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Voice problem

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Penny S. 18 Mar 04 - 05:35 PM
Dave Wynn 18 Mar 04 - 06:25 PM
Heely 18 Mar 04 - 06:29 PM
Rapparee 18 Mar 04 - 06:40 PM
lady penelope 18 Mar 04 - 07:23 PM
GUEST,eddi reader 18 Mar 04 - 08:59 PM
Penny S. 19 Mar 04 - 04:54 PM
GUEST 19 Mar 04 - 08:58 PM
Strollin' Johnny 20 Mar 04 - 05:23 AM
kendall 20 Mar 04 - 07:28 AM
Strollin' Johnny 20 Mar 04 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Mar 04 - 11:40 PM
Kaleea 21 Mar 04 - 01:24 AM
Penny S. 23 Mar 04 - 05:03 PM
GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere) 25 Mar 04 - 07:15 AM
GUEST,isingsongs 04 May 05 - 11:25 PM
Beer 05 May 05 - 08:56 PM
Alba 05 May 05 - 09:18 PM
Diamondprohydro 08 Dec 08 - 01:20 PM
VirginiaTam 08 Dec 08 - 03:00 PM
Tangledwood 08 Dec 08 - 04:57 PM
Diamondprohydro 09 Dec 08 - 12:13 PM
GUEST 09 Dec 08 - 05:29 PM
GUEST,katsube 15 Dec 08 - 11:14 PM
Alice 15 Dec 08 - 11:27 PM
GUEST,Matt 15 Mar 09 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 16 Mar 09 - 12:23 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 09 - 03:31 AM
Sooz 16 Mar 09 - 04:46 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 16 Mar 09 - 09:38 AM
Harmonium Hero 16 Mar 09 - 10:20 AM
Brakn 16 Mar 09 - 05:07 PM
Stringsinger 17 Mar 09 - 01:29 PM
Joe Offer 13 Nov 09 - 12:38 AM
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Subject: Voice problem
From: Penny S.
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 05:35 PM

I found my voice doing something odd, and unwelcome today. I take the hymn practice session with half the school,and was working through the Sydney Carter songs in our book, having explained that the writer had just died. They knew Lord of the Dance, One More Step, and Travel On, but I need to to teach Judas and Mary. The setting is quite high. About half way through each verse I found it impossible to produce any sound. I wasn't running out of breath, but my throat, above my larynx, narrowed and dried (as in lost moisture), and my larynx just didn't have enough air flow. I've never known anything like it. Getting the air quantity wrong, yes. This, no.

Can anyone suggest what was going on?

Penny


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 06:25 PM

Penny. One instance could be any number of innocent reasons. Adrenalin , dehydration , atmosphere , minor infection et al. If it persists have it looked at professionally.

Anecdotally: I have experienced a slight problem of running short of air while singing some songs recently. I am an ex smoker (I haven't smoked now for almost two weeks **BG**). I went to my doc for a check and advice. He gave me a lung capacity check and a peak flow test. They were normal. X-rays have shown no problem. I can now sing normally (even the bass harmonies). Two weeks off smoking hasn't suddenly improved my lungs so it must have been an innocent minor event. Most things are. Relax and try it again.

Spot


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Heely
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 06:29 PM

Peggy, I don't have a medical clue, and I don't know what area of the whorld that you are in, but. . . .I find that medicines - like allergy medicines or decongestants, can dry the throat out. I have an allergy to cats and the same thing will happen to me -almost as if my throat was swelling up inside and closing over. I also cannot play in bars because of the same reaction to cigarete smoke. I begin rasping as if I am hoarse. Perhaps you had a reaction to something? Just a guess. I teach in a classroom that has had a lot of artificial heat this winter. This really dries me out. I use a humidifier to remoisture in the evenings. Some gigs I will actually use vaseline or Vicks in my nose to keep it moist - - a trick learned from Beauty pageant contestants- they use vaseline on theit teeth so that they can keep moist and smiling. It works for singers with dry mouth too.
Lots of water is always a help especially in winter. Hope something I said helps. Heely


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 06:40 PM

Try using Neosporin or some some other topical antibiotic cream in your nose instead of Vaseline, at least at first. It'll help with any mild infection you might have and not know it.

(Use Vaseline or something around the inside of your nose when traveling on the airlines, too.)


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: lady penelope
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 07:23 PM

To find out for sure it will have to happen a few more times...erk! But it sounds like stressed chords. Now, unfortunately, your vocal chords can be stressed for any number of reasons.

1) Ill health
2) Too much to eat
3) Coming from a warm humid area into a cold dry one
4) Hiccups
5) Time of the month (happens to men too!)
6) Exhaustion
7) Stress!

If there isn't anything new in your life and you're not feeling run down, it may be an idea to check with your doctor. it may be an idea to check with your doctor any way and try and work it out from there.

