Hoarse Voice From Singing

hoarseness from singingDo you get a hoarse voice from singing?

I gave a Skype singing lesson tonight and my student and I were doing a serious session about the singing tongue.

We did a few tongue exercises and then we reviewed a little bit from my first singing tongue lesson post, mostly using the photo below the crazy “I Can Has Cheeseburger” type cat at the top of the post.

We talked about the importance of the tongue and how it can muffle the sound of the voice if it is pulled back in the throat, forcing the epiglottis down so that the vocal cords then have to work harder to get the sound out of the body.

And that led us to the subject of what causes hoarseness from singing.

I have articles about that subject, but I wanted to find something more visual, more alive for her to relate to.

So I did a quick YouTube search and found this very informative video made by Dr. James Thomas, M.D. in which he does a great job of clearly explaining how a person can get a hoarse voice from singing.

It is so good that I decided to post it here for you.

After my student watched the video, she was blown away it. She said that she always thought that a hoarse voice came from singing too long.

Many people think that way, but it is simply not the case.

Here is what I told her:

So you have discovered that the voice doesn’t get hoarse from over singing but rather from not knowing how to use the breath properly to support the tone, or from too much tension in the back of the tongue, right?

It can get hoarse from over-singing if you mean by pushing the voice to try and sing “over” the hoarseness or the tightness, yes?

So it is not from singing too much but from not singing with a technique that helps you free up the tension in and around the vocals so they do not get overtaxed, right?

It was cool to listen to her response to this video that I just had to embed the video here for you own discovery of why you might be getting hoarse from singing.

The good news is that you don’t have to get hoarse from singing!
You don’t have to get vocal polyps!

{ 75 comments… add one }
  • billy budapest ,

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been singing for 30 years. I have a pretty high voice and sing in clubs, etc.
    I have struggled for YEARS over stamina. I can sing 2 nights fine. The third gives me problems but isn’t impossible. A 4th in a row is impossible. My shows are about 4 hours a night and I sing 90% of the tunes. I’ve had lessons forever. I’ve also tried many of the “programs” out there. I still have stamina issues. The Phlegm sensation is something that I have a lot of, but I’ve been to a few doctors now and they’ve scoped me and have told me my chords are fine. Not sure what else would cause it, but I do know that it’s way frustrating.

  • Joy ,

    Hi Billy,

    Wow! 4 hour singing gigs! That’s a lot of work! Hats off to you for doing it.

    And thanks for being so open with me about your voice.

    I’m glad that you have had doctors verify that there is nothing wrong with your cords, so you are doing something right, otherwise you’d have trouble there.

    So, let’s break this down into your 2 issues: stamina and phlegm

    First, let me ask you some questions about the stamina problem:

      • How well are you resting at night?
      • Do you eat a lot of bread/sweets/processed foods/fast foods/soda/alcohol?
      • How much exercise do you do every day?
      • Is that exercise done indoors or outdoors
      • Do you get a lot of fresh air or go walking out in the sunshine?

    Now some questions about the phlegm problem:

      • Do you eat or drink milk products?
      • Do you smoke?
      • Do other people smoke in the clubs where you work?
      • Do you have any allergies that you are aware of?

    A lot of stamina and phlegm problems center around the things I’m asking you questions about. So, get back to me on this and we can take things a step at a time.

    Again, thanks for your questions and your trust in asking me about these important issues.


  • billy budapest ,

    I sleep OK. Some nights better than others. I perform at least once a week, and so after the performance, I’m usually fairly wired and have trouble getting to sleep. Been taking Melatonin or a half of a xanax maybe once a week.

    Sweets and Soda- I finally got off of a 2 bottle a day of Mt. Dew habit and have switched to non-caffeinated sodas. I still do have a few sodas a day.

    Processed foods, probably. We eat out a lot, though not really burgers and things like that.

    I don’t exercise much. I work a day job, play in 3 bands and also have another job that I work from home at.

    I live in Seattle. It rains constantly. Not a lot of outside exercise.

    I don’t do a lot of dairy. I might have a very small bowel of ice cream every few days. No milk though. Cheese is probably something I get a lot of, but I’ve not had any today of either of those and I still feel the need to clear my throat.

    Don’t smoke. Don’t drink. Only one club I’m at has smoke in it. Haven’t been there in a bit. The rest are non-smoking.

    Not sure about the allergies. Dust I would say for sure. Might be better to do this via email as then I can be a bit more frank. I’d rather people locally didn’t pick up on this, though the Mt. Dew thing’ll give it away to may friends. Hahaha!

  • Joy ,

    Glad to hear you are off the Mt. Dew. I know it might be hard, but if I were in your shoes, I’d get off soda all together. It’s just not good for the voice. Something in the chemicals that are used.

    That being said, I think that getting rid of excessive phlegm is best done by the process of elimination, meaning, try not eating any dairy at all, including cheese or ice cream, etc. for a week and see if it helps.

    If it does not help, then eliminate something else, like any wheat products. Many people do not do well with the gluten that is in wheat and there is a lot of wheat in a lot of food other than bread, cereal and pasta.

    I would try experimenting so you become more aware of what your body is trying to tell you.

    Ok, so no outdoor activity. I used to live in Alaska and came to Seattle to get some light, so you can image how tough it was up there! How well I remember no outdoors for long stretches of time, except to dash outside to scrape ice and snow off the car and turn on the engine heater so I could get the car started!

