Singing loud and hard to build your voice is vocal death. If you’re a singer who’s trying to build a powerful voice by singing or practicing loud and hard, you need to watch this.
I’m Chuck Gilmore, International Vocal Coach and Founder of Power to Sing and the Second Nature Singing System.
You want to have a powerful singing voice, right? The problem is too many singers think they build their voices the same way you build your biceps…through long, hard workouts with heavy weights.
I believed that too. It seems logical. The more weight you can lift, the stronger the muscle, or, in this case, the louder and harder you practice singing, the stronger and more powerful your vocal cords and your singing voice become.
Martial arts master, Bruce Lee, a perfect example
But it’s not true. Martial arts master, Bruce Lee, is a perfect example. He discovered heavy weights made his body big, but he couldn’t function…he had no agility.
From the website, “Workout Like Bruce Lee”, it’s reported
“Bruce … wasn’t happy with the functionality of the additional [muscle] mass.
Not much attention is paid to the connective tissues, like ligament and tendon strength. Well, Bruce’s thing was ‘let’s build up the connectors and we won’t worry so much about the size of the muscle.’ Again, Bruce was about function.” – Jesse Glover, Bruce Lee’s first US martial arts student.
Bruce Lee trimmed down the bulky muscle and lost 35 pounds, yet he became much stronger.
In like manner, your singing voice is not developed to its full potential, by pushing it to its limit. Loud and heavy vocalizing builds the extrinsic muscles surrounding your vocal cords. That extra tension squeezes the vocal cords, making it impossible for them to vibrate freely and easily.
Famous singer, Steven Tyler, has had multiple surgeries on his vocal cords. Why? Singing loud and hard with the outer neck muscles squeezing the vocal cords.
British singer, Adele, has had two vocal hemorrhages and surgeries on her vocal cords. Why? Loud and hard singing.
Why singing loud and hard to build your voice is vocal death
There are many other examples of loud and hard singers who have suffered vocal injury and vocal death whose singing career ended early.
This is why I said singing loud and hard to build your voice is vocal death.
There is a better way to build vocal power!
Seth Riggs, vocal coach of the stars for 40 years, said in his book, “Singing For the Stars”,
“Most Singers use excessive muscular effort when they sing.”
“Whenever you use your outer muscles to control your voice in any way, you prevent the free vibration of your vocal cords inside your larynx… The result is a labored and unbalanced sound.”
“You must first eliminate any outer muscle activity that interferes with your tone. If you try to sing too loudly…too soon, your outer muscles will never give up their pulling and tightening reflexes.”
“… The ability to increase the loudness of your tone will come by itself, after the coordination of your vocal muscles has been established.”
“Coordination and strength are most easily developed by doing special exercises…(Singing For the Stars, pps, 31, 38-39)
Steps to develop strong and powerful voice
How do you develop a strong and powerful voice without suffering vocal death or injury?
Here are 3 steps:
Step 1. Do special exercises to eliminate tension from the extrinsic neck muscles. You want to do exercises that change the bad habits you’ve developed over the years.
For example, I used to pull my chest voice and raise my larynx too high. [Demo] By just learning to do one special exercise, I could sing from chest to head voice without straining. I’ll show you this in just a moment. In order to know which exercises will help you the most, take a simple vocal test and discover your vocal type.
I’ve developed a simple but effective test which you can get right here.
Step 2. After taking the vocal test and discovering your vocal type, get the exercises for your vocal type. These exercises are designed to eliminate the tension caused by the outer muscles which are not part of making pitch, but that interferes with the free vibration of your vocal cords.
For example, if your vocal type is Pulled Chest – High Larynx, you want to get the exercises for that vocal type because they’ll help you reverse bad habits and retrain your nervous system so you can sing without the outer muscles squeezing your larynx higher.
Watch this video to learn more about the four different vocal types. See if you can tell which one seems more like your voice.
Step 3. Practice the exercises 15-30 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week. You don’t have to do the exercises loud and hard. It’s best to do them at medium volume and as demonstrated. I’m going to show you the exercise I mentioned. If you do them loud and hard, among other things, you’ll reinforce bad habits instead of building balance and coordination of the vocal cords. This frees your vocal cords to develop unencumbered power.
I’m asked almost daily how a singer corrects specific problems in their voices, like how to sing higher, or stronger, or without breaks or flips, or with a more consistent mix and head voice.
Next to private lessons, doing designer exercises for your vocal type is the best and fastest way.
Designer Exercises is a vitally important element of Pillar One in the Second Nature Singing System.
Many of you have already begun using the Fast Track Vocal Type Exercises. Let me know of your successes in the comments section.
I remember where I was when I first did this exercise that got me into my head voice without straining or breaking. To begin with, I was traveling in my car practicing with a cassette tape. I was on an overpass near my home, getting ready to enter the freeway onramp.
Very quietly with a little cry or pout in my voice I sang. Now that may not seem like much to you, but to me it was a miracle. I’d never come close to doing that, with a connected tone without straining or breaking. Suddenly at age 43, I did something that I thought was impossible for me to do with my voice.
Similar things are going to happen to you too!
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Singing loud and hard
Singing loud and hard to build vocal strength puts you on the sure road to vocal injury and vocal death. Even though surgery on vocal cords has improved over the years, there’s no such thing as a “routine” surgery on anything and certainly not the vocal cords.
The best surgeons sometimes get poor outcomes on the best singers. Think Julie Andrews.
It’s far better to train the voice to be powerful and strong with special exercises designed for your vocal type. This will preserve the health of your vocal cords throughout your lifetime while you’re building and thriving in your singing career.
If you liked this video, please give it a thumbs up, comment, and share it with a fellow singer.
I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power to Sing. For you, singing can be second nature.
Thanks Marina. Simple doesn’t always mean easy. It’s incredible how long it can take to let go of old habits and develop new ones that actually help. Especially if they are counterintuitive like do less to get more from your voice.
I’m so inspired by singing and now I’m trying to develop a strong and powerful voice but it is truly difficult to find a really effective technique to implement it. I’m so glad that I came across your article and found these methods because they seem so laconic and effective at the same time. I’m certain that it is not right to complicate this process and it is so incredible how three ways can help you to make your voice powerful. I absolutely agree with you that it is truly important to change your bad habits because it can contribute to a huge progress in all spheres of life. But it is truly not easy and such specific exercises and a special practice, that are mentioned in the first step, can be a really good way to deal with it and improve your vocal performance. Also, I think that it is truly important to take the test to determine your particular vocal type because it can help you to pick up the most suitable and effective technique.