Hopefully it won't happen again. Good luck!

TTFN Lady P.


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: GUEST,eddi reader
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 08:59 PM

hi I am a singer and I wanted to tell you what I use when singing and have to lubricate... I recommend a powder which has soothed and rehydrated and coated my larynx every single time i have used it...
SLIPPERY ELM powder... you have to make a paste with it and slowly blend it with hot/ warm water (pre boiled) ... it turns into a gloopy paste and is quite indigestable at first... but I have come to rely on it. available in all natural health stores.. and works miracles...
I too have experianced what you have experianced and its a real shock but completely ok... just your voice reminding you to drink more water and have plenty of non-straining voice time... ie...no shouting at the kids... or whispering... and get enough sleep...


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Penny S.
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 04:54 PM

Thanks - a number of things make sense there. Atmosphere in the classroom,in several ways (windows which I forget to open as they have two positions - cold or fug, and the day before I spent some time in restraining a disturbed child, which had affected my left arm and into the chest area - why didn't I think of that?).

There is some evidence of a throat bug among the children - nowadays I only tend to have them mildly, because I have met them all before, but that could be contributing.

I'll have to try that Slippery elm - my grandmother used it for something, but it sounds a good idea.

I'll see if it recurs before seeing the doctor - it wasn't there last week.

(I had to restrain another child in the afternoon yesterday, I am so sorry for what is going on in their heads, but it is getting a bit of a strain.)

Penny


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 08:58 PM

well another thing is NO LIFTING or straining ... mostly because when you tense muscles we often make a 'grunting' or ' squeezing noise... this is SLAPPING your chords together quite violently and will certainly contrubute to wearing you out vocally... I wonder if you make sure while restraining the child to check you are not slapping the chords together... try being aware to "breath" in and out the energy you are mustering keeping the vocal passage open, fully , open... a lot to juggle...
I whistle at my children now.. and I have better responces from them than when I speak or call them...
but thats nowhere near your work load. plenty rest and being gentle with yourself to balance the high energy activity.


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 05:23 AM

GUEST Eddi Reader- "Hi, I am a singer" - if it really is you on this thread Eddi, you are The Mistress Of Understatement! Penny, Eddi's not just 'a singer', she's a FANTASTIC singer of traditional and contemporary folk, pop, jazz, swing, any-damn-thing, one of the best voices in the UK!! Read and learn!

And if it's not Eddi - STOP IMPERSONATING HER, YOU PRAT.

Your fan,
Johnny :0)


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: kendall
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 07:28 AM

Dysphonia is treatable.


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 05:18 PM

Come on Eddi - was it you? Give us a sign.
Johnny :0)


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 11:40 PM

1. Get rid of the high settings. For the general population, the highest note in a song should be a D, and that not for long.

2. I find that when a bit of phlegm plops down my throat during singing, my throat seems to "lock up". All sound ceases immediately. Perhaps this is what's happening.


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Kaleea
Date: 21 Mar 04 - 01:24 AM

If none of the above seem to be the problem, you may have experienced the problem because you had been working the lower portion of your range. Then when you attempted to sing high, you voice just didn't seem to function. When we train the voices of most women, we vocalize the upper portion by starting medium high & going downward. Over time, we gradually get the voice to be one all the way up & down the range--no "head" & separate "chest" or throaty voice. This is accomplished over time with proper voice instruction for YOU. There is no method I know of which is all purpose for all voices. Every voice student I have ever had requires a different way of vocalizing. However, I might suggest that you vocalize your entire range well before singing. You might consider finding a professional vocal instructor or coach to assist you in good vocal technique.
Good Luck!


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Penny S.
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 05:03 PM

Thanks for that (and wow on eddi). I have been able to sing the piece in the car with no problems, attempting to reproduce the problem without doing so, but I don't know whether I had the pitch right. Tried several! I'll talk with the pianist this week to see where it lies - basically, if it's too high for me, it's definitely too high for the children, so we should be able to transpose it. But they did seem to be able to sing it without the problems I was having.

Penny - I'll let you know on Thursday how it goes. (The excluded child is back tomorrow - think of us - I'm so sorry for him and his family - ASD and ADHD)


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere)
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 07:15 AM

No problems, and the cause was probably the pitch - the high note, which recurred quite a bit, was high E, an area I have not ventured into for some time! We've transposed down so the range is C to C, which is much better for the children too.