    Back to your voice and the stamina thing.

    When you use the word stamina, do you mean that you are getting hoarse at the gigs?

    I should have asked that in the previous comment.

    And about emails, I usually don’t do that, but we can keep this generic. No privacy type issues because of what you mentioned about the local people in your area. The thing that I have found over my years of helping people is that the more transparent they can be and I can be, the more I can help them.

    You don’t have to write anything that you are uncomfortable about. I can still help you with every bit of knowledge that I have that is possible to give.

  • billy budapest ,

    Cool. I was actually going to send you some clips, but that’s fine. I don’t get hoarse during the gigs, unless it’s a screamer song, which I don’t do much of, but even that’s not a big deal to me. By “stamina” I mean that I do good the first night. Better the second night (though my talking voice can feel a bit fatigued before I walk on), and then the third night in a row, I really REALLY have to mess with my voice (LOTS of warming up, teas, voodoo, etc.) and I can usually get through it and do well. There are times where I struggle with that third night. 4th night would probably be out of the question.

    There’s no “pain” in any of this. Just have to push more to get the notes and it compounds. Recently, because I’ve been sick recently and also working my voice a lot trying new things, I will get a bit of tenderness around my larynx, but it’s just the muscles outside of it and it doesn’t seem to really get in the way of my singing. It’s probably from trying to keep the larynx down, which I struggle with sometimes.

    As far as material it’s anything from The Beatles, Prince, Queen, Styx, Michael Jackson and more. Pretty rangy stuff some of it.

    Yeah, today, I’ve actually made the decision that I need to get off the soda. That’s kind of been the constant in my life for years. I just love it. I need something to replace it and I’m NOT a big fan of water. I only drink it when I know I’ve got a long week ahead vocally. It just doesn’t do anything for me. I’ve also heard that about wheat, but okay- No wheat, No Soda, No sugar– um… then what? (rhetorical question there!)

  • Joy ,

    There’s no “pain” in any of this. Just have to push more to get the notes and it compounds.

    Whenever someone tells me that they have to push more to get the notes out, I start asking questions about the way they use their singing tongue.
    So, tell me, when you warm up your voice, what is happening with your tongue? Is it pulled back, is it forward, is it tight, loose, relaxed? Where is it and what is it doing?

    trying to keep the larynx down, which I struggle with sometimes.

    The tongue again.

    Tell me about your singing tongue. Your awareness of what is going on with it when you sing.

  • billy budapest ,

    I have no idea… Seems to be in there, doing it’s tong-ee thing. 😉
    Doesn’t feel tight or anything that I’ve ever noticed…

  • Joy ,

    Ok.Is the tip of your tongue forward? Touching your lower teeth or inside your lower lip?
    Have you explored anything on this page?

  • billy budapest ,

    Yeah, I had looked at that page before I replied. It looks interesting.

  • Joy ,

    Good. Now, based on what you read or saw about the tongue, can you feel the lower part of your tongue muscle when you are singing? Or the tip of the tongue? As you know from the articles, the idea is to become more and more aware of what your tongue is doing so that you can exercise it is various ways in order to make it work for you in the most powerful ways possible. That’s why I keep honing in on what you are aware of about what your tongue is doing. Get in front of a mirror and experiment with it.

  • billy budapest ,

    Thanks Will Do.

  • lisa ,

    Is there any reversing or help with this situation of being hoarse. This tells me why but that’s all…

  • Joy ,

    Hi Lisa,

    The quick answer to your question is YES!
    Yes, you can reverse hoarseness. It is basically a 2-step process.

    • Vocal rest until the swelling that most often causes horses goes down
    • Retraining how you use your voice
    • That’s the simplified answer. Once you wrap your mind around those two things the rest is not as hard as it might seem.


  • Rick ,

    I am the lead MC/vocalist for a hip hop band. For years I’ve struggled with going hoarse after just a few songs, and find myself straining to push through the rest of the set. It’s been very frustrating and takes me out of my zone. I don’t drink soda, but I do drink beer. I eat pretty healthy for the most part. I don’t exercise as much as I should. I try to get out for fresh air as much as possible but it’s been tough lately with the winter weather. I have an important gig coming up this weekend and would like to prevent this issue form happening if possible. I was going to try some of the warm up exercises that you suggested and was also recommended by a friend to use the “Throat coat” tea before performing. Any other tips or suggestions?

  • Joy ,

    Hi Rick,

    Thanks for writing. Throat Coat is good. You can also take a slice of raw ginger and suck on it today and tomorrow and before the gig.

    That being said, however, the problem you describe sounds like it is a vocal technique issue and correcting it will take more than herbal tea or ginger. If you would like me to help you solve your hoarse voice problem, I would be glad to do so. I’ve helped many many vocalists to approach their singing technique in ways that promote a healthy voice rather than a hoarse one.

    A thought for you from one of my former singing teachers: “When you sing with correct technique your voice actually sounds better after a couple of hours of singing rather than worse.”

    I have found this to be true and continue to pass on my knowledge to those who love to sing and want to sing without becoming hoarse.

    Since you have the gig right away, do what you can to release the tone rather than push it out then get back to me after the gig and let’s explore ways that I can help you further.

