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. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Regaining Voice After Time Off From Singing

I have had many singers come to me wondering if it was possible to get their voices back after not singing much... sometimes not performing for years. In short... unless you have some organic damage or disease, and most of the time even then... you can indeed recover your voice. Whether it's been a few weeks, months or even years, with proper training you could end up with more vocal ability than you ever had!

CASE STUDIES (these are some of my actual experiences with clients)
  • A young country artist abused his voice terribly until he lost it... and his career. He didn't perform hardly at all for four years, then felt the renewed passion to see if it was possible. After some intensive re-training, he's now back on the road with a great new- and vocally incredible- album. 
The focus in his lessons was to concentrate on relaxing his deeply tenacious tension in his body and his vocal apparatus. We also worked on his mental state, getting fear, dread and counterproductive striving under control. As befitting Power, Path & Performance training, he regained his breath support and control, opened his throat and was able to get his performance concentrated back on his audience through his songs, rather than on how hard it would be to hit his high notes.
  • A veteran gospel singer and recording artist had stopped singing due to such vocal strain that one of her vocal cords had a degree of paralysis. After re-training, she joyfully sings whenever she wants, both in live performance and in studio, and now teaches others what she has learned. 
What we did was to work on transferring the tension she held in her throat, neck and shoulders to her pelvic floor, where she learned to power from. This freed her throat, and also eventually freed her mind from fear.
  • An actress and singer came to me after being told that she was too old to sing well anymore. After one Power, Path & Performance lesson, she was hitting her highest notes with as much ease as she ever had!
What I did was to convince her (by helping her accomplish those notes) that it was indeed not true that her age affected her vocal ability. Actually, the reverse can be true... as long as you are otherwise healthy, I find that the hardening of the various cartilages comprising the voice box allows even more sonorous tones... much like well-cared for older guitars and pianos can outplay the shiny new ones. In her new confidence she took on a body language that enabled better breath support/control, an open throat channel and a focused ability to engage her audience with her songs.
  • A middle aged rock singer came to me with a tight, thin, uncontrolled screaming voice that didn't make his throat feel very good and wasn't pleasant to hear. He has now successfully recorded several songs, is regularly playing out and has an incredible, controlled and emotionally compelling vocal delivery.
I started changing his posture right away. He had been working hard in another profession requiring him to bend over a lot, but his heart needed to sing, and sing rock. We enlisted an Alexander technique practitioner to scope out the subtle sources of tension he tended to hold in his neck and shoulders, and then we explored how to make those rock sounds without vocal strain. He is having a ball and gaining a following!
  • And the last case study is about my own voice. I don't perform live regularly, though I teach and sing in the studio all the time. I find that I have to do the following things to be in my best voice for live concert. (Recording artists resting between tours or needing to get back into the studio... take special note) --
   **** Pay special attention to health! 
I up my hydration, nutrition, sleep and exercise, and try to limit stress... sometimes limiting my work schedule.   
   **** Do my own vocal exercises!
Even when demonstrate vocal exercises for my students, they do most of the vocalizing. My own voice needs to do full sets of various scales and exercises. Sometimes I find I need to exercise longer if the pollen count is high or if I'm feeling a bit sluggish or notice any thickness in my cords.
   **** Sing full voice! I find it imperative to sing at full volume at least as long as my gig... preferably twice as long. I do this every day at least 4 days and preferably two weeks before my gig.

Fyi, you can, of course, take Power, Path & Performance vocal lessons in person with me. You can also train with my vocal training courses, which are highly effective and are a way you can train your voice every day.

Now I'd love to hear from you... what experiences have you had with regaining your vocal ability after time off? What makes you think you may have "lost it"?

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  • At April 14, 2010 at 1:43 PM , Blogger LA said...

    Too old to sing well any more? How horrible! I'm glad she came to you.

    I enjoyed reading these stories. They were all interesting. (As an aside, the format was helpful too; I like the way you indented them.)

    I think it would be rather sad to have loved singing so much and then think maybe you won't be able to as well any more, just because you've been away from it for a while. Thanks for the hopeful post.

  • At April 30, 2010 at 6:34 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Great newsletter Judy. I need to get back training again soon and am moving back closer to you again, so Ill be in touch :) Ryan B.

  • At March 3, 2011 at 6:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Dear Judy,

    I used to sing in various rock bands/folk groups, and then decided to focus more on learning proper vocal technique(s)from someone who has since passed away. My life was recently under too much stress, so my voice has really suffered these affects. I will try to learn more from your helpful instructions. You really seem to make good sense of the issues that singers are faced with.

    Kind regards,

    Phil Vier

  • At March 3, 2011 at 7:15 PM , Anonymous Phil Vier said...

    Dear Judy,

    After reading about your wonderful career and helpful insights, I am ready to re-ignight the vocal power I believe I still have! BTW, B.J. Thomas has always been a vocal idol of mine, and he is still going strong!


    Phil Vier
    Ridgewood, New Jersey

  • At March 4, 2011 at 2:33 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    LA... so glad you liked reading this and for the helpful feedback on the format! You are such a pro:)

    RYAN! Glad to hear from you again. I'm hear when ya need me. Take care... J

  • At March 4, 2011 at 3:25 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Dear Phil... thanks so much for your thoughts. Interesting that when a life has stress in it, sounding the voice can really free the soul. Glad you're still singing; glad that I can be of service. Please keep in touch and let me know what you'd like to know about the voice.

  • At July 14, 2016 at 8:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Wow!!! Thank You for this... Yes.. I haven't sung for months and there will be an upcoming concert and I didn't join the rehearsals because I was to busy with my schoolworks. I didn't sang anymore because my mother wants me to focus studying... So this is a really great help for me... To recover and regain my voice.. Thnak you and God Bless ..


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