Undoing the Damage – A Rock Singer’s Diary part 1

Through a combination of recent illness and neglect, my voice is not what it was.

This was bought home to me when I tried recording some vocals for my second solo album Ironbark. Having set up the mic and warmed up a little I found that although my tuning and range where still there, my stamina and tone have really suffered.

There are lots of things that can affect the voice, general fitness and the state of your throat being the most obvious. Although I'm in the best shape I've been for a few years (Thanks to a wonderful and health conscious better half who has been dragging me along to the gym for the last few months) work has been crazy of late. This has left me fatigued and battling off stress-induced ailments that have gone straight for my throat. In fact I actually lost my voice for a few days in March.

Despite having lost my voice I tried singing a short online set and this really bought home to me how much work I need to do.

So today I start working on my voice properly for the first time in years.

To do this I made use of <a href=http://www.thesingthing.com/exercises.htm> The Sing Thing</a> and the Rock'n'Roll Singer's Survival Handbook.

The First Practice

I started with some breathing exercises, followed by some exercises that work the jaw and lips muscles, then onto some actual singing with some scale based exercises.

Apart from not having the stamina I once (that'll come back with practice) I still sound okay. The middle of lower end of my voice are relatively intact.

The problem at the moment is the higher register, notes above the E above middle C. Whether sung falsetto or with my full voice, this area sounds pretty hoarse.

Which is very annoying because there are a couple of passages on the new album that require the use of that range in a rather exposed fashion. Tommorrow I'll start working on these areas as best I can. Illness and tiredness often take away the top part of your voice first, and this range is currently sounding very ragged and unpleasant. Still, onward and, as they say, upward. More practicing tomorrow.

If you've got some favourite vocal exercises to share, please let me know. Always happy to try out something new.

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