My voice is going - is it my age?
I've had a recent influx of ladies into the teaching studio, worried because as they enter their late 40s or early 50s, their voices appear to be losing range, power, control and precision. The question they usually ask me is "Is it my age? Is my singing career over?"
Well, once obvious things like vocal damage and the effects of the menopause have been ruled out, the answer is very rarely "yes it's your age". It's usually more to do with bad habits which have become ingrained over the years, and which can be reversed with good training.
The problem for professional singers who gig regularly is that bad habits are easy to form, and they form under the radar so that the singer doesn't realise what trouble is being stored up. The voice "suddenly" starts misbehaving and the singer doesn't know why.
It takes an experienced teacher to be able to diagnose which of the singer's habits is causing the problem: is the mouth-shape on that EE vowel slightly too wide? Is the larynx too high on those top notes? Are you belting everything and forgetting that are are other ways to make an impact? Are you singing in keys which are being dictated to you by the band, instead of in keys which actually work for your voice? Have you lost tonicity in the spine over the years? Is your tongue pulled back? Is your head pushing forward? Are you yelling through your bridges instead of, y'know, bridging?
There are all kinds of things which can and do lead to vocal fatigue but if you're suffering, don't assume that your career is over. Go and see a good teacher and get your voice back on track before it really is too late!
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My occasional thoughts, rants, updates and perspectives various. Definitely not the opinions of the BBC.