I have to write about this one. There are just so many myths about singing. Really! And some are just lack of brain-wave activity in the singer. C’mon man! Here’s one…a baritone I know wants to sing tenor…because he “likes” singing tenor. Huh? Dude, you’re a baritone. But no, he sings in falsetto (men’s head voice). Now this man is a grandfather so he’s not how you say, 25 anymore. That falsetto has seen better days. But, he does it anyway. Well, I don’t have to tell you how this sounds now do I? But, he won’t listen. Still sings tenor to the chagrin of the music director and other members of the choir he’s in. Let’s move on from this stonewall problem.
Ruin your voice by singing a couple of uncomfortable low notes once a week in choir? No. I repeat, NO! Two uncomfortable low notes do NOT (OMG) ruin your voice. No vocal polyps either…sorry. Maybe you were hoping for some? Can’t accommodate you there. Now I actually CAN tell you how to ruin your voice…try yelling and screaming as loud as you can over a microphone at a rock concert whilst almost bursting the jugular vein in your neck. Do that for about…hmmm…10 years +…now you have a great start at obliterating your voice altogether, if you haven’t already. Might I also suggest you’ve already lost your hearing or it’s going fast?
Voices are more resilient than you think. Otherwise, we would not have made it past childhood. Think of all the blood-curdling screaming a baby/toddler does. Then we progress out of that finally, and into teen years yelling and screaming at football games and rock concerts. And we still have our voices as adults. Amazing but yes, our vocal cords survive their horrible treatment by us. But we don’t yell and scream for a living. It’s those that DO yell and scream for a living, and do other horrible things to their larynxes, like smoking, that ultimately either ruin their voices or create some ghastly atrocity that needs surgery…vocal polyps (corns), contact ulcers, bowed cords…all fun stuff that you CAN avoid by not doing the aforementioned stuff. Another situation to pay attention to is loss of voice for sickness reasons…laryngitis. Your vocal cords are swollen and producing some mucous to avoid scarring when you try talking. This is a situation where you absolutely need to be quiet and not force sound. If the vocal cords are sick and not going to easily approximate, leave it alone. You can do damage if you force it. I did once…dumb singer moment! I was teaching a group and felt I had no choice. I paid for it…no vocal damage but I ended up with a lump in my throat that the doctor needed to give me an anti-inflammatory to cure. Never again!
There are a lot of myths about singing. What ruins your voice is one of them. There are more though…a boatload unfortunately. I will try to blog on all of them as time goes on. What comes to mind next is women “should not be singing in low register.” O dear. I need to address that baloney quickly. Stay tuned.