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How to Protect Your Singing Voice

ArtistWorks Bluegrass Vocals instructor, Michael Daves, shares his top tips for protecting your singing voice. 

 

ArtistWorks Bluegrass Vocals school offers a series of lessons titled the “technique corner.” In part, Michael Daves uses these lessons to share critical tips and insights on protecting your vocal health. We’ve compiled some helpful tips from Michael to keep top of mind while you practice:

 

Remember that the voice is an instrument, but it’s also part of your body. 

 

Unlike physical instruments that are put away at night, your voice is part of your body. You have to care for your voice like you care for muscles during athletics. Similarly, care for your voice as you’d have to care for a physical instrument (like keeping it humidified in the winter). 

 

Warm up your entire body before you sing. 

 

Your body supports your voice, so it’s important to prepare your entire body before you practice or perform. Michael recommends a physical warm up; your warm up can be unique to you (whatever gets you centered, relaxed, and aligned in your body). 

 

Michael’s routine? He starts by putting his arms straight above his head, then he lets his body fall forward (allowing his body to hang towards the ground). He shakes his arms to loosen his torso, then slowly comes back to a standing position (one vertebrae at a time). To take this warm up to the next level, you can do a vocal sigh as you dive forward. 

 

Prepare your jaw before singing to avoid strain and locked jaw. 

 

Massage the muscles around your jaw before singing. Michael recommends massaging until you feel the muscles in your face noticeably relax. Imagine your jaw as a seperate piece of your face, and let it fall. Do your best to make your jaw feel “heavy,” allowing gravity to pull on your jaw. If you achieve that sensation, you’ll know that you’d successfully relaxed your jaw before singing. 

 

Make some noise! (aka vocal falls). 

 

In Michael’s words, just go “ahhhhhh.” You can consider this sound a sigh or a yawn. By doing this sighs at different pitches, you can slowly explore your range. These practices help you get your vocals “light and open” before singing. 

 

Identify an appropriate volume, and don’t go louder!

 

When singers perform, they often feel the need to compete with live instruments and other noises in the space. In these instances, the instinct of most singers is to just sing louder! Michael cautions you: never go beyond your limit. When you sing louder than you intended, you’ll experience harmful consequences: you’ll lose your pitch, strain your voice, and cause serious damage to your vocal health. 

 

Michael’s advice: when things get loud around you, don’t fight it! Good performance etiquette means that other performers should adjust their volume to you; ask your co-performers to play at your volume. 

 

Have a question about vocal health that we didn’t cover? Join ArtistWorks Bluegrass Vocals school with Michael Daves. Michael offers personal feedback to each student, and is happy to answer any additional questions you may have. 

 

Not ready to take the leap and join? Access free sample lessons from Michael.

 

 

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