    A final thought: you don’t have to be hoarse after you sing. You truly do not have to settle for the awful feeling of struggle and defeat because of hoarseness. Instead, trust me when I tell you, you can find great pleasure and power from having a free voice that will enable you to express yourself with more power than ever before and WITHOUT the fear of hoarseness getting in your way.

    Meanwhile, focus on having a relaxed voice while you sing and on what you are going to do differently in the future to prevent hoarseness before it begins.

    All my best,

  • Rick ,

    Hi Joy,

    Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I apologize for taking so long to get back you though. My gig on Saturday went well for the most part. I tried the tea and ginger remedies and they both seemed to help out. I still managed to go hoarse a little toward the end of my set though. I may have strained my chords after doing a song that required me to rap and sing loud and fast. I have to agree with you, that I’m probably not using the correct techniques when I perform. My voice is rapsy and growling at times when I rap. Also, I’m usually a reserved and shy guy when off stage. Do you think that has anything to do with me not being able to perform freely? To point it effects the way I perform?

  • Joy ,


    Bravo! You are digging deeply to find the answers you need for your voice and absolutely asking the right questions. I love that!

    I think you are spot on about your character on and off stage, so here is an article and mp3 interview about your authentic singing voice that I think will help you.

    After you devour that, consider getting my book that people claim have helped them in deep and unexpected ways. Here’s the link to the book so you can check it out.

    Meanwhile, keep asking me questions because that is the way you will find your answers.

    Sing well, be well,

  • hi! I am in select chorus and my voice tends to her raspy and I have to clear it a lot and then sometimes I can’t even sing for like a minute
    or it’s really raspy! How can I make this
    go away and improve my singing?

  • get *

  • Joy ,

    Hi Seanna,

    Thanks for writing to me about your raspy or hoarse singing voice.

    When you say you have to “clear it” can you explain to me exactly what the means? Do you mean that you have a lot of music or phlegm that is getting in the way? Or something else?


  • Like mucus

  • And it will go away and come back immediately and it doesn’t let me reach my full potential signing

  • Joy ,

    Hi Seanna,

    If it is mucus that is the problem then I need to ask you some questions about the types of foods you eat. Often excess mucus is caused by what we eat. Can you tell me about the kinds of foods you eat and the things you drink?


  • Danny ,

    I’m a teacher by profession who has always practiced singing on the side. I’ve had some very annoying problems since I’ve started classical singing classes, as I find that my voice gets very quickly strained when I’m required to sing in my low range voice (like use my Adams apple) . I am a countretenor and I do not feel strained or hoarse after singing high but since I am now working on developing my full male voice I am required to use my low voice to hit higher notes and I get strained and hoarse really fast. I also use more air with my full male voice even at the same volume as falsetto. Help? (I don’t drink alcohol or soda and I do get out and exercise every day.)

  • Joy ,

    Hi Danny,

    Thanks for being so open about your voice and the problems that you are encountering.

    I’m not surprised that you are experiencing hoarseness. I don’t know the approach that your teacher is taking, but I had a lot of classical vocal training and discovered over the years of performance and teaching that one of the most crucial concepts that needs to be taught is that the voice is one voice… not several voice registers.

    This article will explain it better than I can in a short reply here. Read it and then make a comment at that page and we’ll go from there. I believe that I can help you, as I have so many others, with this crucial understanding.


    Meanwhile, focus on releasing any tension that you can feel in your throat, and do all you can to relax you tongue when you are singing.

    There’s more, but start with the article above and let me know if it helps you.


  • ken ,

    Hello…I am ken..am 22 years old and I have been sing since I remember but I have this problem..I get hoarse after such a such time of singing…I go for choir rehearsal and b4 an hour of singing I am already sore… It pains me to see other singings like me having long singing times…even after rehearsals they are still able to sing both high and low…my voice gets restored after a period of quietness or sleep too so please what can I do to stop this soreness and elongate my singing time

  • Liv ,

    I study voice at my university and for the past 3 lessons I’m very hoarse before my lessons are over ( lessons are about 45 min each) after my last one I barely had a voice and it hurt to talk and. If I rest my voice the talking sounds a little better but my throat still hurts, Even when practicing, And being a soprano singing arias isn’t helping and during my last lesson on the high notes my voice was cutting in and out. I know i need to rest my voice, and not whisper, for a little but any advice?

  • Joy ,

    Hi Liv,

    Thanks for writing to me. Being a soprano who also studied arias, I know this: you should never be hoarse after a lesson! If you are, I would like to know what the teacher is telling you to do.

    One of my most influential teachers told me this: “When you vocalize, your voice should not get more hoarse after an hour’s worth of singing (or 2 hours+), but more flexible and fluid.” And she showed me why that is true by carefully guiding me higher and higher without any strain whatsoever. The moment she sensed any strain, she immediately stopped whatever we were doing and taught me more of the principles for effortless singing.

    I had other teachers who pushed me too high and I would get hoarse. Those teachers did not have the amount of knowledge or personal performance experience that the other one did, which it did.

    It was a no-brainer: either risk getting polyps on my vocal cords because of the lack of effective teaching techniques from one teacher, or make sure that my voice became stronger, more powerful, more fluid, more beautiful, higher (and lower) without the slightest bit of strain with the other teacher.

