Sometimes singing correctly isn’t enough. If you are someone who does a lot of speaking – like an actor, public speaker, a teacher, etc. – then the same rules apply to your speaking voice that you use with your singing voice. You can sing correctly all day long but if all that amazing technique goes out the window when you speak, you’ll still suffer from vocal fatigue.
When my husband and I were on the National Tour of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” (which was AMAZING, btw, if you ever happen to get the chance to see it), I got the opportunity to listen to the show every day. One of the things I noticed, besides the dialects being used, was that the actors spoke very differently on stage than off. When on stage, they tended to create a lot more space inside their mouths – much like we do when singing in the “legit” technique. I noticed something else about that, though. Just like when singers try to sing powerfully with all that space in the back of the throat, the voice is more prone to fatigue (and worse if it becomes a habit). Just like with singing, the chest voice (which only exists when all that space in the back of the throat is present) is only meant to go so high (Ab for women, F# for men – both just above middle C) before it is meant to switch into a head voice. If you push past that natural breaking point, you put yourself at great risk for vocal damage and, until that damage is done, a lot of vocal fatigue.
Instead, if the singer or speaker places the sound forward by not creating all that space in the back, those vocal breaks and limitations disappear, allowing the singer greater range, flexibility, comfort, and most of all: safety.
My friend from the show, Charlotte Maier, and I were at this cool bar in Cleveland called the “Velvet Tango Room” with a speakeasy in the back (it’s behind a full-length mirror in the storage room – AMAZING).
Somehow, over delicious cocktails, we all got on the topic of vocal fatigue so I decided to share my insights. Later that week, Charlotte came to me at the theater and said she tried what we talked about and that it made such a huge difference to her performance.
Hear what she had to say about it:
Oh, and PS – Alicia Keys, if you’re reading this, let me help you with this!! #HireMeAliciaKeys