Accepting Your Voice

Accepting Your Voice

by Alida Annicchiarico
Don’t try to make it sound “pretty” or what you think sounds “pretty”. Use your natural voice, you know, the one that you speak in all day. If you train it effectively, the results can be very rewarding. Let your vocal coach point you in the right direction and guide you towards healthy vocal development. Worrying about what you sound like will take the enjoyment out of singing.

“I want to sound like Chris Cornell or Adele immediately.” Trying to sound like anyone else is a long lost goal since no two voices are alike in timbre. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great impersonators out there who have mastered the art of mimicking. If you’d like to impersonate, then that’s a different path. But if you would like to develop your true voice, sing your own tunes, or even cover some oldies, Speech Level Singing vocal technique can help you maintain good healthy vocals and your style will develop through the technique. You will get to know your voice better and your unique tone shines through as a result, which becomes your “style.”

Trying to change your voice when you go to sing can sometimes do more harm than good. For example, we may try to force the sound through our nose, thinking that’s our “style”. When in fact, the singer’s true voice isn’t nasal naturally. Singing nasal is usually singing with a higher larynx which over time can cause vocal fatigue and may even lead to vocal health problems.
Your voice can and will get better with time and the practice of SLS technique. First off, it requires a lot of patience and acceptance. Secondly, rather than beating yourself up about not sounding “good enough”, go with what singing feels like. If it feels strained or requires a lot of effort, then chances are you’re headed in the wrong direction. You may need some more lessons or practice of the vocal exercises. Lastly, instead of expecting that your voice should automatically be at the same level as someone else’s, a more constructive approach is to focus on your own personal vocal development. Don’t compare your vocal progress to anyone else’s. Accept your voice and work with what you’ve got!

Awesome video from VocalizeU

Check out this awesome video by VocalizeU. It breaks down exactly what I teach, having a low stable larynx and connection from your chest voice up into your head voice. They explain it in such a great way!

Bring on the Tickle

The fall season is upon us and with that comes the fear of colds and flus. That inevitable slight tickle in the throat is clearly a singer’s worst nightmare. Here are 5 hints on how to handle your vocal health in between your voice lessons, gigs and rehearsals:

Drink loads of water: Drinking water or warm clear liquids keeps the vocal cords hydrated and when they are hydrated they can adduct (come together) more easily. There is nothing worse than trying to produce a sound with dry vocal cords. It would be like driving a car without oil. Your vocal cords need lubrication in order for them to have enough agility to adduct and thus produce a sound. Besides, water flushes out toxins so that your body can get rid of the virus faster. “A hem”, stop clearing your throat! Compulsive clearing or grunting causes more irritation to the vocal tissue and can lead to hoarseness. Let water clear your throat for you. Remember it can take several hours before the water that you drink can have any affect on hydrating the cords. So be sure to drink well in advance of your gig.

R&R: Napping in between rehearsals and shows is a must if you feel a cold coming on. The voice is a muscle and it needs rest in order to bounce back again when you get back on that stage. A singer’s obscure schedule tends to make it impossible to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night. Therefore, short naps will give your body a chance to restore itself so that it can have enough strength to fight the germs.

Text or email: A scratchy or hoarse voice is your body’s way of telling you that your vocal cords need rest. Minimal talking in between gigs or rehearsals will contribute to vocal rest. Don’t whisper as this will dry out your vocal cords faster and may cause more stress to your larynx (the muscle that houses the vocal folds) If your voice just isn’t there try one complete day of total vocal rest (zero talking and zero singing) plus water and your voice will ‘thank you’ the following day.

Vocalize: Try a lip bubble every few hours or exercises like hooty ‘Wee’ or ‘Mum’. These are not abrasive and will keep your larynx stable and keep your voice feeling flexible and agile. A dancer stretches throughout the day to keep the blood flowing and their body flexible. “De-stiff” your vocal folds by vocalizing for 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per day on the days leading up to your gig. This will help keep your voice balanced and ready for combat.

Wear a scarf: Cover your instrument, after all, you wouldn’t walk out in the rain without your guitar in its case. If your neck is covered, your vocal cords are warm and they won’t take as long to ‘warm-up’.