Singing Lessons & Tips / Checking for Vocal Strain / Rock the Stage NYC

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Free Singing Lesson – Checking your head voice to make sure you’re doing it right and “light” is easy with the “L” finger position – an easy method to check for larynx tension, vocal strain and breath support. This technique is for beginners to make sure they’re not taking a lot of “weight” with them as they connect to their head register. This “position” can be used with sirens, slides, basic scales etc. – any exercise where you are training to bridge your chest & head registers.

More advanced students should already be beyond this point and learning to “lean” into their head voice and make it sound “chesty” – or as its commonly called a “mixed voice”.

Tags: head voice, free singing lessons, voice instruction, vocal exercises, resonance falsetto, vocal cords, strain, breath support

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40 thoughts on “Singing Lessons & Tips / Checking for Vocal Strain / Rock the Stage NYC”

  1. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    There are many to develop a thickening of the cords and more vocal compression in the vocal tract.

    writing it out won’t do any good. You have to hear them. My CD series will have them.

  2. Kevin, you said this exercise was designed for delveloping mixed voice.
    According to that, there would be no break after finding mix successfully.
    Then why you said it’s difficult to get rid of break???

  3. LadyCrooner Audrey

    i have been singing for years now. but i noticed that i had difficulty hitting the right notes just lately. when i played back gig videos, i noticed a very wrong head position when singing, and this is what i think is the problem. i think i have developed a very bad vocal habit by straining my cords through an incorrect head position when hitting a note. 🙁

  4. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    Your resonantion is probably incorrect.

    That being where you are resonanting certain notes from. If something “feels” or “sounds” off – you’re doing something wrong.

    If it feels like straining, it probably is. The voice doesn’t lie. It will tell you very clearly when something is amiss.

  5. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    Strain? No. But hoarsness after 4 hours of mainly belting? Absolutely.

    Give your voice a complete rest for a day or two. NO SINGING and minimal talking. That should clear it up.

    Make sure to warm up AND warm down after each singing session. See my videos on warm ups and warm downs

  6. Gabriel-jacques Marion

    Everytime i Do head voice , i Strain my vocal Chord to go just at C5.. people said to me that i don’t use the good muscle, my larynx go to much up and thats do very big tension in my neck, what i can do to practice qith the good muscle and Stp my habits with the tension in the neck ?!

  7. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    you have the common problem of “pulling chest”. I have several videos here that describe what to do or you can buy my CD course which goes very deep into curing that problem.

  8. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    its the beginning of straining – if you keep going the pressure will increase more and more.

    Thumb pressure means you are engaging the muscles used in swallowing – they’re not needed for singing. I have a video that has the “Mum” exercise which helps keep those muscles relaxed.

  9. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    see the comment above for “nunotgrilo” – thats not your tongue lowering its a set of muscles used for swallowing and they’re not needed for singing.

  10. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    “mum” is simply ONE exercise – it won’t fix every problem you have.

    If you’re voice is giving out within 30 minutes you’re voice is simply not strong enough. That “renewed” feeling in the morning is because you were resting it when sleeping.

  11. hey i’ve tried a lot of your exercises but I don’t think I am crossing over into my head voice registry… I get up to about E4 (tops) and then its strained and I can’t go on, because I know i’m only using my chest registry. it seems the ONLY way i can get above that is if I use falsetto, and of course I don’t want that, I WANT to be able to use head voice… but I just can’t seem to make the connection. I tried your “what is head voice” video and i still couldn’t do it, any other suggestions?

  12. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    @Platodium – yeah buy my vocal course – Breaking the Chains – rockthestagenyc(dot)com/chains

  13. Hey kevin, what’s the truth about alcohol ? Some people say it helps you to sing, some people say it’s bad for your voice. I’m not saying get drunk and drinking everyday, but WHEN I have a few drinks I sing much better, I mean easier.

  14. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    @sweetscience85 – actually both are true to a degree. Alcohol is VERY bad because its a drying agent. It pulls mucous away from the vocal cords & dries out the throat. On a mental side, a few “belts” can help alleviate some nerves & help you relax. It doesn’t help you sing better as It still dries your throat out no matter what. Your key word there was “easier”. It helps loosen you up emotionally.

    have a few shots before you sing, just be sure you’re very hydrated with water ahead of time.

  15. Great tip… U R amazing!
    my band is doing a cover of the Badlands song “High Wire”,
    it’s a challenging song…any tips on getting the best performance possible
    Ray was an exceptional singer 4 sure

  16. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    @METALSTYGIAN – I knew Ray personally and he had 90% of that voice back in high school. A truly gifted singer and a hellavu nice guy. Tips on performance? Thats hard to describe here. Just keep it authentic, and remember to support the voice from the waist. That way you’ll get a full, round sound. Also remember to keep the high notes light and unrestrained.

