How to Sing without Strain / Improve My Voice / Vocal Strain

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How to Sing without Strain / Improve My Voice / Vocal Strain

In this episode, master vocal coach Kevin Richards shows you a way to train to help eliminate straining or choking as you sing.

Lots of singers have problems singing without feeling like they are choking or straining to reach notes outside their given chest voice. Why do vocalists have these issues? Well, the answer is complicated but here is a short version; many singers fear the notes they are going to sing so they tighten up their throats in preparation and in turn block the exhalation of air into the vocal cords. This blockage leads to the muscles in the throat to tighten and cut off the air supply to the vocal folds. By doing exercises beginning with an “H” or “Sh” sound, you will teach the voice to exhale air first and make sound second. This is how the voice is designed to work. if you close off the vocal cords and try to breathe into that closure, you are adding too much pressure to the stretch of the vocal folds and the voice tightens. This results in too much tension on the vocal cords and the voice strains.

By practicing the exercise in this video you will start to eliminate the strain and tension by starting air flow before making sound.

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Tags: resonance, high notes, how to sing, singing, singer, head voice, chest voice, vocal break, low notes, extend range, vocal lesson, free lesson, vocals, voice, breath support, high notes, vocal range, singing on pitch

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40 thoughts on “How to Sing without Strain / Improve My Voice / Vocal Strain

  1. MegaCityPatrol says:

    Fantastic lesson. Thanks so much for posting this. Just trying your methods
    and all of a sudden started to access my head voice which I’ve never done
    properly before.

  2. Around anything after d4 I feel like I have to pull..I can pull up to G4#.
    Will exercise and practice resolve the pulling sensation.. Or am I
    approaching the notes wrong?

  3. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC says:

    if you are pulling at D#4 you are doing things very wrong. You’re way too
    heavy or loud. The key to blending is balance and staying at the same
    volume – no backing away or laying into the sound. Balance.

  4. Thanks so much for all your videos – they’re awesome! I was wondering if
    anybody can learn to belt..I’m female and I can sing loudly but that’s all
    it sounds like..loud singing. I can’t seem to figure out how to get that
    rich tone that usually accompanies a belt. Also, I notice that signers who
    belt have that rich tone when they sing quietly too. Is this just something
    you either have or you don’t? Thanks!

  5. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC says:

    Nope. It all can be learned. For female voices it is imperative to learn
    how to lower or dampen the larynx when you belt; this adds fullness to your
    upper belt notes.

  6. Sweet! Thanks..I’ll keep trying 🙂

  7. i just want you to know that I truly appreciate how in depth you make these
    free lessons. Ironically they are free but at the same time “priceless” and
    truly insightful. I won’t take them for granted. Thank you very much 🙂

  8. Kristin Young says:

    Again, you have a way with words. Thanks so much for clearly stating the
    facts. you have great exercises! So appreciated!

  9. NamiBurger says:

    I seem to do a lot better in my lower range. But i feel like im working
    backwards. I want to gain higher notes but i keep going down lower, just a
    bit under my speaking voice. I feel comfortable there, but if i go say
    above my speaking voice, i cant “soften” or “sweeten” in a full, balanced
    way. If i do try anyway, it doesnt sound like me.. It sounds like mickey
    mouse and i cant take myself seriously :c

  10. NamiBurger says:

    I seem to do a lot better in my lower range. But i feel like im working
    backwards. I want to gain higher notes but i keep going down lower, just a
    bit under my speaking voice. I feel comfortable there, but if i go say
    above my speaking voice, i cant “soften” or “sweeten” in a full, balanced
    way. If i do try anyway, it doesnt sound like me.. It sounds like mickey
    mouse and i cant take myself seriously :c

  11. daniel casey says:

    I hate frys good for rock not dowop

  12. daniel casey says:

    I hate frys good for rock not dowop

  13. Moises Romo says:

    Thanks for the vid. You could do a good Obama voice over

  14. niesha davis says:

    I had strain when I was younger and I ended up with a sore throat and
    tightened neck muscles. Now I am comfortable with singing. At first I sung
    in a low key an gradually went up to giver notes. I can hit g#5 g5 a5 but
    It took a longgggg time. To. When I warm up with scales I usually do songs
    by halestorm for practice because the vocalist is a girl with a wide vocal
    range. Watching this video helped me a lot~!

  15. Rebecca Ramos says:

    Thank you for these free lessons. Love them. They have helped me so much
    God is going to bless you for your good deeds.

  16. GaryGuevara says:

    This is a great lesson. I like the natural, conversational style of it.
    Good info delivered in a clear and straightforward way. Thanks & Keep
    up the excellent work Kevin.

