Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Avoid Vocal Cord Injuries... Touch Base with your Vocal Coach Between Tours!


... surgical lamps are probably not the kind of 'lights' you'd like to be under...

Sadly I've noticed a growing number of vocal cautionary tales. Stories seem to be abounding of recording artists who've sustained serious vocal injury from singing with bad technique onstage. Here is a short list of artists who recently had such severity of vocal strain and damage they had to cancel important shows and/or tours:
  • Papa Roach ... lead singer Shaddix had to have a vocal nodule surgically removed
  • Thompson Square   ... singer Keifer Thompson was ordered to go on vocal rest for two weeks. The duo is back on stage now.
  • Frank Ocean ... is reported to suffer from a vocal cord tear.
  • John Mayer ... his vocal cords are still healing; he had to have botox injected into them at one point.

Vocal damage is avoidable!

Though several of the above performers are now back onstage, their career-threatening vocal injuries could have been avoided if an intuitive vocal coach had been able to see their vocal technique slipping (or missing!) and get it corrected in time. There truly are singing and speaking techniques you can learn and choices you can make to enable you to sing as long a show or tour as you need to without injuring your voice - even if you sing heavy metal rock!

Here is my practical advice for working singers and speakers:

  • If you are touring or doing shows regularly, touch base with your vocal coach from time to time. It will save you money, and sheer career panic, in the long run. Most pro coaches offer Skype and phone vocal lessons and warmups; if you find yourself in trouble, contact your coach and schedule a lesson from the road.
PS... I applaud the artists above who went public with their vocal damage... other singers benefit from their  transparency.  There are many artists who feel they need to keep their vocal issues secret for career reasons. They need to get help before the secret cannot be kept any longer. I wish them all well and hope they find the help they need for long, healthy and prosperous vocal careers!

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