  17. @RocktheStageNYC …Fantastic!!
    I appreciate the guidance it’s a big help.
    not the type of song to be moving around a lot
    i knew there was something i couldn’t put my finger on with some parts
    when all else fails i use my Opera technique…but that didn’t work here,
    gotta keep it real sometimes.
    as a teen i would go check out Harlette whenever i could
    all of us local musicians knew about those pipes
    thanks again

  18. The contradiction in there is where you say, “you should feel no air” The more air you push through, the less strained your vocal chords are.

  19. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    @FolkMusicWins – Yes “no air” across your fingers – thus your vocal cords are closed and not wasting breath support. If you feel a heavy breath across your fingers your vocal cords are not adducted or closed properly. The old classical way is to vocalize in front of a lit candle – if you can sing and not blow out the candle you are using proper technique.

    Not more air, but balanced breath pressure against the cords lessens strain.

  20. On a related note. Listening to Roger Daltreys voice now, it seems alot deeper now, but more powerful. I personally think it sounds better, but thats beside the point. As far as I am aware Roger has done next to nothing to damage his voice habit wise, as he’s always “looked after himeself” as it were, so what do you think the cause of the change is?

  21. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    @knuckle9 – simple – his age. As you age your voice deepens and matures. This is why you can tell the relative age of a person simply by the sound of their voice. On the phone you can tell if someone is a child, a teenager, an adult or very old. Just like our bodies and faces, our voices age over time.

    Some people like Roger Daltry, Robin Zander, Bruce Dickinson, have learned to use that “thickening” to their advantage. Robin Zander actually sounds better today than in the 70’s & 80’s

  22. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    @knuckle9 – Roger was never trained as a vocalist so he has no background in how to maintain it properly. He has a lot of natural talent but over the years this lack lack of care has cost him some range. Also, as you age you voice darkens making some upper notes harder to achieve then when you are younger.

    Roger has looked after himself physically but not his voice. He is “hit or miss” now. His performance at the Super Bowl Half time show was not good.

  23. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    @tim37021 – there can still be a problem in how one blends from chest to mix or down from head voice to mix. Improper positioning and breath support can create a “break” or sudden disconnect of the vocal cords.

  24. It seems like figuring out strain is a real art. I know I get paranoid about it, and it seems over time you get more sensitive to any degree of pressure. I guess this is were the art of coaching/experience comes into play; for someone to say whether what you are doing is fine or not. I’m getting better all the time, but my biggest fear is too much of a good thing.

    I know with the “Nay” exercise in particular, I just can’t stop the larynx from rising at some point.

  25. Hi, Kelvin. When I am practising some single high notes like C5 to E5 i seems to get it without problem. but when i am practising in a song whenever i reach to these high notes(normally almost the end of the song), my voice becomes very weak(sometimes go to falsetto) and i can feel something in my throat(not sure if it is larynx) is squeezing to get out the notes. What is the problem?Do i need to practise more on the muscle around larynx or I am doing this in a wrong way?

  26. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    @chyekc – practically everyone can sing high notes by themselves. Thats actually pretty easy. Being able to sing “into” those notes from lower notes is what vocal technique is all about. Its a learned process that takes years to develop correctly.

  27. Tudor Mihai Popescu

    I am 14 years old. When in try to change the voice registers from head to chest and the other way, no matter how much I struggle to cover it, there is a small something which interrupts this pass, even if I try to use the pharyngeal voice, because there’s no problem for me doing that. I also have a bit of horseness when I try to sing mixed voice if I go too high, like above G4. I just can’t go higher. It sounds like grandma. Is it puberty or is there anything I could do specially for my age?

  28. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    age has little to do with your vocal problems. They are common with beginner singers. To learn how to sing properly takes a few years of hard training with a good vocal coach who understands how to sing the way you want to sing. It is a process of many steps to achieve full control of your singing voice from low to high notes.

  29. Tudor Mihai Popescu

    it’s strange beacuse in the last few months my vocal range increased like I felt I could sing notes I couldn’t have sung before in any way possible…

  30. DUDE! That was new to me and flippen awesome tid bit!Amazing and very grateful.I do share your vids on my social media sites as I think you are straight forward and clear!Thank you!

  31. Kevin Richards Rock the Stage NYC

    A lot of what Dio said about vocal technique was nonsense. He simply didn’t know any better. Dio never sang very far outside his natural range. So for him, warmups weren’t all that necessary.

  32. Dad walks in
    me: (thumb under chin, finger on nose) waaaa waaaaaaaa waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    guy on vid: (thumb under chin, finger on nose) waaaa waaaaaaaaawa aaawaa

    dad walks out

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