    We are working with muscles here, delicate muscles, at that. Hoarseness results from pushing out the breath too hard, having a tight tongue and jaw, going too high too soon, etc. It is the job of a vocal instructor to prevent hoarseness, not cause it.

    Please stay in touch with me about this issue. I’ve worked with lots of people and never do I advocate forcing the voice to go up higher unless the person is ready for it. And even then, I will only encourage someone to approach higher notes in small increments by utilizing vocal techniques built on time-honored principles that DO NOT produce hoarseness.

    I do not mean to criticize your teacher, but something isn’t right here and it doesn’t sound like it is your fault.


  • Joy ,

    Hello Ken,

    My apologies for taking so long to get back to you. Your comments were hidden within a bunch of spam comments, and so I didn’t see them until today.

    Hoarseness is caused by too much tension. Think of a muscle strain in your arm if you lift heavy weights for long periods of time before you have built up the arm muscles to be able to handle the stress load.

    In singing, tension can be cause by any number of things: forcing the breath out too fast and hard, a tight jaw or tongue, reversed breathing, etc.

    There are a number of techniques to increase the strength of your staying power with voice, but I recommend that you start with 2 things first:

  • Your breathing techniques
  • Relaxing your jaw and tongue
  • You can use these to help yourself for free:
    Slow Leaky Tire
    The Dog Pant

    Also, follow the links in those articles and find more info and help. And if you have not signed up for my 10 FREE YOUR VOICE QUICK TIPS, do it now!

    And stay in touch me, ask questions, like this page and the site, etc. It takes a community to help one another!


  • James ,

    Hey joy…..last year I hav been indulged with my colleagues in singing …and in that enjoyment sang at high pitch..nd since then..I don’t know what’s wrong with my voice…I become hoarse after about 2-3 songs….also speaking makes me sore…….I went to the doc …he says my chords are in perfect shape…everything is fine!!…..still I don’t know what’s wrong with me…I am scared is it permanent damage..is there a thing like permanent damage…please help

  • Sophie ,

    Hi Joy,

    I just turned 19 and have been singing in various choirs and show choirs since the 4th grade. I’ve learned from teachers along the way how to lift my soft pallet to resonate tone (which they described as the proper mechanics for singing). I’m almost certain that I’m doing it correctly, because I can tell the difference between the way I sing now and the way I used to sing, with the soft pallet lifted.

    For some reason, after about 10-20 minutes of any type of singing I start to lose my voice, and sometimes start to feel phlegmy. I used to have terrible pain in my throat randomly (probably caused from trying to use my voice even when it was starting to hurt), so I went to an ENT. She said that my vocal chords looked good, but the area behind them was enflamed and recommended I get checked for acid reflux. I got tested for acid reflux, but the test came back negative, leaving me completely stumped. I’ve been facing the voice hoarseness for about 3 years now and the problem hasn’t gone away. I’m really not sure what to do about it at this point because I love to sing, but can’t commit to anymore choirs with a voice that’s so unreliable.

    I’ve cut dairy and sugar from my diet almost entirely, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink soda, I get a decent amount of sleep at night, I exercise multiple times a week, and I drink lots of water. Do you have any other suggestions for things I could try?

    Thank you,


  • George ,

    I just wanted to say thank you for the help you provide! I have also trouble when singing, i go hoarse after 1 to 1,5 hours and sometimes when speaking carelessly – loud and for long time. I will read what you suggested at the previous posts and come back if i still got problems.

    Again a big thank you for your help, wish you the best!

  • Joy ,

    Hi George,

    You are most welcome and thanks for your encouraging words.

    Keep me posted and be sure to look at these articles on breathing too, because how you use your singing breath can contribute to hoarseness while singing.

    Sing well, be well!

  • Joy ,

    Hi Sophie,

    I’m sorry to hear that you are having such a rough go of this throat problem. It can especially discouraging when doctors do not find the root cause of the problem and therefore do not know how to treat the problem.

    Before I try to help yo (and I most willing to do that), I need to say that am not a doctor, nor do I have any medical training, and so cannot give any medical advice to you.

    That being said, let’s see what we can do together.

    First, can you specify the very specific area that is inflamed by going to this page and identifying it? Or did your doctor give you the exact term for the area that is inflamed? Locate it on this page from one of the 2 images and then tell me what it is. Then we can go from there.

    Meanwhile, read this article if you have not yet read it. It also has to do with getting help for singing hoarseness.

    And be sure to absorb everything you can on my site.


  • Joy ,


    My apologies for not getting back to you sooner. My website was hacked and it took longer than expected to get it back up and running even to the point where it is now.

    I understand your fears about hoarseness and permanent damage because I too have had those fears in the past.
    Here are 2 articles to help you.

    I am here to help so stay in touch.

  • C ,

    Hi joy. same issue here.. im a member of a chorale group and singing as soprano.but I dont feel that there’s need to clear out (like phlegm)but my voice seems to get raspy or bubble like sounds just before our rehearsals..
    Im 23 yrs old and i did stop 2yrs singing as soprano and leave choir group.. and when i get back my voice is not the same as the way i sing before..

    Before i became being one of sopranos and discovered my own talent that i can sing headtones.. My co-members says that i look so confident to sing higher notes while i didnt even notice and feels like nothing.. just relaxed comfortable even were not yet starting on our vocal exercise.

