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Healing voice strain

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NicoleC 14 May 03 - 02:40 PM
GUEST,Gene Burton 14 May 03 - 03:04 PM
Stewart 14 May 03 - 03:47 PM
AggieD 14 May 03 - 06:21 PM
NicoleC 14 May 03 - 06:35 PM
Stewart 14 May 03 - 07:21 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 15 May 03 - 06:06 AM
NicoleC 15 May 03 - 11:45 AM
PoppaGator 15 May 03 - 12:31 PM
Frankham 15 May 03 - 12:56 PM
Don Firth 15 May 03 - 02:20 PM
NicoleC 15 May 03 - 04:30 PM
GUEST,Mac 26 Feb 04 - 05:12 PM
GUEST,KT 27 Oct 04 - 12:48 AM
GUEST,a friend 27 Oct 04 - 01:37 AM
kendall 27 Oct 04 - 11:09 AM
SINSULL 27 Oct 04 - 11:15 AM
s&r 27 Oct 04 - 01:16 PM
Ebbie 27 Oct 04 - 01:31 PM
YorkshireYankee 27 Oct 04 - 08:25 PM
GUEST,Boab 28 Oct 04 - 12:41 AM
GUEST,Silent acid reflux 02 Nov 04 - 08:10 PM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Nov 04 - 01:03 PM
Sooz 03 Nov 04 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,JJ 22 Dec 06 - 06:35 PM
Linda Goodman Zebooker 22 Dec 06 - 07:38 PM
Alice 22 Dec 06 - 08:27 PM
GUEST,Dylan vocal coach 28 Jun 07 - 04:23 PM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Jun 07 - 01:01 PM
GUEST 29 Jul 07 - 10:43 AM
kendall 29 Jul 07 - 12:47 PM
Alice 29 Jul 07 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,Muscrat 08 Nov 07 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,guest11 12 Aug 10 - 10:03 PM
GUEST,leeneia 13 Aug 10 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,MTHOKOZISI MADONSELA 17 Feb 12 - 12:56 PM
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Subject: Healing voice strain
From: NicoleC
Date: 14 May 03 - 02:40 PM

I'm naturally blessed with a fairly strong voice and have a lot of endurance, so I've never dealt with voice strain before, not even when sick. Lately I've been singing tenor parts since I don't have the upper range of an alto, and our tenor section was very weak anyway. Saturday night I ended up standing next to a gent who has an immense and rich voice, but sadly is mostly tone deaf and has no sense of rhythm. He usually hangs back and is quiet and lets me lead, but for some reason (nervousness?) he started belting out really wrong stuff in the wrong key and was taking the whole tenor section down in flames with him.

Most of the tenor section relies on me to keep them on track, and I got wound up and pushed way too hard. Amateur mistake, I know. I doubt I actually gained any volume anyway, because I was too tense.

I had a little throat irritation afterwards, but was fine the next morning. I rested up as best as I could since then just in case. Last night all started out well and stayed loose and relaxed, but halfway through my voice starting cracking and I was hammered by the end. Today I'm not feeling any discomfort, but my throat does feel very dry and like there's a lump in it. Fortunately, that was our last performance and I have nothing to practice and no need to use my voice much.

Despite my funky range, it turns out I'm not half bad at this singing thing and I'd like to continue with it (with a better teacher this time) -- and when I'm healed up. Obviously, the solution is rest, rest, rest and avoiding stuff like alcohol and caffiene. As a habitual "car singer," it'll be tough to keep my mouth shut, but I think I can manage.

BUT... If it's like most strains, you can feel fine even though you're not fixed yet. How do I know when I'm healed up and it's safe to go back in the water?


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: GUEST,Gene Burton
Date: 14 May 03 - 03:04 PM

I'm periodically affected by the same problem myself. For most singers, this kind of strain is caused by inflammation of the voicebox, arising from overuse. I find the best remedy is to gargle soluble aspirin, three or four times a day for about 3 days ('cos aspirin has both anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties), obviously whilst resting the voice as much as possible. This usually fixes it, until the next time...Whiskey and orange is also a good short-term throat tonic if you find your voice is starting to crack halfway through the evening.


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: Stewart
Date: 14 May 03 - 03:47 PM

The key problem, I believe, is tenseness. Your entire vocal apparatus should be free and relaxed, but with proper support from the diaphragm. And you should sing with confidence that your voice is coming through, not forcing it. But you probably know that. As you say, a better teacher would help.

As to recovery, I think resting the voice as much as possible. When you do begin, concentrate on being relaxed, and begin with soft vocalization in the low or easy part of your register. Then gradually get back into vocal shape. I've experienced that myself, though not to such an extreme (and I should know better after years of vocal study).

