Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I've been singing for along time. I'm 16 right now and I've never had a vocal coach because we just cannot afford it and I really want one but we can't get one so I've learned that to sing healthily you have to breathe from your diaphragm so I've been really trying to do that.  At first it was a little uncomfortable but it started to feel better and  I read that is how it is. So I've done breathing exercises and my ribs and back expand and my shoulders don't lift sounds like everything is perfect right? But when I sing my throat starts to feel a little sore and my voice gets kinda husky so I stop drink some water and after about 10 minutes it goes away my vocal range is like from d3-g7 and I know all about mid, head and chest voice I've done vocal exercises but why does my throat feel sore after I sing? I've tried not to strain and stay relaxed. What am I doing wrong? I do belt but I made sure I was relaxed when doing it and what I really am confused about is after I sing my voice is shaky and throat is sore.  I really need some help and I wish I could get a coach but I can't right now.  Please help me understand.

Joanna Lott, M.A., CCC-SLP replies...

I applaud your efforts to use good singing technique without the luxury of a vocal coach. Without actually hearing and seeing you sing, it is hard to know what you might be doing that leads to your complaints. My advice is to find a singing teacher who works on a sliding scale (charges a fee based on your income) or who is willing to work in trade (voice lessons in exchange for lawn mowing or dog walking), or find a vocal performance major at a university who is required to teach for credit. Some of these options may be affordable. There are also many community choirs or church choirs with gifted singers who might be able to offer you some help. But if you want to sing professionally – and especially if you are already running into difficulties – it is important that you find a good voice teacher. Meanwhile, it sounds like you understand some of the basic concepts of healthy singing, such as proper breath support and placement. But these are complicated concepts that change with pitch, volume, and style. Belting, for example, requires very different airflow, air pressure, laryngeal positioning, and support or anchoring than classical singing. These are the things you learn from experience and from working with a good voice teacher. If your complaints continue, I recommend that you be seen by a laryngologist and SLP specializing in voice. Best of luck!

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