This year I am looking at two remarkable vocal changes due to damaged vocal folds. One is a former colleague and the other a current client. I’ve know both of these voices for decades and as a technician I am always aware of the current and past sounds they’ve been able to make. Both are pop/rock/blues singers who are known for aggressive and rough sounds but both have been able to maintain a certain level of consistency to keep their careers going.
Now, however, there are problems at vocal fold level which are bringing them to a crossroads in their singing choices. Without getting too medical, lets just say that vocal fold closure is impaired and they are not able to execute the higher belt pitches the way they used to. Time has taken its toll and now its time for a new chapter of vocal technique.
To make a very long story short it’s about even distribution of weight and pressure, AKA- alignment! Obviously if you do the same movements everyday you will have the strength that goes with those muscles. If you don’t address the rest of the musculature, there are going to be problems. In other words, even a belter with a lower registration has to exercise the head voice and smaller supporting muscles or the system will be uneven at best. Then factor in the speaking voice registration that gets used all day, and you can easily see, if there is no technical program that addresses the entire voice, you’re gonna be in trouble.
The former colleague is currently on Broadway and is trying to work through this as he performs. A rough journey to say the least. He is not my client although I would welcome the opportunity to offer some exercises I am sure would lighten the load for him. My client is taking time off to seek some medical advice and start on a new technical path to get back on his ‘feet’. There isn’t much medical treatment available for the possible scaring on one fold so rehabilitation is recommended. This is good news since medical treatment is terrifying and never guaranteed. I have no doubt that we will correct the closure issue and in the bigger picture his voice will be more satisfying than ever. It’s muscle work, we are vocal athletes. And any athlete will tell you that although indestructible youth has its charm, it’s nothing compared to the sophistication of solid technique and years of experience.
check out MIX IT UP and FALSETTO FIX for advanced alignment exercises.