Good luck!

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: AggieD
Date: 14 May 03 - 06:21 PM

Try my favourite, hot lemon with honey & fresh ginger, allow to stand for a few minutes & sip slowly. Lots of voice rest, get yourself a writing pad for a few days, then go & find yourself a vocal coach & get some lessons on how to project your voice without straining. The vocal chords do wear out, & even though I could at one time belt out a song with the best of them, years of doing it, even with proper training takes it's toll.

Good luck

Aggie


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: NicoleC
Date: 14 May 03 - 06:35 PM

Thanks, Aggie, that recipe sounds very soothing -- and pretty yummy, too.

I've had some theatrical-type voice training, just not the singing kind, so I usually do a good job of relaxing & projecting well. I just let myself get stressed out and lost it. If I were more experienced, I could have handled it better, but, hey, at least I was GETTING some. :) I can't promise it won't happen again, but technically I *should* know better next time.

I do want to find a good teacher (who will no doubt point out that I have about a million other vocal problems) but any more extracurricular activities will have to wait until the fall when I have some time to devote to the project.

I know there's no formula to judge how long it will take to heal -- but how do I know it's safe to start those low & easy vocalizations Stewart is talking about?


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: Stewart
Date: 14 May 03 - 07:21 PM

Nicole,

"but how do I know it's safe to start"

Wait til your voice feels better, then start out relaxed and easy. If you feel any discomfort or strain, then wait. If not, then begin, but be aware of any discomfort. Then there are warm-up techniques that any good vocal coach can teach you. These should be done before you sing at full voice (just like any athletic warm-up).

S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 15 May 03 - 06:06 AM

Above all, don't go on singing if it hurts! You could do some serious damage!


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: NicoleC
Date: 15 May 03 - 11:45 AM

Thanks, Stewart.


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: PoppaGator
Date: 15 May 03 - 12:31 PM

Whiskey and orange? Hadn't tried that, sounds interesting.

My favorite alcoholic sore-throat remedy is a hot toddy: lemon juice, honey, whiskey, and boiling water. Not bad on a cold night even when *not* suffering from voice problems.

Vodka, of course, is the usual accompaniment to orange juice, making the venerable "screwdriver." I prefer using rum -- Rum & OJ is my second-choice hard liquor drink when Irish whiskey is not available. (First choice is Bushmills on rocks.) Usually, though, I'm a simple beer drinker -- draft whenever possible, the darker the better. (Sorry for thread creep.)


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: Frankham
Date: 15 May 03 - 12:56 PM

I don't have a definitive answer but here's what I do. I stop singing for a while (maybe a day). Get plenty of rest. Then warm up on easy excercises being careful not to strain. I might take a walk and try to get the diaphragmatic breathing muscles active and work on speak-singing on them. Echinacea helps sometimes. Then, on a gig, I deliberately not yell or strain in any way. I use a mic if I need to or just relax and speak-sing without shouting. When the breathing muscles take over, then the voice returns. The right amount of air goes through the cords which approximate to accomodate it.

I'd stay away from alcohol because it might have the effect of drying up the cords and although you'd feel less inhibited, you might do some damage. Good physical health and good singing go together.

Swimming can sometimes help or light jogging or fast walking to stimulate breathing. Kundalini Yoga can sometimes help as well. (Prahna breathing).

The main think is to coax not force the voice back.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: Don Firth
Date: 15 May 03 - 02:20 PM

Generally pretty good advice above. The main thing to avoid is straining your voice, and one of the biggest strains is trying to sing outside your natural (comfortable) range. I won't repeat all the good stuff to be found in the thread links above (Alice is an especially good source), but what I would say is, tell the choir director or whoever it is you work with that he or she had better find, hire, draft, or kidnap a good, strong tenor for the tenor section, because you aren't going to sing lead there anymore. Otherwise, the choir might wind up loosing you, too! Not good! And this is not because you're being temperamental—it's a matter of self-preservation.

Give your voice a good rest (a few days at least), then start off easy. Hum a bit. Vocalize a bit. And stay within your easy range. Don't push it. That's what caused the trouble in the first place. And if it still feels uncomfortable, give it a bit more rest. Then, if it still feels uncomfortable or doesn't seem quite right, then get thee to a laryngologist.