  17. Aaron Dolby says:

    the secret of the hurhh sound! i hear robert plant do this alot before
    going into some of his high notes, its great when it all pieces together
    🙂 

  18. Lars Ickenroth says:

    Great lessons, particularly this one. (strain is THE biggest issue) I was
    wondering though: is there such a thing as a ‘lazy breath’ , where you
    don’t relax the vocal chords, throat and heighten the soft palate?
    Especially when a little tired I catch myself not being able to take that
    full relaxed breath. (shallow breathing). I was taught to ‘belly breathe’,
    but a full relaxed breath feels different, it kind of starts in the lower
    back and expands to the belly. What would be the best way to approach
    this? 

  19. Daniel kihori says:

    Hi…this is my first of your videos and I haven’t even gone 7 minutes and
    its working….thanks a lot and god bless

  20. Matthew Barnett says:

    thank you. the breathing before singing has helped my strain

  21. elthombre says:

    Dude, one of my boyhood buds forwarded a link on the laryngeal tilt to
    myself & his brother. We’re all like, “Mannnn!!! Where was this guy when we
    were in school back in the day….”

    This is GREAT stuff! YouTube has given such a wonderful platform for folks
    like you to share and I thank you for doing just that.

  22. Mark Shell says:

    kevin, I’m trying to cover kick start my heart and it seems vince is using
    his mixed register through most of the song. I seem to really strain with
    the pitch of the song and wonder if my breath technique is the problem.

  23. Bret Mosley says:

    Extremely valuable information…wonderfully explained! Thank you!

  24. Rich Nakatsu says:

    So, is it normal to have your neck feel really stiff after trying to sing
    high? (near the front)

  25. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC says:

    +Rich Nakatsu – Nope. Nothing should feel stiff or tight. If it does, that
    means you are not breathing enough through your notes. More support is
    needed.

  26. Angel Curras says:

    I lost my voice and my steady gig of 4 years due to constant hoarseness and
    blockage of air while singing. I was told I sounded like Tom Waits.I was
    constantly heckled and before this I have always had a beautiful voice.
    Your method seems effective. I’m still recovering my voice. I’ve been
    singing for 28 years.
    Wish I would’ve had you as a vocal coach when I was younger !

  27. Tionna Outen says:

    You’re an amazing teacher! Thank you so much!

  28. MrBarnejstinson says:

    Super nice and informative video for me(I’m probably the king of
    straining:). Thanks! Kevin can you do video about yours begginer steps in
    singing and how long things like rid of strainning may spend time to
    learn?(Sorry for poor English).

  29. Netanel Shavin says:

    thanks for that. valuable indeed.

  30. adrian newman says:

    i got to be honest with you kev i dont like robert lunte teaching, i prefer
    to listen to you, having heard him sing aswell i dont feel its done alot,
    from his knowledge of singing, so i will continue to listen to your videos
    adrian

  31. Raffster A says:

    Hi Kevin,

    This is a terrific video. Really intriguing actually. I have a question.

    Is there a way of adapting or varying this technique to work with words
    that begin with hard consonants, such as with a C, K or T?

    Keep up the great videos. They are really helpful.

  32. Luis Arias says:

    this is a perfect explanation!I have resonance and good pitch but I always
    wondered why my throat was feeling tured every time thanks alot bro!!

  33. rocachick860 says:

    Yes!! This makes so much sense! Thank you so much.

  34. Travis the Great says:

    When I try this I feel sometimes the throat tensing (with a closing
    sensation and the sound coming out clearly but abruptly) and sometimes not.
    Am I still clashing the vocal cords? Do I have to work on passing from the
    “h” to sound emission in a smoother way?

  35. Barbara O says:

    My voice feels strained even after doing these exercises xd I believe I
    have a good voice but I ofter feel strained. Should I practice these
    exercises gradually? E.g. Doing the first and second exercise for a week
    and then the third etc. ?

  36. Allen Capaldi says:

    thanks Kevin! been listening to the channel, great info, to improve my
    backups. and I’m taking vocal lessons too! lost ur contact info, would be
    great to catch up! Sin City ACDC in Queens! RokkittBass.

  37. Suraj Chaudhary says:

    i thing you are one of the excellent vocal trainer in the world.. i loved
    your every vocal lesion ..god bless you . i hope you will be very happy
    life..

  38. Cole Fleming says:

    It robotically chooses notes in your comfy singing range and gives you a range of straightforward enjoyable exercises to practice matching pitch.

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