Singing is a lot of things ... it is athletic, it is biological, it is psychological, it is spiritual, it is technical and above all, it is art. Because of all these things, the voice changes as we age. And because of these things, aging is a good news/bad news balance we can tip in our voices' favor, if we know how! Let us consider...
The bad news: We may have lost some vocal ability.
We may not be as physically able as in younger days. Our energy and stamina may give out sooner. Our memories for lyrics may grow, shall we say, less reliable. We may have developed one or more health limitations causing compromised breath, loss of vocal muscle control or any kind of distracting pain.
The good news: We may be able to sing better than we have in our lives!
We know things we didn't. We have had more life experience, and so we have a wider color palate from which to paint nuanced vocal emotion. We may have learned and practiced better vocal technique than we ever used before. Also, much like an old guitar or piano vs a new one, the density of our instrument (larynx) is harder and more resonant. We may have addressed and healed some limiting physical conditions and diseases, and have more stamina than ever! And finally, we may have conquered self-conscious fear that used to numb us in performance.
Some important things to do as a vintage voice:
- Physically: Stay or GET healthy!
- Mentally: Shake yourself up!
- Spiritually: Go farther!
- Musically: Get brave!
- Do some vocal training! Yes, this is another case of use it or lose it. There are changes in the vocal apparatus that can occur when we age. But for those whose vocal folds have lost muscle mass or whose larynx have experienced other aging changes the medical field calls presbyphonia, vocal exercises can turn back the clock, and are recommended by ENTs and speech pathologists! I know from working with them... older voices can definitely learn new tricks. We do it everyday and it's a blast when you find your voice, get it back, or sing even better than ever. If you can't afford lessons or courses, dig into blogs and online forum discussions you don't have to pay for. Where there's a will... you will find a way.
- Don't worry about what you really CAN'T do. If you need to sing your songs down a 1/2 or whole step, do it! If you've developed a bit of wobble, train it out with some vocal exercises, and let what you can't control just BE. You are old enough to know the wisdom of perfectionism being the enemy of magic :)
Now for some inspiration and proof positive: here are some examples of vintage voices that rock...
- First, here is 92 year old Angelo Loforese
- 85 year old Tony Bennett
- 69 year old Tina Turner
- 63 year old Bonnie Raitt
- 65 year old Steve Perry
- 86 year old BB King
- 76 year old Glenn Cambell