Once when I had a bad cold, I made it to my weekend singing job, which consisted of two evenings of singing five forty-minute sets. Then during the week, I gave about a dozen private guitar lessons and taught a half-dozen folk guitar classes (talking all the while). As the next weekend rolled around and I was due for my next pair of five set evenings, I didn't have much voice left. I went to a laryngologist who informed me that I had acute laryngitis. He sprayed my throat with something that made me temporarily unable to make a sound, then told me that if I ever wanted to sing again, I wouldn't utter a peep—not ever a whisper—for a month or six weeks. I should come in once a week so he could see how things were healing up, and then, before I opened my mouth again, go back to my old voice teacher and have him get me started again very gently. I had about two months of no gigs, no lessons, no income.

Don't take a chance on blowing your voice, Nicole. It's not worth it!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: NicoleC
Date: 15 May 03 - 04:30 PM

Funny you should say that, Don. :)

I'm done with this choir anyway, since I'm moving out of town. The decision to sing tenor was mine -- I insisted in that same mode of 'self-preservation,' and by the end, the director agreed with my decision. The alto part was too high for me and I wasn't ready to start pushing for those C's and D's. I just don't have 'em. (And too stubborn to lay off them even if it did hurt to try.)

On the other hand, I was perfectly comfortable singing the tenor part as long as I didn't try to affect a big booming male voice tone. Which brings me back to my mistake of trying to out-volume one of those big booming voices one night :)

The voice feels perfectly fine today, so I gave it a little tiny whirl with a short & simple tune this morning and had no issues or discomfort. I'm not thinking I've done any real harm at this point -- but as I said, I'm not in any hurry, so I plan to rest it awhile anyway.


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: GUEST,Mac
Date: 26 Feb 04 - 05:12 PM

Hey, i'm only 17 , and i've been singing for just a little over a year. mostly simple things, but then the band i was in started getting me into screaming and now i know why i should never do that lol i can't hit the high notes or hold mid notes steady anymore, it always feels like its slipping just a little bit out of tune when i'm singing... (i quit the band) , and so now i play and sing lots of my own acoustic stuff agian my dad made me a webpage www.hammac.com/mac listen to my voice and you'll probably hear what i'm talking about! i just want to know what i can do to make my voice more powerfull and how to hit the right notes more often, i dont know how good i'm doing for how long i've been singing or anything of that sort so anyone that listens to it leave me a message on my email if you have any advice.... thanks -Mac


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Subject: RE: Reflux Laringitis
From: GUEST,KT
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 12:48 AM

I hope someone out there can help me i have been dealing with reflux laringitis for two years. It has improved but im now were near were my ability was. I used to be able to hit a high e and belt out very powerful songs but one year i had acid backing up into the throat it hurt to talk. I experience soarthroats drieness burning pain,excessive burbing, i used to have difficulty swallowing and post nasal drip. I even went to a u of m doctor and he said he didnt see anything wrong with the vocal cords but maybe i am depressed but i know i have had severe acid reflux pain........ I have tried
everything from medications prilosec for six months prevacid for 8 months i recently went on atrip to europe and the doctors looked in my stomach and said i had problems with my les and gave me some very good medication but i dont think it is enough they sent me more... but anyways do you think i can recover it has been so long i am loosing hope do you think i could have strained or lost my voice for permanent.... Please i need your advice it means so much singing was my life and i missed out on alot of opportunities please help me out.....

i would appreciate any advice
<<<<<>>>>>>>sorry for the long letter!


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: GUEST,a friend
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 01:37 AM

Contact the Pacific Voice Clinic at Vancouver Hospital, Dr. Linda Rammage, Vancouver, B.C. You can attend a week long program at the hospital to help learn how to improve your voice function. There is also a book published by the clinic to help you do the program on your own. Try the Pacific Voice Clinic web site.


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: kendall
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 11:09 AM

Acid reflux is very painful and can do real damage to your vocal cords. One of the things I was told to do was to elevate the head of my bed slightly, so I took two thick books, placed then under the legs at the head of the bed, and damned if it didn't help! I haven't been awakened by reflux since.


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: SINSULL
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 11:15 AM

Re: acid reflux - sleep on your left side and use extra pillows. Do not eat for 2-3 hours before going to bed. Eliminate stress from your life (ha ha) and don't get old.


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: s&r
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 01:16 PM


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 01:31 PM

Hi, Guest/KT. What a pain. I have two friends with acid reflux; one of them is no longer bothered by it but the other one still has a problem.

I hope you sign on as a member. Note that there is a KT here already so you may find it necessary to change your moniker. In any case, come on in- the water is fine!

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 08:25 PM

Guest/KT,

My dad has acid reflux. I don't know a whole lot about it, but I do know there are a bunch of things he's not supposed to eat/drink anymore – acidy things like (if I'm remembering correctly) orange juice, caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, cola), chocolate, etc.