    I dont smoke, i dont drink alcohol, i love sweets but i didnt always ate those.

    I am so frustrated to my voice now because of that “bubbles” like sounds when singing falsettos.. i am ashamed when were starting to vocalize on our rehearsals it is obvious and loud being heard from other choir members.
    Please suggest anything can help. Thanks a lot! 🙂

  • Laura ,

    Hi! I looked at the video and I was just trying to figure out what was it suppose to help me with. Im struggling with the hoarseness of my voice every time I sing just one song. I do my vocal practices before because I was asked to and it’s the same outcome. And by the time I’m ready to sing I can’t even feel the power in my voice, it’s really frustrating

  • Joy ,

    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for writing about the hoarseness that is happening when you sing just one song. I’m not sure what vocal practices you are doing or who asked you to do them, but something isn’t working right. I’d love to help you… so tell me more specifics about what kind of vocal things you are doing for warming up.

    All my best,

  • Joy ,

    Hi there, Jaiehmgirl (I’d use your real name but don’t know it 🙂

    I like it that you know that you can sing head tones and have some confidence about it.

    But I’m concerned about the “bubble” sounds. Can you tell me more about them. Do you get hoarse?

    Looking forward to hearing back from you,

  • Robyn ,

    Hi there,

    I’m in a pop dance cover band and we usually do weekend performances (Friday and Saturday nights, 3 one-hour sets per night). I’m singing all the songs.

    I don’t have a problem with hoarseness after a couple hours. In fact I usually can sing better. But the next morning I’ll wake up with hoarseness that takes longer to go away than normal morning-hoarsness. Then I have my second gig and i still sing fine, but Sunday morning I wake up with hoarseness and it takes a few days before I feel better.

    Is that normal for this kind of singing engagement to experience some minor hoarseness? I warmup well before each gig, I stay away from caffein, alcohol and I eat light before singing. I still eat some carbs and sugar but I am always very well hydrated.

    The only thing I noticed is feeling a little dry during the performance so i am sipping on water throughout. I try not to drink too much water though because I can get burpy which is not fun while singing

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Robyn,

    Thanks for writing about what is happening with your gigs and the resulting hoarseness.

    I’m glad to glad that you are able to sing ok during each of the gigs, but am concerned about the the few days that it takes to feel better after the 2nd gig.

    Tell me more about your warmups. What exactly are you doing to warm up?

    The reason I ask is this: how you start a tone is more important than how many tones you do with a warmup.

    This article about starting your singing note will help you to understand what I mean.

    You can ask me more questions on that page in the Comments area.

    Thanks for trusting me with your singing hoarseness situation,

  • Wynter ,

    I have been singing and speaking publicly in church for years now. I have always struggled with becoming hoarse quickly. At this point, I am not doing either or a frequent basis so when I do sing or speak, I get hoarse almost immediately. Any help you can provide would ne greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Wynter,

    Thanks for contacting me about the voice challenge you are facing.

    There are a number of things you can do to create a stronger (and more relaxed) voice so that you do not have to get hoarse.

    Start with this article and then get back to me on that page with more questions. I know how to and will be very happy to guide you further.

    You can find the answers you are seeking, and I feel humbled and grateful that you have contacted me to help you find the way to them.


  • offiong okon ,

    I am a soloist in church and i sing regularly doing high pitches. I am a suprano singer. Early last year i had this very serious cough that after i was healed of it my singing never remained the same. It grew bad. I observe that any little singing of 5 to 10mins my voice goes hoarsy. I have to use a lot of energy and effort to talk afterwards. Really stressful. I will have to talk less for 2 to 3 days to be able to sing again. I cannot pitch high notes as before, i cannot furset(i know i didnt spell that right). I try to start as low as possible to be able to pitch songs with high notes later. This is affecting my confidence.

    I am really hoping you will reply my message with some help.

    Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Offiong,

    Thanks for writing to me about what is happening with your singing voice.

    When you say “very serious cough” can you tell me more about what caused it and how you were healed of it?

    I am not a medical doctor and so cannot give medical advice, but I do know quite a bit about voice damage and how to restore voices and confidence and have helped many people to do just that.

    What you have described is very stressful, I am sure, but I want you to know that I have personally experienced something similar to what you have described and know how to go about rebuilding confidence by applying some important voice techniques that can lessen the strain on your voice.

    But, first please tell me more about what caused the cough and what you did to make it go away. Let’s start there.

    Thanks for your trust,

  • Arna ,

    Hi there,
    I am a country singer, and I usually sing 3-4 hr gigs two-three times a week with songs ranging from traditional country to pop. I have been trained in music theatre and have been told that I have a forward sounding, resonant voice that usually stays pretty clear, but lately I’ve been getting a pretty hoarse voice after my third gig of the weekend. I usually just steam and drink a lot of tea with manuka honey and rest, but it’s getting a little annoying having a hoarse voice every time. I have been to the ENT and been told my vocal chords are in good shape but I talk pretty far back in my throat so I have been doing speech therapy. My speech therapist is happy with my progress and I do my exercises daily. I don’t know why this is happening, and I am worried if I keep doing whatever is causing it, I will damage the chords further. I also don’t know if it’s just the fear that makes me hold back or something?
    Thanks 🙂

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Arna,

    Thank you for trusting me with your story.

