Make some fundamental changes so you can sing over the long haul.
I Want My Voice to Heal!
I’m getting over a nodule (I had a scope) and doing everything “right” – lots of vocal rest, good technique – but I still have to sing! I’m performing each week and am wondering if there is anything you think I can do to better my chances of healing without bringing my singing to a stop.
This is always a difficult question because in an ideal world you would disappear to a desert island for a few weeks and not speak at all and come back fully healed.
It is certainly advisable to sing repertoire that is not too demanding and just to use your speech quality and head-voice.
I would avoid ‘Belt’ altogether—for a healthy voice, belt is not damaging, just like heavy weight lifting is not damaging for a healthy fit body.
However, if you are getting over nodules, I would only use the folds in a “thin fold” way.
Stretching the folds and using them with excellent anchoring of the body should not cause any further deterioration.
Avoid songs which require a lot of vocal stamina. Although this is frustrating, as you cannot show your true capabilities, it will serve you well in the end.
Think through the concerts/professional work to which you are committed; if they further your career, perhaps go ahead with them.
But those gigs you are doing which are badly paid, or not paid at all—or done as a favor—cancel them.
I often find that people who get nodules find it difficult to say no.
They will sing in unfavourable conditions, sing when they are ill, sing against a sound set-up that does not give the singer a chance to be heard, go to rehearsals which are not necessary, sing in full voice when they should be marking.
It is important and healthy for a singer to have boundaries and to learn how to say no.
Nodules tend not just to be the result of bad technique and acid reflux, but also often occur when singers are not aware of their limits.
Voices are actually quite difficult to hurt as they heal quickly and are resilient.
Do have a think about what might have caused this in the first place.
This is an opportunity to make some fundamental and necessary changes.
Director, The Advanced Performers Studio
Questions for Leontine Hass can be sent to the VoiceCouncil editor: firstname.lastname@example.org