Did I Do Permanent Damage To My Voice?
Another question has come in from one of my YouTube followers.
This one has to do with a hoarse throat and wondering about permanent damage. Here is what he writes (I’ve corrected a few typos and spelling errors so you can read it more easily):
“I was training for about a year and recently tried a few high notes and may have strained something…I waited a month and still feel a bit hoarse and like my voice is thick….no clarity..really upset..should I brake again or see a throat doctor?? I’m scared I may have done permanent damage…”
Here is what I wrote back to him:
“Without hearing you, it would be difficult for me to advise you. However, I do know this: often the fear of damage will cause even more tightness in the throat area. There are a number of things that you can do to relax the muscles that affect your vocal cords….focus on how you can relax and let go of the fear. I have worked with hundreds of people and find that usually there is not permanent damage done in these types of cases. But, again, I am not a doctor and without hearing you, I cannot say for sure.”
Now here’s the thing. This man who asked the question also confided in me that his voice teacher teaches with an opera style, but he himself likes singing pop style.
He also said that his teacher doesn’t mention head voice or vibrato, and then concluded by saying, “…they say if u can do opera, you can sing anything…”
Opera versus Pop Styles
The question of what style to sing is a common one so I want to write a little bit about it today.
First, let me say that my teaching philosophy regarding opera versus pop is to go with what makes the person feel most happy when singing. After all, it is supposed to be something that gives us joy not fear, right?
However, learning how to sing requires certain techniques that are based on the anatomy of the voice and we cannot really go against the natural laws of that voice anatomy and expect to get very good results.
I think the difference in approach has to do with attitude and a singing mindset.
When I teach people how to sing (and yes, I do take on a few private online students), I always approach their voice with tremendous care and respect, as though their voice is the ONLY voice in the world and needs to be treated like a precious jewel.
That’s because the truth is this: your voice is the only one like it in the world. You cannot go out and buy a new one if you ruin it or don’t like it, and it is more valuable, in my opinion, than much of what we consider valuable in this world.
In other words, your voice must be approached from the stand point that
you are truly the only one who knows what is best for it.
I know….that’s a shocking or peculiar statement for me to make as a master voice teacher. But stay with me here. This is what I mean.
Your voice is inside of you and only you. Not I, nor any other voice teacher, can get inside of your head or into your throat. All we can do is listen, watch, observe and give guidance based on our experiences and training. Ultimately, you are going to have to search deeply inside of yourself in order to find the answers you are looking for.
I believe those answers are already inside of you and you just need someone to help you find them. That’s what I do. I help you find what is best for your voice.
If opera or musical theatre is not your thing but pop, rock, jazz, folk, blues or something is, then utilize the timeless vocal techniques that work no matter what style you like and apply it to your own personal style of singing and the unique voice that is yours and yours alone.
And if you want more personal help from me, leave a comment below that says, “Joy, I need more help with my singing voice,” and explain what kinds of problems you are having.