La Mancha. Then listen to her at the end of it - and I'm only talking about the cast recording. I heard on the grapevine (or read somewhere?) that she ruined her voice playing Dulcinea, and she seems never to have done anything with great success after that show (though I only have the fallible Wiki word on that).

Interesting take in one of the obits: On the popular original cast album, Ms. Diener sings in chest and head voices, and the two qualities suggested an inner struggle — a fight for the soul of the woman. She was of both heaven and earth.
The song "Aldonza" remains a frank, blistering tirade of self-recognition and self-abnegation in which angry, broken Aldonza refutes any elevated labels other than "kitchen slut" and "whore." Ms. Diener spat out that she was "spawned in a ditch" and "born on a dung heap — to die on a dung heap."


Those lines were not written to be sung moderately, and she was riveting - but at what cost?


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Sep 08 - 09:11 AM

Bruce, thank you for saying such nice things about Kendall.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Alice
Date: 06 Sep 08 - 12:57 PM

IN the old "Threads on the Singing Voice" that I put together, I had links to voice disorder clinics that included photos and list of do's and don'ts for singers. That thread is years old, so many of the links don't work any more.

Alex, by this time, I hope you've made an appointment with a specialist.

Alice


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: oggie
Date: 06 Sep 08 - 04:37 PM

There is a whole pantheon of great voices who were ruined by the eight shows a week regime of musical theatre (Howard Keel and John Hanson to name but two). With the onset of throat mikes there is no excuse for this to happen any more but it still does, the key is good technique and not strainig the voice, let the mike take the strain.

Steve


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Sep 08 - 06:24 PM

you might be having acid reflux which would definitely contribute to the symptoms you describe. It's imperative to get checked out by an experienced ENT. you could do serious damage to your vocal cords. good luck.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 06 Sep 08 - 10:43 PM

An interesting technical note here. My paper had an article today which says that Broadway shows broadcast to the audience using 'white space,' the airwaves in-between local TV channels. (Large churches with the money for the mics do the same.)

Presumably the singers use the throat mics that Oggie just mentioned.

=======
Bonnie, your last post was just heart-breaking.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: GUEST,Alex637959
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 05:42 PM

Hi there, I'm still reading what everyone has put on here, and I really do think your advice has saved my career. Being a trainee musical theatre teacher, and an avid performer myself, performance is ALL i have in my life, and my scratchy voice is the bane of my performing life - especially when I have to perform the likes of a monologue, as my voice sounds so monotonous sometimes, even when I am trying my best to achieve a natural variety of vocal tones.

I really do believe that if i hadn't come onto this site and got top notch information from such a wonderful online community, I would have done nothing about my voice, and I would have DEFINETLY ruined it. You've made me realise that there is a ray of light, and it's not gone forever.

On another positive note, I have worked two eight hour days this weekend, and I have attempted to rest my voice as much as possible, and when I have had to sing, I have not projected half as much as I usually do, and my doctors appointment is tomorrow at 11.45am, so I will keep you all posted as to how that goes.....

As to everyone on this website, you are all remarkable! I cannot believe I have been lucky to stumble across such a gem! After this message, I am going straight away to sign up, to become a member!

Thanks again everyone!

Alex


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Peace
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 06:03 PM

Well, Alex, welcome to Mudcat.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Alex637959
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 07:23 PM

Thanks! I'm officially a member!


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 07:25 PM

Welcome to Mudcat, Alex. There's a lot of good information to be found here, and more than likely, you can add your bit as well.

I'll keep a good thought for your appointment tomorrow.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Alice
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 07:29 PM

Welcome to Mudcat, Alex!
We are happy to have you here!

Alice


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 09:07 PM

Yes, that goes for me too. Very glad to see you here. Let us know how the appointment turns out -


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Alex637959
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 02:25 AM

Okay, I went in and told the doctor about my voice again, and he told me to make sure I don't use my voice abrasively and to rest it AGAIN! Thank god for you guys, because I started bombarding him with all the info I have gathered from everyone here, and I demanded to see a specialist. He finally granted my request, and I am now awaiting a date by post to go to an ear nose and throat specialist!
Yay! I can't believe my GP was just going to send me back out without soing anything - I told him what my job was and everything! I am considering moving to a new doctors after this incident!

But at least I've started the ball rolling (no thanks to the NHS)!

