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DragonAvenger

Help! I'm losing my voice!

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Not sure if I should put this here, if not, sorry mods!

So, I'm an assistant band director at a high school, and a good deal of my job has me shouting/yelling/projecting my voice. This is especially true now during marching season when we have practices outside.

The problem I'm having doesn't deal with my speaking voice but my singing voice. Simply put, I'm losing it. So far I'm experiencing decreased range, more airiness, and a general loss of tone, but I know that if it continues it'll dissappear entirely.

When I was in high school I had the same thing happen from shouting during hockey matches and other sports in general. It was to the point that I had a difficult time singing anything even in an alto range, and my speaking voice even lowered (those of you who met me in real life would know; My voice is pretty low for a girl).

So, is there anything I can do? I can't really stop the shouting part, though we're going to get a bullhorn for outside, which will help. I don't want to lose my voice, not only because of the difficulty of actually teaching music with no singing voice, but because I love to sing!

Please help!

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DA, perhaps a small megaphone?

Protect your voice first and foremost. Go to a doctor to see if there's anything affecting your voice, and if there's anything you can do about it.

You're one off two female vocalists here, so losing you would be a bad thing.

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Owieee! Sorry I missed your IM earlier. A megaphone could help to a certain extent, but usually people using those things are still yelling... The reason it's hurting your voice isn't solely because of the volume you're producing, however. If you absolutely can't bear to part with the assistant band directorship, at least try to give your orders on a higher pitch; whatever is the most comfortable part of your singing range. You don't have to actually sing them, but speaking as *though* you're singing is a much healthier means of delivery.

Are you familiar with sprechstimme? Think the opera Wozzeck.

Outside of practice, try to rest your voice as much as possible. If you have to speak, again: try to do it at a higher pitch. And drink LOTS of fluids! The pH of apple juice is the same as that of the tissue of your vocal chords, so that's good. Avoid caffeine at all costs; it'll dry you out. Also try not to whisper. Passing air through your vocal chords without actually vibrating them is ickybad.

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I've heard a mixture of water, honey, and lemon can do wonders for your throat when you're projecting your voice. That being said, I'm a loud person naturally, so for the Sci-Fi con we run here, I had to yell a lot. And it made my throat raw. Thus they're giving me a megaphone. Though I may concoct that wonderful watlemoney mix, because if it's anything like last year, I'll be yelling about fighting games a ton.

I'm also a singer, but that's a story for another day.

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Where was the last place you put it? :tomatoface:

Talk to the band director... I wouldn't continue with a job that was seriously detrimental to my well-being. My well-being has to come first and foremost. Perhaps relaying the directions to a large male with a more booming voice... I don't know.

But to me, it sounds that trying to compromise your voice with your job will not end up very well.

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just recently i had travelled to Miami to be a part of the 2 year college national honor choir. i had a red eye flight from california, and when i got there i had pretty much been awake for more then 24 hours. the stress on my body from travel and lack of sleep caused me to get sick...i proceeded to lose my voice. so i drank A LOT of water. by the time of the performance a few days later, i was still sick but i was still able to obtain my full singing range.

SO moral of the story, drink a lot of water.

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Well, this might not be too helpful, but I've found that getting as close to (or more than) eight hours of sleep as possible, will help. Especially in assisting your immune system in its task of keeping you well. Speaking of which, I should probably head off to bed; I'm attempting to conquer that nasty mucous cold thing going around (in my area anyway).

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Much like small rooms and objects have resonant frequencies, you also have one inside your upper chest. If you can find your tone of voice in which it resonates within yourself as the sound waves leave your body, you'll notice your voice will become louder even though you don't put any more energy into it. You'll sound rather monotonous, though.

Edit: Think Megaman with that sound wave powerup in whichever sequel it was. It's the same underlying principle.

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Good advice from SlyGen, only for most women that resonance is in the forehead - not the chest. DA, were you ever taught the distinction between chest voice and head voice? The sprechstimme stuff I mentioned before should resonate up and over your nasal passages, in the forehead. :>

And yes, FLUIDS, REST, GOOD THINGS!

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This is a somewhat related question: does anyone know if there is any special method or whatever to singing/screaming harshly without shredding your vocal cords? I've always wondered how some metal/screamo etc. bands can scream like demons and then right afterwards sing normally.

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Thanks for all the advice, everyone. I'm doing everything I can that was mentioned. We've ordered a megaphone, and I'm trying (man it's hard) to raise my voice when I talk. Fluids I've got covered, and apple juice was promptly aquired. I'm working on drinking tea with lemon and honey, but blegh :(

Pixietricks, I know the basics of the difference between chest and head voice, though I wasn't really shown, so I'm not entirely sure of what's what. I know singing (the higher range) is going to get a resonance in the head, compared to the low notes. The changeover is around D, isn't it?

Hopefully these preventative measures will help. Right now it's not too bad, and if it doesn't get any worse I can be happy with that. Once marching season is over, if nothing else, things will get better.

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I'm working on drinking tea with lemon and honey, but blegh :(

yeah you don't want to drink tea because tea is a diuretic and it will only dry out the vocal folds and nodules.

also the head/chest voice switch is different for every person.

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yeah you don't want to drink tea because tea is a diuretic and it will only dry out the vocal folds and nodules.

also the head/chest voice switch is different for every person.

Interesting. Never knew that tea did that.

Anyway, really cool advice, people. This thread kicks ass.

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yeah you don't want to drink tea because tea is a diuretic and it will only dry out the vocal folds and nodules.

also the head/chest voice switch is different for every person.

Some teas should still be fine. Most herbal teas (rooibos, chamomile, etc.) don't contain caffeine, tannin, or a few of the other common ingredients in black and/or green tea--caffeine is the main reason for it being a diuretic, no? Regardless, everything is secondary to just giving your voice a rest.

I just listened to a couple of your [DragonAvenger's] songs... I'd hate to hear your singing voice give out! I hope it gets better. KF

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Decaf tea should be fine.

Chamomile!

And how effective is just not talking for a little bit? I know some people who do that and I don't know about the rest of you but I have found it is counter productive for me. The more I don't talk, the scratchier I sound when I try to sing (e.g. early in the morning). I guess it differs with every person.

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