Just did a Google search ("acid reflux" + diet) which brought up a lot of pages, including this one, which contains (among other things) this info:

The lower esophageal muscle can be weakened by factors other than food. The following recommendations may be helpful in reducing symptoms:

   1. Stop using tobacco in all forms. Nicotine weakens the lower esophageal muscle.
   2. Avoid chewing gum and hard candy. They increase the amount of swallowed air which, in turn, leads to belching and reflux.
   3. Do not lie down immediately after eating. Avoid late evening snacks.
   4. Avoid tight clothing and bending over after eating.
   5. Eat small, frequent portions of food and snack if needed.
   6. Lose weight if overweight. Obesity leads to increased reflux.
   7. Elevate the head of the bed six to eight inches to prevent reflux when sleeping. Extra pillows, by themselves, are not very helpful.
   8. The following foods aggravate acid reflux, and should be avoided:
          * fatty or fried foods
          * peppermint and spearmint
          * whole milk
          * oils
          * chocolate
          * creamed foods or soups
          * most fast foods
   9. The following foods irritate an inflamed lower esophagus and may need to be limited or avoided:
          * citrus fruits and juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapple, tomato)
          * coffee (regular and decaffeinated)
          * caffeinated soft drinks
          * tea
          * other caffeinated beverages
10. Spicy or acidic foods may not be tolerated by some individuals.

So... if you haven't already been told by your doctor(s) to avoid these things, I'd see a different doctor.

Good luck!


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 28 Oct 04 - 12:41 AM

I suffered from excess stomach acid and reflux for many years as a result of "plumbing alteration" after acute pancreatitis. I developed "Barret's Esophagus" finally, and now have my gullet stretched periodically [no great problem, and it helps]. Besides the usual bed-raising [good advice!], sleep on the left side and dietary care, my most effective action comprises a Nexium tablet daily. See your Doc., ask for this. I also commend the advice above signed "a friend". My partner had exactly the problem you describe [ she teaches] and was greatly helped by just such a clinic as "friend" describes. Good luck! Don't lose heart---
Boab


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: GUEST,Silent acid reflux
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 08:10 PM

I have had the acid reflux thing - been going for speech therapy and it has helped A LOT.... If you sing, and have some idea about using your voice then you make great progress once you are in the hands of a professional! Also drink lots of water - keep your vocal chords 'hydrated' - as for changing diet, well, I have something called 'silent' acid reflux, which means I suffer the damage but not the pain - just end up with a hoarse voice. I have to take antacids daily but the main thing is being aware of the 'false' vocal chords that close over to protect your real vocal chords when you suffer acid burn. A speech therapist will help - honestly!


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Nov 04 - 01:03 PM

Back to NicoleC. If you join a new choir after you move, join the alto section. I have been in the alto section of a very good choir since 1991, and I have learned that nobody cares if you sing those high C's and D's. Those notes are part of the soprano job description, so let them do it. If they are singing even higher than D, let them show off.

When you get to a D as an alto, merely emit a thin squeak or just open your mouth and let nothing come out. With the sopranos, tenors and basses going great guns around you, it doesn't matter.

I haven't heard a woman yet who sings tenor and sounds right. Most of them are forcing their voices into their chests and probably doing damage. Our choir director says that even if a woman's voice is that low, the tone just isn't what the composer expected in a tenor.

Not to mention the temperament problems you can encounter there...


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: Sooz
Date: 03 Nov 04 - 01:14 PM

I suffer from silent acid reflux and have tried all sorts from speech therapy to medication. There are only two solutions:
1. Eliminate stress (My slipped disc last winter mean't I couldn't go to work and my voice came back within days.)
2. Eliminate stomach acid by taking proton pump inhibitors. (I forgot mine yesterday and am back to square one today.)


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: GUEST,JJ
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 06:35 PM

hey um i just went to a major concert on wednesday and i screamed my head off. The bad news is that im in the choir as a soprano and i have a solo to sing on christmas eve (which is 2 days away). I really need my voice to heal as quick as possible (preferably before christmas eve). How do i do that?


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: Linda Goodman Zebooker
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 07:38 PM

If you don't whisper and don't talk at all unless you really, really, really, really need to, it may help. Get all the rest you possibly can. Drink some warm soothing mild herbal teas whenever you can. I like ginger tea for this. If you are ready in time for your solo, just take it easy and think extra about your breathing.
--Linda


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: Alice
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 08:27 PM

In the
Threads on the Singing Voice there is info linked from vocal health sites. DOs and Don't for singers warns every singer not to SCREAM or CHEER or SHOUT and many other things that strain and can damage your voice.

