Most frustrating for me is that once upon a time I had a decent voice, particularly for ballad-type songs. It was untrained and undisciplined but still not bad. Over the last few years, though, it has begun to transform into the dreaded "old man voice"...you know, that big, slow vibrato that makes you want to reach for the earplugs... I'm acutely conscious of it but unable to change the depth or frequency. It seems almost like tremolo, rather than vibrato. Not sure if any of that makes sense, but I figured if anyone understood it would be you. Might you be able to suggest a remedy for the old man voice?
I'm mainly an instrumentalist, so this doesn't impact me much career-wise, and I still seem to do ok with tenor-range backup singing. Anyhow, thanks for listening to my rant. I look forward to your reply.
Sorry you are having this problem.
You could have something called "essential tremor". However, I have found that weird vocal control problems like this usually can be helped by better breath support/control balance. If you can do something to keep your diaphragm stretched wide, you may find that you can control this problem.The fact that you are an instrumentalist also leads me to suspect this is the case.
Try standing at a wall with your head and heel against it. Hold your hands about waist level or higher. Press your fingers into each other in such a way that widens the bottom of your ribcage (where the edges of your diaphragm are connected). Make sure your jaw is flexible, use your pelvic floor or legs for power. Stand tall but flexibly, and try to sing this way. Does that help?
Amazing detail...thank you so much! I'll try it. Also, I'll cut you in on my first million.
HAHA... I'll take you up on that:)
Hi Judy, Don't know if anything can be done about vocal fatigue except to simply not use the voice for a while and be careful in everyday speech. I am trained in classical technique, having sung in college choral, voice lessons in college and all that stuff that I've forgotten much of. I sing country, rock, pop, folk, all the popular songs sometimes 2 or 3 nights in a row, 3 or 4 sets a night. I am careful not to make a mistake and sing in a way to damage my voice, but I get tired and sometimes I loose some of my control and then the next night I am having trouble singing certain songs. What can I do to improve this situation?
Vocal fatigue is absolutely directly related to flawed vocal technique. You are, in all probability, pushing your voice too much. I teach a concept I call 'pulling' the voice by the articulation of the word. Vocal coach Jamie Vendera calls it 'the inhalation sensation'. Rock coach Melissa Cross talks about 'singing above the pencil' in your mouth... which you can't do until you back off your pressure and pull your voice out from above and behind you.
Vocal volume should come from resonation, not excessive air pressure through your cords. You could picture it as not getting your breath on anything in front of you. You need a better breath support/control balance... and an open throat.
You could have posture and body language issues that sabotage your breath and throat configurations. Try singing with your back to the wall, head and heels at the wall. Also, don't hang your hands limply at your sides. "talk with them' to keep your ribs wide.
And this works for classical voice, too; I taught a former screamer, a young boy, to eliminate his vocal strain and he ended up being cast for several big productions, singing up to a high 'c' without a problem in some of them.
You might want to hit me up for at least a 1/2 hour lesson so I can make this personal to you. If you do, let me know.
Thank you so much Judy. Some of this rings a memory bell for me. I would like very much to take a lesson from you when I am in town. I took a guitar lesson from Gary Talley not too long ago with excellent resuts and I am so sure you could help me improve my vocal technique. I am in town this weekend but already pretty heavily booked. I do have some time though. Please send me a message with details/logistics and maybe I can make it happen.
Don, I am about 20 minutes southeast of Music Row. 308 Cody Hill Place, Nashville, Tn 37211.
My fee is $100 an hour ($50 for 1/2 hr). I f you can't fit in in while you're here, I also give lessons nationally and internationally via phone and Skype. To schedule something, just call me 615.347.5195 or email at email@example.com