    It sounds like you are taking a lot of really, really good steps.

    With that being said, I’d like to ask you a couple of questions about your singing hoarseness and then dig a little deeper with your answers so I can best guide you:

    • What kinds of exercises is your speech therapist focusing on? In other words, which muscles, vowels, consonants, or breath support, etc.?
    • Tell me more about your last question about fear possibly holding you back. Why do you think it might be a root part of the hoarseness problem? Is that idea coming from deep inside yourself, or somewhere else? In other words, how did you come to think that?

    After you write back, we’ll take the next step to find what will best help you.

    Voices are a very tricky thing because there is no one size answer that fits all. That’s why I work to get down to the deeper parts of what you specifically need. Oh, I could give a generic answer about tongue muscles, throat muscles, formation of vowels, etc. but that won’t really help you.

    So do get back to me with those answers.

    Meanwhile, here’s an article to read that may help you dig a little deeper.

  • Brooke ,

    Hi, I wanted some advice on my voice.
    I get a very hoarse/odd feeling voice after I sing for anymore than 30 mins to an hour. I think it’s due to me not using my diaphragm properly and that then puts strain on my voice. I have tried multiple times to try and use my diaphragm but with no luck, I still feel like I’m singing with my throat… I used to be a really strong singer and I knew how to sing from my diaphragm but late last year (around the time that I started to asthma pretty bad) I started to notice that my voice wasn’t so strong and that I would walk away from singing with a tight feeling throat/neck. I do notice while I sing that sometimes when I take a breath in my shoulder move (which I no is a big no no). So I was wondering if you by chance might be able to help me?
    p.s. I always have a blocked nose and I always feel phlegm/gunk going down my throat and I sometimes have to clear my throat because of it. I do eat a lot of dairy and processed food which I’m trying to sort out.

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Brooke,

    Thanks for contacting me with the hoarseness and phlegm problems you mentioned.

    There are a number of ways to approach these issues, so let’s start with one idea fist. After that, get back to me on your progress and I’ll continue to guide you as best I can from here.

    Here is a page to get you started: Joy Starts Your Singing Note

    Most complications arise out of tension, fear, and a simple lack of access to knowledge about the intricacy of how the voice works, not only through our breathing muscles and vocal cords, but also through our mindsets.

    So read that article, follow the links in it and absorb as much info as possible, then get back to me.

    I’m here to awaken the wonder of what your fearless voice can feel like.

  • Kayla ,


    So I’m a new singer. I have a D3-G6 range, and I’ve been practicing every second day for the past two weeks. This is completely new for my voice… So two weeks ago I tried to reach a very high note which I did well, but I only did it a few times then went on with normal singing (that was my very first practice)… My throat was sore that night and the next evening I was back to normal. Then yesterday I gave in to temptation and started singing quite a hard/big song without warming my vocals up. My throat started to hurt a few hours after, and today I’m trying to rest my voice. My voice isn’t completely gone, but it’s definitely not normal. Do you think I damaged my vocal cords? Or is it normal for beginners to experience vocal fatigue? I want to add that when I do the vocal warmups I don’t feel like that after… I’m quite paranoid… Oh and I got myselt a vocal coach now to help me do everything properly… I’m just scared that I messed it all up and that I won’t be my potential best…. Please give me your advice and thoughts xxx

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Kayla,

    Thanks for letting me know about what’s going on with your voice and hoarseness.

    And my apologies for not getting back in touch with you sooner. I was in the middle of a major move August-December and am just now able to answer singing voice questions.

    You mentioned you got a vocal coach. So how is that going? Is it helping you to sing without hurting your voice?


  • Clara Luz Hernández Iranzo ,


  • Clara Luz Hernández Iranzo ,

    Hello! I have a question. Im 18 years old, almost 19. Ive been voice technique classes in an opera school in Puerto Rico since I was 12. I auditioned and entered the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. This year I got accepted to the Savannah Voice Festival. I hsve worked on roles like Susana, Fiordiligi, Zerlina… I am very young, but my voice is extremely developed. I am very advanced for my age. The thing is: I have opera rehearsals twice a week, 2 other days of the week I sing at a fsncy restaurant, plus the rehearsals and 2 singinf classes a week that I take. Its aloooot of hours of singing. Sometimes I have 2 auditions or a masterclass and an audition in the same day. This week was like that and my throat hurts. Not alooot, but it does. I made ginger tea with lemon, cinnamon and honey yesterday night because I was way worse, but I woke up alot better. Why is this happening? Is it normal for my voice to feel tired and hurt a little after singing hours and hours this week? Im very worried, jaja 🙁 Thank you!!

  • Sheba Akridge ,

    LOL! Billy I know the feeling. I have no idea when asked what my tongue is doing….So I’m with you on the “tongue-eee thing”

  • L ,

    Hi Joy, I am reading through your articles… I sing by ear and have been matching notes and pitch since I was a kid. I was in choirs growing up and enjoyed it but eventhough we were taught to sing from our diaphram, my voice would get hoarse. I have recorded at the studio and have been told by the producers and music teachers that I have worked with that I am a convincing Amy Lee from Evanescence with the harmonies of Rascal Flatts and the raspiness of Bonnie Raitt and Melissa Etheridge.

