Wednesday, March 13, 2013
DOES YOUR VOICE CRACK?
Voice cracks or voice breaks are curable. If your voice is not fully developed, you may feel like you have a high voice, a low voice, and a space between where the sound abruptly changes. You can sing above the break. You can sing below the break but you cannot sing at the break. The break is not actually a break, or even a crack. It is the passageway between chest voice and head voice (and vice versa) but maybe you haven't learned to navigate that treacherous passageway. In the passageway you feel you have no control and you have to flip up or flip down to get to a place of stability and control. It can be really frustrating! I used to have that problem. I know how I felt. Hated it!!! So, if you yell or scream out the notes you might have so much swelling that you have no voice the next day or even in the same day. I had that happen once. It was terrifying. I couldn't make a sound. The following day, it still wasn't right. If you're real unlucky, you'll blister your vocal cords (vocal folds) and blisters can turn into callouses and those are called nodules. Those bumps keep your vocal cords from closing properly and then you have NO high notes and you sound raspy until you do something to handle the nodules. Some people call them "nodes", but that is not the correct word. Nodes are glands, such as those in the body's lymphatic system. If you do not retrain your voice, even after a long vocal rest (or surgery), the nodes can come back, so to speak. You actually just make new ones. Surgery may leave scar tissue and it does not vibrate the same way as normal tissue. So, you've been forewarned. There are some singers who have just sung through their cracks. (Not their butt cracks!) Or, they have sung "across" the break and they make it work. It's not my preferred sound, but they did okay with it. One is Phoebe Snow and the other is Sarah McLachlan. You'll hear some country singers do this, but if you try this in most other styles, goodbye! Yodeling is singing across the crack, back and forth. When you have learned some coordination and control, you can control your voice so that it feels and sounds like you have one voice, not two or three! I paid $175 an hour to learn to stop the break in my voice, comfortably and effortlessly. How many hours? It was about 100 lessons. In the 70th or 80th, it was obvious it was going to work. Stability took a little more time. These were not weekly lessons. Many were every day. There is a man in Hollywood, who is said to be charging $400 an hour. Is it worth it? To go from a lame voice to one which can leap and dance about a song, it could be worth it. To have a professional career that lasts for a lifetime it could be worth it. One lesson won't get you there, unless you are an Italian man, but that is a whole different story. Maybe next time.
Posted by Chuck Stewart, Vocal Coach at 11:51 AM