Thanks again for your support

Alex


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Peace
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 02:46 AM

Ya done good, buddy.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: GUEST,Don Firth (my computer's in the shop)
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 12:04 PM

Excellent, Alex!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: vectis
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 01:31 PM

Good luck mate.
Tell the ENT bloke/ss that you are a professional singer and you will get sorted a bit quicker. If your doc didn't emphasise this in his letter (normally the only reason why you get to see the ENT in the first place mind you) and the appointment is months away then ring the appointments people and be VERY PERSISTANT until they give you one sooner. You may have to keep ringing up for cancellations and pester them but the system does normally work a bit quicker for professional singers.
I know, I had some problems sorted out by an ENT chap and the only reason I got to see him in the first place was because my doctor described me as a professional singer in his letter.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Ken Schatz
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 06:10 PM

Good going, Alex, glad to hear that. And welcome!

Ken


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Acme
Date: 10 Sep 08 - 12:26 AM

I've enjoyed reading this thread, but haven't remarked until now because I'm not a singer, I just grew up with one. But I do like a good story, and this is fascinating. Stick to your guns, Alex, make yourself heard by your doctors. And welcome to Mudcat! I'm glad you arrived at a point in time when it could be useful to you.

You may have discovered by now that if you click on the link for any individual's name at their post in a thread it will take you to a search results list of all of their Mudcat posts, most recent first. Don Firth has been in an interesting ongoing conversation about the voice and style of Richard Dyer-Bennet that might be of particular interest. As Peace mentioned before, Kendall (Morse) has a several year history embedded in these pages, chronicling voice problems, his cancer diagnosis, finding good medical care (sticking to his guns about it), importing a new wife . . . well, that wasn't to do with the throat cancer, but it was a very happy interlude! . . . and his recuperation and even triumphant return to stage with Utah Phillips. (There is a CD). Bruce (Peace) referred to Kendall, and to his own story, and there have been quite a few others here at Mudcat over the years, if you'll search the forum using a keyword or two and some patience.

A word to the wise--the BS threads below the line are very interesting, but they are wide ranging and not always as civil as above the line. Tread carefully down below, but have fun, and keep us up to date on your progress! :)

Stilly River Sage


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Sep 08 - 03:30 AM

Of course, if you want to discuss "What is folk" in any form you will find the above the line area can be every bit as abrasive as the below the line!

The only real connection this has with the main topic of this thread is that many voice coaches will wish to insist on "standard" delivery, so if you sing folksong as folksong, or have an individual vocal style, you may well find it annoying that a voice coach may (even if helping to save your voice) turn you into a sub-operatic clone.

I am told that there are some who don't have this unfortunate side effect, and I know of one person whose singing has both improved and remained unmistakably his singing as a result of voice coaching, but as an old rebel I mistrust the jargon-ridden authoritarianism that seems to accompany much voice tuition and even the best intentioned advice.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 10 Sep 08 - 06:38 AM

Richard, don't confuse style with technique - they're not the same things. What you're complaining about is style. Technique is simply the physical use of the body to produce the sound. (They argue about that dichotomy in the harp world too, and no doubt everywhere else.) If you do this in the wrong way you can strain or damage yourself. Technique does not affect the style in which you deliver a song (unless you're in the habit of shouting or belting to the point of hoarseness) - that's an artistic choice.

There is a safe way to sing and a harmful way to sing - though how much stress it puts on the voice depends a lot on what type of music you do, and whether you're obliged to do it constantly or only when you choose. And it sounds as though Alex needs to follow the advice of the professionals at the peril of losing his instrument. He works daily in a field where - unlike "folk" - there is a high demand on producing loud volume over vast ranges, often for two hours, 8 times per week, whether you feel like it or not. Believe me, a lot of performers DO need voice training to help project their sound over a long period without wearing their equipment out. It's not only an artistic expression, it pays their bills so they need to protect and maintain it.

I know from firsthand experience what happens to singers when they don't. Musical theatre and pop are very demanding genres.

And as for jargon - musical terms are phrased in Italian, as ballet terms are phrased in French. It's the international language of the craft and the point of it is that everyone understands it, whatever their native tongue. It really truly is not a snob thing. Why is this any more pretentious than lawyers phrasing things in Latin?


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 10 Sep 08 - 11:12 AM

Thought I'd share of few tips I've picked up over the years.

1. When your voice is in trouble, avoid caffiene, alcohol and chocolate, all of which dry up the throat. (Source: article in People magazine about the 'Throat Doctor to the Country Stars')

2. Drink lots of lukewarm water. (source: sister-in-law, a trained soprano)

3. Talking is harder on your voice than singing. When in trouble, talk less (source: another trained soprano at a folk workshop)

4. Dairy products cause mucus to build up in your throat. Fruit juice strips it . (same source)

5. Be aware that throat problems can be caused by acid reflux from the stomach. (source: Internet, Mudcatters.)


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Acme
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 12:28 PM

Alex, how are you doing?