    I do many cover song and I also write and play my own songs. I often warm up with scales and work on riffs and runs. I love to warm up with songs by Carrie Underwood, Amanda Marshall, Rascal Flatts, Queen etc.

    I practice the techniques that I have worked on with previous teachers and choir directors but I find I am hoarse at times due to allergies and I have to work harder to hit some notes whether high or low or if its a complicated harmony, though I never attempt a song unless I am warmed up. I have asthma but have been told by my allergy doctor and a few ENT’s that my throat and ears are clear. I do have sinusitis but was told not to use nose spray anymore as it dries the nasal passages too much. I don’t eat a lot of dairy as I am lactose intolerant, have irritable bowel (i find singing helps when i have cramps and discomfort as it seems to relax my whole body), have gluten allergies etc. I am very careful with what I eat.

    Despite all my best efforts, I get hoarse when speaking or singing and I can’t yell or cheer. I am going to bring this up to my doctor. I was told they can’y put me on antibiotics or other meds due to a stomach ulcer I had many year ago caused my naproxen meds.

    I practice with some warm up videos but am wondering if to try working with a teacher again and what type would I go with.


  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Hockeygirl 2009,

    Sounds like you are going through a great deal of stress.

    But I recognize some of the patterns in what you are describing. I used to have some of them myself, so I know some things to help.

    There are a number of articles on this site that can help.

    Start here and put comments on that page. I am here to help you, and will do all I can to guide you to optimum singing health.

    Sing well, be well,

  • ButterBlue ,

    Hi there,

    I had a bad case of flu a few months ago and since then, my voice has not fully recovered. After that flu, Infections came and medication made it worse. I sang and my voice would just shut down completely while singing.
    I had pain in my throat and ears for weeks.

    Now I get hoarse really quick after singing for an half hour. Even when I do a few exercises.

    There is no pain right now and i’ve got allergic rhinitis which an ENT Specialist diagnosed me with three years ago. Had an operation done on my sinuses and now its been acting up again.

    My allergies is a constant, I am still trying to balance that. When I hold my kitten against me, I get itchy eyes, sneezing nose and sore throat as soon as I put her down. I love cheese and ive given up on chocolate and sweet things.

    Please help me to identify the underlying problem.

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Butter Ball,

    Sorry to hear about your voice and sinus problems. I am not a medical professional and so cannot give any medical advice. With that being said, there are a number of herbal remedies you might want to research. I recommend a Google search for “herbs for allergies” and “lifestyle changes for allergies.”

    I used to have allergies in the Springtime but no longer have a problem with that because of lifestyle changes I made and herbs I took.

    All my best,

  • Darien ,

    Hello there. I sing in my local church choir and I’m some what new to the whole music thing. I’m your typical in-shower singer if you ask me. But I have been training my voice, doing research and all so I do know a bit about singing now. Anyway, I was signing one time in church last week in my normal and falsetto voice, and the next day I wasn’t able to sing as well as i do. My voice felt dry and when i do my warm-ups, i begin to cough mucus and then my voice comes back a little bit but not quite as good as before. Can someone help me please??

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Darien,

    Thanks for writing about singing and problems with your voice.

    I’m here to help, so the first thing I suggest is utilizing my 10 Free Singing Lessons. They will give you some basic concepts to work with and do not cost anything.

    If you want to go further, I highly suggest learning all you can about the tongue and how it is used in singing. Here is a link to a page that gives you resources from my site about that crucial muscle.

    Keep me posted about your progress and ask any questions you like. Again… I am here to help with singing and with voice or vocal problems that get in the way of having an authentic and free voice!

    Sing well, be well,

  • stanz ,

    hi joy,
    I use to sing high notes and for long hours without any problems, recently, am unable to pitch, i loose my voice within few minutes when singing or develop a sore throat just after singing.
    please help me solve this problem.

    Thank you.

  • Ayush ,

    Sir!!!! I love my voice and today i can sing very well but after that! I stout to load(4hours) and now i can’t sing good!….i mean my voice is now also good i can sing but only low note when i goes on high it suddenly stop my voice will i get back tomorrow that how was i singing in today’s morning

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Stanz,

    How long has this problem been going on?


  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Ayush,

    It sounds like you might benefit from some basic vocal techniques that can help.

    Have you used my 10 FREE YOUR VOICE Quick Tips?

    If not, I recommend these to help you.

    Keep me posted on your progress.

    Sing well, be well,

  • Kasandra ,

    Hey. Thanks for this. By the way, I’m just 14 years old. I’m teaching myself to sing. I do vocal warm ups everyday from Youtube. And I’m practicing singing different songs everyday. I have a loud voice while speaking I really can’t control it. (But I’m not shouting) and also I’m the most talkative in the class. My voice got hoarse last monday and it’s Saturdat now. I really need to get my voice back because I have an audition and also I badly want to sing. I tried many youtube advice, like eating raw honey, gargling warm water with salt, drinking ginger tea and also the accupressure (not sure if its the name) from youtube. The hoarseness reduced but when I wake up this Saturday, it get worse again. So I need to do again what I did in the past few days. Please help me. How can I remove the hoarseness of my voice IMMEDIATELY!!! PLEASE PLEASE!!! I’M BEGGING YOU.

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Kasandra,

    Sounds like your hoarse issues may be coming from something other than what honey, gargling, ginger tea and acupressure can do to help youy.