A little bit of trouble with the boy again yesterday pm. See how that goes today.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: GUEST,isingsongs
Date: 04 May 05 - 11:25 PM

I've had the same problems lately. Actually it has been going on for a long time and recently much worse. My doc thought it might be a thyroid problem and tested for it but that was negative. Not checked yet for possible polyps. I've gained a lot of weight and I think that may be at the root of my problem because it is at least partly related - for me- to breath control. When I warm up properly including arm stretches it is easier to reach the higher notes but still not possible to reach the E and F I used to reach. Last week I began doing crunches with an 'ab roller' and there is some definite improvement with my breath support but still no E or sustained D's for that matter. Thanks for all the information. I take an antihistimine daily. I also use a C pap machine at night for sleep apnea. I think my vocal problems began about the time I started using this so I wonder if that doesn't have something to do with it also.


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Beer
Date: 05 May 05 - 08:56 PM

Hi Penny,
You wouldn't happen to have a touch of arthritis would you? About a year and a half ago I was in terriable pain and was diagnoised with Rhumatoid Arthritis. I also notice about the same time that I was loosing my voice.   I finally got seen by a specialist and I have strained vocal chord. I am now doing voice exercises but to early to determine if it will work. The Doc. however said that it could be caused by the Arthritis. Two things that I really enjoy in life Are playing the guitar and singing. Retired three years ago at 55 and now I can barely do either one. There was a Canadian singer who wrote a song about an encounter she had with a gentelman who was crippled up pumping gas. And she wrote the following chorus to the song.
When I can't play, I'll sing.
When I can't sing, I'll whistle.
When the day comes I can't whistle no more.
I'll sit myself down and I'll listen.
Good luck

Adrein


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Alba
Date: 05 May 05 - 09:18 PM

Nothing really to add to the above advice Penny.

I use Slipper Elm when Touring and Throat Coat Tea which is great too.
Best of luck and hope all returns to normal soon.

( To Guest Eddi Reader...your are not just a Singer you are...a bloody great Singer!:>)
Hope it was you that popped in...Love your work.)

Blessings to all.
Jude


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Diamondprohydro
Date: 08 Dec 08 - 01:20 PM

I am curious if any use products such Zyrtec or Claritan to help eliminate the phlegm buildup on the back of the throats or chords that make it impossible to cleanly sing. I have read the posts on Acid Reflux and singing correctly. I have addressed both and also gone so far as sinus surgery and now allergy shots mostly for dust. (no, not a smoker and try to be a healthy eater).

I just find that Zyrtec gives me 1 day relief on days I need to deliver but it makes me drowsy and I dislike the feeling. Trying to find if others have used anything else. At 60 I of course have had this for a while but would love to keep my singing years going. ( I understand the throat clearing damage that others talk about)

Thanks so much

Bill


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 08 Dec 08 - 03:00 PM

I am just getting over a month long respiratory virus that has left my speaking voice sounding like a prepubescent boy. However my singing voice is kind of awesome now. Husky, a bit gravelly, can reach really low notes. I kind of hope it doesn't go away.

Only problem is after singing (sometimes in middle of song) feel like I am going to cough up a lung.

Will watch this thread while I am still recuperating.


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Tangledwood
Date: 08 Dec 08 - 04:57 PM

Bill, I've never tried the products you mention or heard of medication being recommended unless there is a contributing medical problem.   Recommendations have been pretty consistent from a number of singing workshops that I've attended:
- dairy products increase mucus build up so avoid them before singing
- ginger is good
- pineapple juice is good
- keep the fluid intake up - warm water (yuk) is more effective than icey is.

There was some surprising (to me) information given at a recent workshop - vocal chords are only about the size of a thumbnail, so it doesn't take much to interfere with them, or damage them. I'd always imagined them to be stretched along most of the throat area.


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Diamondprohydro
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 12:13 PM

Thanks Tangledwood. I will try these and continue to read back posts. I think that most of my problem is allergy related but it is sure frustrating at times not to be able to count on the voice.


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Dec 08 - 05:29 PM

Isn't it indeed!

Just to expand on "ginger" - dry ginger ale is good, and probably easier to drink in quantity than pineapple juice.


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: GUEST,katsube
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:14 PM

Hello everyone!

I hope you can help me. I used to sing a lot when I was younger but then I ad bronchitis and it affected my hearing and my voice quality a lot. Now, it's very hard for to have a "full" voice when singing. Most of the time, my voice sounds like i have a sore throat or something and I have a hard time hitting the tones now. I kind of hear everything a pitch higher that it usually is.

Does anyone have any tips for me on how to resolve this?

Thanks guys!!!


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Alice
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:27 PM

Practice technical exercises every day without straining the voice. Go to a voice teacher or vocal therapist if you can find a good one near you.

Some people avoid dairy products thinking they are bad for the voice, but actually, if your throat feels dry, some cream or milk before singing helps it.

Antihistamines are very drying, so they are often not helpful for the voice, but if you have allergies, usually unavoidable.

