I’m currently struggling vocally and it’s driving me nuts! I sing with lots of belting, at least three nights a week, not including rehearsals. My voice gets to the point where I can’t reach my range; it sounds raspy and sometimes goes altogether. I don’t know what to do! What tricks can you recommend?
That does not sound good at all; there are certainly “tricks” but I feel that at this stage, you need to get yourself to a laryngologist a.s.a.p.
Once a camera has been put down your larynx there will be no more guessing and it’s a very quick and painless way of having a good look at your vocal folds.
If the folds are fine, then you can relax and proceed with maintaining good vocal health and practice; if, however, they are swollen, you may have acid reflux and need some medication. If there’s anything worse, this exam will lead to the correct therapy.
Do not delay; ask your Doctor for a referral—there are many good laryngologists and you should find one in your area.
If you are spending most of the time belting, you must balance the muscular activity of your voice and vocalize using your “thin” folds or “head-voice” for at least ten to twenty minutes every day.
This will stretch your folds out again, which is vital, given that you have been belting constantly (which means that your vocal folds have been vibrating on a very thick edge).
Imagine heavy weight lifting without stretching: the muscles involved become painful as they have not been stretched out again—it is similar with the voice.
Warm up your voice by doing lots of sirens and lip trills; gliding exercises are very good for the voice but make sure there is no tongue and jaw tension.
Steaming will hydrate your folds; use pure boiled water in a bowl (towel over the head) for twenty minutes every day, breathing in through the mouth.
You ought to see a singing teacher as it can be established fairly quickly as to whether there is a problem with your technique and/or your actual vocal folds.
Huskiness and loss of range are fairly good indicators that the folds are swollen, in need of rest…and in need of examination.
So, Christy: no tricks for you at this stage of the singing game.