    Most hoarseness comes from singing without knowing basic vocal techniques. I don’t train with songs and warmups until I am totally sure that my students fully grasp the basic concepts about singing mindsets, singing breathing, singing muscles, the power of the tongue, how notes can be sung without any effort at all, etc. Then I can work with them on warmups, songs, etc.

    Have you utilized my series of 10 FREE singing lessons yet?

    Here is a link for that: FREE Singing Lessons

    Keep me posted and let me know how I can further help you.

    Happy to be of service to you.

    Sing well, be well,

  • Ashleigh ,

    I’m fairly new to singing. Have only been seriously practicing for a little over a year. I’m a 33 year old woman and sing in alto range. I’m trying to increase my range a bit but every time I do vocal exercises to increase vocal range I find I have a lot of mucus in my throat and have to constantly either try to clear my throat in a “ah hum” way or cough. It never helps. And after I do these types of exercises my voice is really raspy/hoarse afterwards. Sometimes even my throat hurts. I’m not sure if I’m straining and that is what’s causing this or if something else is wrong. Since practicing via YouTube videos (because I can’t afford private lessons) I don’t feel I have made much progress and my voice doesn’t feel very strong (sounds quiet at times) and still cracks a lot. When trying to reach higher notes usually I get really breathy and nothing but air comes out. I’ve tried several breath support videos in case this is much issue but not much improvement. Please help me to understand what’s is going on so I can continue to sing.

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Ashleigh,

    Thanks for asking questions about hoarseness, straining the voice, etc.

    Here’s an article I wrote about How to Practice Singing.

    You also mentioned videos for learning how to sing. Have you tried my 10 FREE Singing Lesson Voice Tips? If not, I encourage you to try them.

    Also, here is another article that may help you. It’s about Singing Resonance and includes helpful information for understanding how your voice works and 2 old videos from my original SingBabySing YouTube channel.

    Stay in touch. I’m here to help!

  • Cassandra ,

    Hi joy, I’m not a singer but I’d like to get your input on my voice problems. I’ve been having this hoarseness for at least 8 years of my life, I’m 20 years old. My voice sounds cracky and gravely and I clear my throat a lot. I can’t project my voice or yell or else my voice will get raspy, and my throat hurts constantly, virtually everyday. Last year I went to an ENT and she said that I had a reinkes edema on my left vocal cord and I have some improper muscle movements in some areas. My throat also feels really tight in the front as well, like the feeling you get when you’re about to cry, I feel that tightness all the time. So anyway, it’s. A slight lump on my vocal cord from what I remember it looking like. I’ve never smoked a day in my life and I’m really frustrated. She also said I have acid reflux when I told her all of my symptoms, I don’t get chest burn all the time but when I do it’s really painful, And my nose is always blocked. Sorry if this is all over the place, but I just want to have a regular speaking voice. I when the a speech therapist and she gave me exercises but I haven’t been consistent with them. I just wanna know if you’re familiar with reinkes edema and if it can go away on its own. I’ve had this problem for years so I just want some sign of hope. I also want to learn how to sing, but I want my voice to be normal first. Thanks.

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Cassandra,

    Thanks for writing. In answer to your question, I am not a licensed medical person so do not give medical advice.
    I have helped people with vocal cord problems based on what I would do if I were in their shoes, but I cannot give medical advice.

    Here is a link to some information about the condition you mentioned. It is from one of the world’s leading voice sites and dedicates itself to “voice research, medicine, science, and education.”

    If the cause of your problem is acid reflux, I know something about that because I suffered from it years ago, but found a simple way to take care of it without medications ro surgery. The main thing I can tell you is that there are answers for you. The tension you describe that feels like you are about to cry may be something that you can help.

    Mainly, I want to encourage you not to give up and dig around my site for articles about singing and tension. Here is one, for instance, that may get you started. Keep following the links and use the search engine on my site to guide you. Let your instinct direct your efforts.

    Unstoppable Singing Voice.

    Then stay in touch so that I might be able to further encourage and help you.

    Don’t give up!

  • carol mckeen ,

    How much does your program cost?

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Carol,

    There are 2 different programs for my singing lessons. One is for the tongue as it is used in singing and many people start with that lesson. The other is for my full singing lessons course. The link to the page that shows prices, and for ordering, is here: https://singingmastermind.com/products/.

    Keep focused on releasing the frustrations about your voice behaving differently than in the past, and let me know if I can help you in any other way.


  • Simone Runyan ,

    I have had 4 different voice teachers, roughly 6 years of training, and I cannot sing for more than 30 minutes without getting hoarse. I took a long break, then did some singing about 5 years ago. Took another long break, and I just started up again a few days ago. Even the so-called “gentle” exercises I found on Youtube are too harsh for me! It’s kind of discouraging when you’re doing everything your teacher is telling you to do and even they have to admit they don’t know why it’s not working. I mean, I really don’t care anymore. I’m 42 and I’ve long given up on all this stuff. But I still wonder sometimes what the deal is.

  • Singing Master ,

    Hi Simone,

    I am sad that 4 different voice teachers and 6 years of training did not help you. But singing is like your soul talking to world, so I encourage you not to give up. The deal has to do with how the singing tone starts.

    You might find this page about Singing Vibrations helpful. There are a couple of old videos on there that have helped thousands of people over time. Keep my posted and never give up!