Here is some advice from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center voice department. FAQ voice problems


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: GUEST,Matt
Date: 15 Mar 09 - 05:15 PM

i have a problem, i have a really good voice, i mainly sing heavy metal and some alt metal but my voice seems to loose everything, i can get through like to heavy songs but my voice cracks and goes out, is there anything i can drink, take or voice excercises i can do and how often. please help...


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 12:23 AM

James Brown (RIP), used to, before every concert drink a strong warm solution of fresh squeezed lemons in hot water, to clean his vocal chords...then warm up with your vocal exercises....try that


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 03:31 AM

Peggy Seeger always used to drink water, by the pint.
One night as she was coming to the end of the glass, a regular, rather the worse for wear, asked her, "can I get you another gin and tonic?"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Sooz
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 04:46 AM

If any liquid passes your vocal cords you are about to drown!


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 09:38 AM

> i mainly sing heavy metal and some alt metal but my voice seems to loose everything, i can get through like to heavy songs but my voice cracks and goes out

Matt, if you are straining your voice by this manner of singing, no amount of drinks or exercises are going to cure it. Overstress and abrasion damages the vocal cords, and after enough abuse it will become permanent. I would take the cracking as a sign that this is indeed what's happening.

The bottom line is, the only remedy for vocal wear is to stop doing whatever is causing the wear, and give your voice time to heal. If you don't, it will go on getting worse and worse and worse until it finally gives out altogether. If this is the case, the stark choice you face is to either change your style or risk destroying your voice. It may also mean no singing/speaking at all for awhile. I hope it's not too late.

Do please get a specialist to examine you (not just a GP, but someone who is specifically trained in voice issues). Then at least you will know what your situation and options are. All we can give you are general warnings and suggestions, but what you need are hard facts. Of your specific case. From a professional who knows what he/she is looking at.

If there is damage, I can tell you now for free that you will have to stop using your voice until it heals, and the worse it is, the longer it will take. I wish I could write a happier message but this is the bald truth.

If you care about your singing please face up to this problem realistically and do whatever is necessary to allow nature to repair the destruction. No medicine or exercise can make this happen, only time and rest. The very best of luck to you -


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:20 AM

Katsube: your comment about hearing everything a tone higher sounds like a problem I had once - although thankfully only for about a week. I got middle-ear catarrh in one ear, with the result that I was hearing things a semitone sharp in that ear, but at normal pitch in the other. This had some bizzare effects. Violins and wind instruments, and singers seemed to sound ok, but anything plucked or struck sounded awful. There was an orchestral concert on the telly, with a pianist. The orchestra and choir sounded right, but the Steinway sounded like a pub piano. I had a booking with the group I was in at the time, and I managed to tune my fiddle, but had to get somebody else to tune the guitar and mandolin. I couldn't tell whether I was singing in tune or not, although the others told me I was. It may be that the bronchitis you mention has caused this problem. I think it's worth getting an ENT specialist to have a look down your ears.
Hope you can get it put right. John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Brakn
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 05:07 PM

Penny I think I had/have the same problem. Without reading all the replies I'll explain what I think is wrong.

I had this thing where my voice would dry up on certain notes/words. There would be no reason for it - the notes weren't highest I sang. At first this happened occasionally, it was there one week and not the next. It got worse over a few years especially when I was anxious or stressed. What would happen is that I would then try harder to get the note out which would mean that I was using the wrong muscles to force the breath out, which often mean't no sound at all; I would try harder still and probably began to shout! It got to the stage where I couldn't complete a gig. I developed nodules. I know they weren't there before because I did have my throat checked.

I had the op 18 months ago which was the easy part. I am now trying to train my voice into not shouting as I did when I had the nodules. Certain notes/words still cause me problems. I was told that the voice box has a memory and will remember the way you last sang a phrase or note so it's a question of practising and correction.

Why it started in the first place, I don't know. Perhaps I sang when I had a cold or something. It still happens now. I don't know what I'm going to sound like till I start!!

Hope this makes sense and helps.

Michael


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Subject: RE: Voice problem
From: Stringsinger
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 01:29 PM

For a singer, being "pitchy" is a particular problem. I think it stems from not getting enough air to support a tone. The thing that seems to interfere is muscular tension which inhibits the flow of air and the support for the tone. This often comes about by doing unnecessary
things with the facial muscles or spreading the mouth too wide and attempting to force the tone. The solution is to find a good voice instructor but this is not easily done.

Micheal makes sense when he tells you to avoid shouting or belting. This is one of the major causes of vocal damage and affects the ability to stay in tune.

Frank


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Subject: Vocal Health Website - Joanna Cazden
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Nov 09 - 12:38 AM

I came across an interesting vocal health Website called Joanna Cazden: the Voice of Your Life. Cazden says she's "a speech pathologist, singer, voice coach, and teacher." I take it from searching Mudcat that she's also been a folk singer. Anyhow, it's an interesting Website.
-Joe-


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