Voice Training: How to avoid damaging your vocal cords

What the Heck is a Nodule?

Yeah, so you have been experiencing some difficulties with your voice during singing that you didn’t have a year ago, and you took the time to research the problems that pro singers run into and…ah, you found the word “nodule". You probably said to yourself, "What the heck is that?"  Well,  a nodule is a callus that forms on the vocal cords.  Just like the calluses that form on your hands if you do yard work for a living, it is a thickening of the tissue that makes it firm and inflexible, and for a singer that is death. By the time you develop a nodule,  the vocal folds refuse to vibrate in the normal way; instead the coordination becomes difficult, too much air is released during phonation, and chronic hoarseness ensues. As a result, the only way to hit the notes you used to be able to hit is to push harder and harder in an effort to make the folds vibrate at the frequency that gives you the high notes. It sounds like shouting, and it will NOT get better until it is dealt with in a professional, therapeutic manner. Answer: proper vocal training!

When you visit the ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) doctor to describe how it “hurts when you sing”,  he will recommend a laryngoscopy; a video observation of the vocal folds using a fiber optic camera on the end of a tube that goes up your nose, through the velopharyngial port and down on top of the vocal folds themselves. By observing from this vantage point, the doctor can determine how the folds are vibrating during phonation, and visually see if a nodule actually exists.  If there is one, the doctor must make a determination on how to deal with it. 90% of the time the doctor will prescribe vocal rest, which means NO TALKING, SINGING, LAUGHING, or other vocal stupidity for a period of 30-40 days. Yeah, how is that going to work for you? ANSWER: It’s not, so DO NOT let this happen to you! And the other 10% of the time he might recommend laser surgery, where he “cuts” the nodule down to a flexible state, which MUST be followed by the same 30-40 day vocal rest period and therapy.  Not looking good so far, right? Answer: proper vocal training!

Ok, just to keep it real, be assured that this will probably not happen to you if you are a casual, once in a while singer… but if you have the talent and determination to be a full time singer, you are at risk to be a victim of this condition IF you are not doing your vocal training singing correctly. I don’t mean singing well, I mean singing correctly.  You’ve seen the headlines; some of our favorite singers of this era are cancelling concerts big time due to vocal problems.  They are amazing, they are selling tons of records, and if you follow the headlines, you know who I’m talking about…. but they are BLOWING IT  by not getting the therapy they need for their instrument. If they’re young and they deal with it professionally, they will be fine.  But if they are set in their ways and unwilling to “compromise their raw talent” by going to a professional trainer, well… there is a list of those who have fallen into this trap. I guarantee you their PR people will not let you know why they have taken an extended vacation from the music scene. Answer: proper vocal training!

So how would you know if you are doing your vocal training improperly and this is happening to you?  Well the first indicator is very simple – if you have to sing LOUDLY to hit the high notes;  if the “break” in your voice forces you to “shout” the high notes to hit them accurately, then you are on your way to trouble. Problem is, in this day and age many amateur singers rely on gigs where they only sing one or two songs, or a very short set that doesn’t really test their vocal stamina.  Yes, vocal stamina.  They shout the high notes and get through the gig, only to find out one day when they have to do an actual concert that their voice will NOT make it to the end. It’s hoarse, sore, and if they’re on the road and have to sing tomorrow night, they’re pretty much up that proverbial creek with no paddle. Answer: proper vocal training!

Again, DO NOT let this happen to you. I have to tell you, I’ve never been much of a salesman; I don’t want to force my thinking on to anyone – but I believe that my purpose in life and my God-given talent is to be a teacher, guiding people like you to realize your dream and full potential when it comes to your vocal training. I’m so passionate about this subject  – because of what I have seen AND EXPERIENCED, that I hired a successful marketing expert to help me get this information to you.  I want you to work your voice the right way; pick songs that YOU CAN OWN and don’t have to compromise your vocal health to perform. And above all, please, listen to the professional trainers that actually care about your vocal health and performance ability and are not just trying to make a buck.  I am one such teacher, and I GUARANTEE that if you study with me and are not getting my concepts, I will keep you on track with email support and access to iChat  or Skype lessons with me.

You can find out more warning signs that you may be damaging your voice, how to avoid them and how you make sure you are training your voice properly by checking out my course, "The Ultimate Voice Training for Singers", at http://www.voicetraining.com. By practicing your vocal training correctly, and using proper vocal training techniques when you sing, you will enjoy healthy, strain-free singing without damaging your vocal chords. Happy Singing, billy p The Vocal Troubleshooter

PS: to check out the program, go to OUR ORDER PAGE

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