Don't speak or whisper unless you have to. Whispering stresses the voice, too. Drink lots of water. Write notes instead of speaking. Hum to warm up your voice if it is healing enough to sing. If it hasn't healed DON"T PERFORM. Bow out in advance. If you force your voice you may be damaging it and one solo is not worth the damage. Use better vocal practices in the future.

HERE ARE SOME Helpful Guidelines to keep your voice healthy.
Dos and don'ts for vocal performers 

Good Luck!

Alice


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: GUEST,Dylan vocal coach
Date: 28 Jun 07 - 04:23 PM

hi ya,
I damaged my voice about 6 years ago and couldn't talk for 6 months! So the answer to your question, of when will you know if its safe to singing again is, you need to get in touch with your singing instrument, you will know when you are ready as it will feel fine, a little dull throbbing no probs, any sharp feeling then back off! (You will know what I mean if you feel it!) just take it easy, try vocalizing on NG as in sung, this is a nasal constant, try sliding it gently down your range to start with then up and down, gently going a little higher every time, until you reach the end of your range, another good one is to sing in falsetto to start with as this is great for healing the vocal folds as it encourages them to work on the thin edges, make sure it's not to breathy. When you do this correctly for a couple of minute your throat should feel great and when you speak it should sound nice and clear without any croakiness.

    hope that this helps?

            cheers Dylan   www.vocaltechnique.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 01:01 PM

That's interesting, Dylan. Thanks for posting. I've been trying your NG exercise, and it definitely seems to clear things up.

My cats are discombobulated, however.


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jul 07 - 10:43 AM

dont do more than two sets of fourty five mins singing an evening. i did four sets and had an uneasy feeling in my throat. had to rests for months.
all the best grace


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: kendall
Date: 29 Jul 07 - 12:47 PM

Prilosec


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: Alice
Date: 29 Jul 07 - 01:14 PM

Hope everyone is taking care of their voice.


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: GUEST,Muscrat
Date: 08 Nov 07 - 09:31 AM

I have been dealing with a slight hoarseness this week. i am in performances on the weekend...Playing Nancy in OLIVER. The weather also just got colder & some colds are going around. I have been trying to vocal rest as much as i can. Today I started using a notepad. Also started on Roxalia for Sore throat & hoarseness..>Last weekend I was fine till mid performance on Sunday....a slight hoarseness kicked in. Although my throat isn't sore & doesn't really hurt...it's more like an allergic reaction. the whole larynx seems slightly swollen & I feel like I want to clear my throat....but I am trying not too. I also will be starting back w/ a sinu-cleanse (Neti pot) - Anybody have any instant fixes? I have 3 performances this weekend & 2 more next weekend.
Thanks -
Muscrat


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: GUEST,guest11
Date: 12 Aug 10 - 10:03 PM

Heres what hurts your voice the most..

1. Alot of people don't know this but cough drops actually dry out your voice.. they are for coughing only..

2. Not getting enough sleep can also affect your voice greatly.

3. Yelling can hurt voice ALOT..

4. Stress can also affect your voice.

5. Having a cough.

6. Having a cold.

7. Being cold can affect your voice alot.

8. If you dont warm up before you sing you can RUIN your voice!

9. After you warm up your voice don't drink any drinks that are cold. This will reset your voice and you'll have to warm up again.

10. Drink lukewarm WATER to sooth your voice if your thirsty during a singing practice. and drink lots of it for at least three days leading up to your performance.


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 13 Aug 10 - 11:42 AM

I got this advice from an article in People Magazine about the voice doctor for country stars:

When your voice is in trouble, avoid caffeine, alcohol and chocolate. They dry out the throat.

My sis-in-law, a trained soprano, endorses Guest11's advice to drink lukewarm water.


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Subject: RE: Healing voice strain
From: GUEST,MTHOKOZISI MADONSELA
Date: 17 Feb 12 - 12:56 PM

I started singinging in grade 4 at the age of 11 i sang in a school choir for years then in 2008 i was promoted to the sinior choir because i was gud , i had a very high tenor voice i could even sing high soprano notes then my voice started toning down i couldnt sing soprano on high notes nd i was strugling to hit the high M' R' D' i strugled to sing i my first solo song because it had high notes , now when i try to hit those high notes i crack nd be out of pich my throt becomes sore nd i have something blocking my troat somethimes it becomes it feels like there is a tikle in my throat my voice is steef i need to open my mouth wide nd shout it out if i go higher i easly loose my voice in high notes i sing a lead in my school choir i need help , i love singing with all my heart im now stressed nd fustarated i dont know wat will happen as time goes on nd my voice getting worse


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