I am finding more and more that people are not only singing incorrectly but also just in everyday use of their voice they have picked up bad habits which are potentially damaging their voices.
Here are a couple of quick things to check which may give you an idea if the way you use your voice could be harmful.
Do you lose your voice easily?
Does it take you a couple of days for your voice to be clear after yelling, singing or cheering at a sporting event or concert?
Does your voice hurt when you yell or sing loudly?
Do you find that the muscles in your neck are tight while speaking or singing?
Do you find that you take high breaths in your chest instead of down into your belly?
Do you push from your neck to speak or sing louder?
If you have just said yes to one or a number of these then it is time you had someone assess not only how you are speaking or singing and supporting your voice but also how you breathe whilst doing of these things.
It is important to be reminded that we are born knowing how to speak, laugh, sing, whisper, cry, shout, cough, burp, hiccup in a safe way. A baby spends most of its first year crying as it's form of communication with us, but that baby doesn't lose it's voice from doing so. Next time watch a baby cry and see how their core/belly comes into affect and supports their ability to cry.
We pick up habits easily by trying to be the loudest or mimic another singer that we have heard to sound like them but over time it is not sustainable for our voices. So many singers want to sound just like the recording of another professional singer, but it is impossible to sound just like someone else, they have a different physical make-up, they have probably trained for many years, let alone, it is a professional recording with affects, auto-tune and the opportunity to re-record to get their final product.
Some easy ways to help you keep your voice healthy and strong!
Stay hydrated - it is so important to drink enough water to keep our vocal chords hydrated especially if you talk a lot in your work or you are a singer as we have breath always going through our vocal chords. It is about always having your whole body hydrated as having a mouthful of water before speaking or talking won't do much, so sips throughout the day is best.
Make sure you get enough rest and I am not necessarily talking about sleep, I mean being quiet, letting our voice have a break, relax and recuperate after big workouts of singing and speaking.
Support your voice with your core. Our core comes into play with any extraordinary thing that we do, jumping, balancing, laughing, washing our hair, sneezing and when we talk at length, shout or sing, we need to ensure that our core is supporting that as well and it is not the muscles in our neck, chest, shoulders and jaw that are doing all the work.
Try to stay away from medicinal lozenges, they usually have anaesthetic in them, which will get rid of the pain but in turn you will keep doing the same things that have caused the issue in the first place, therefore they are not a solution to the problem.
Breathe down into your belly. If you are not sure what this means, lie down on your back, relax and watch what happens to your belly when you breath in and out. See how your belly rises when you breath in and how it deflates when you breath out. This is how we breath innately.
If you think that this may be you, then please don't hesitate to contact me and I can give you advice or suggest who to see to get properly assessed.