SRS


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 12:56 PM

Diet: no dairy, no sugar, no smoking and no citrus

sal


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 12:59 PM

Wot, no sugar & no citrus? No lemonade you mean ?   ;-)

Alex, I've been wondering how you're doing too. Drop a note and let us know what's up -


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 05 Oct 08 - 07:52 PM

Well Bonnie, I had a long conversation with Jonnie Collins and he had to stop all of those things and his voice came back. Might be worth having a work with him Alex.

On the whole tho, I would recommend drinking my lemonade, but then I would say that, wouldn't I. LOL

x Sal


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: BB
Date: 06 Oct 08 - 01:43 PM

Spoke to Johnny Collins a week or so ago, and he has had to give up drinking alcohol of any kind when he is going to sing. When he does so, even a little, he has enormous problems with his voice.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: GUEST,Cats
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 10:58 AM

2 years ago I had to have a whole term off school as I had problems with my voice. I wss rushed to the top of the waiting list as I am considered to be 'a Professional Voice User'on 5 counts. If you are a PVU you must be jumped to the top of the list so my consultant and Voice trainer told me, it is part of the NHS protocol. Make sure your doctor and your consultant know you are a PVU. Do exactly as they tell you. I was told that unless I did what they said, which included taking time off work, I would never teach again and .. what was far worse, i would never sing again. I was taught to talk again and I was taught to sing again and how to use my voice correctly. Now, they can't shut me up and I am still singing.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Oct 08 - 02:23 PM

If you haven't seen the specialist yet, you should check your insurance and to see whether you need a referral, or you can simply go the the specialist on your own. Also check to see what the arrangement is for out of system specialists. Often, on your Dr's request, you can get pre-approval to see the best, wherever, even if the policy says they don't cover it.

Then find out who the theatrical performers go to, and go. It's worth getting on a train or even a plane so you can see the doctor who can give you the best help.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 08 Oct 08 - 09:04 AM

I had a problem with my voice/throat a fews years ago. The doc sent me to the Ear, nose and throat clinic. Before I knew what was happening they put a camera up my nose, down my throat and asked me to talk and cough. I NEVER WANT TO GO THROUGH THAT AGAIN. It was without a doubt the worst experience in my life so far.... and I've had 3 children!

Sal


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: GUEST,donna fletcher
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 10:37 PM

I am a survivor of vocal nodes -- and I know exactly what caused it -- trying to sing as loud as the saxophones in a practice room preparing for a musical theater production. I actually felt something rip at the time. I regained my voice in a couple of days...but over time, scar tissue built up and I lost range, got very scratchy, and ultimately had to have surgery. I was not allowed to talk or whisper (which is even worse for your voice) for a month. It's been about 15 years now, and all is OK.

You really must see a specialist if your voice has really deteriorated; it can be a sign of a serious condition. But assuming not,

Here is a piece of advice from my ear/nose/throat doctor:

To protect your voice, use a higher speaking voice! He said too many women want to sound like Lauren Bacall (and no, my speaking voice is not THAT low). I didn't make a change in how I speak normally, but I do this when I need to protect my voice for a gig or start to feel it getting strained even in just a social situation.
Raising your speaking voice is especially helpful if you are in a loud environnent, such as a club where everyone is talking or there is music in the background. Pitching your voice higher lessons strain on your vocal chords. Try it, you'll find it really works.

Another way to be heard without talking louder and straining your voice is to throw your voice more through your nose; it may not sound as lovely, but you will be heard.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: GUEST
Date: 24 May 09 - 09:35 PM

First thing I thought of was more like nodules on the vocal cords. Using vocal cords that are already strained and tired or sore, can make them worse! You can develop nodules and scar tissue that could make you lose your singing abilities for the rest of your life! Go to a ear, nose, throat specialist.


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Subject: RE: My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!
From: GUEST,xXxgayboi247xXx
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 05:41 AM

The vocal chords are a very delicate part of the voice and by not resting your voice you have damaged it and it will affect your range. When you sing higher notes the vocal chords vibrate faster whilst singing lower notes causes your vocal chords to vibrate slower, you can usualy feel this by putting your hand on your larynx and singing scales. i wouldnt recomend trying to hard to reach notes that you cant reach perfectly because it will cause your voice to strain, this will cause your voice to lose its frequency and power. when you sing the notes that your not able to reach just yet they sound very breathy to begin with but they can be strengthened with practice, if you find that you are overdoing it then rest. Singing loudly comes with practice most beginner singers start out with a quiet voice some louder than others, but placing the power over the range or tone of your voice is very foolish, if you find that singing loudly is hurting or straining your voice then its best if you sing at a lower volume untill your capable of singing louder, it basicaly takes years of practice to get your voice to sound better and to be able to sing with more power but that is minimized by protecting your voice.


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