Learn How to Avoid Throat Irritation When Singing - Spinditty - Music
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Learn How to Avoid Throat Irritation When Singing

Audrey Hunt, a renowned vocal coach, shares valuable information for singing like a professional. Learn how to improve your present voice.

how-to-avoid-throat-irritation-when-singing

Keeping The Throat Healthy

"If I cannot fly let me sing." -- Stephen Sondheim.

Singers and speakers alike will often acquire throat irritations. This interferes with the voice and interrupts the singing process. This can be most frustrating, especially when we don't know what causes the irritation. Any type of irritation in the larynx can rob the vocalist of a successful performance. Every singer has a responsibility to learn what to do to avoid throat problems. The tips I'm going to talk to you about are proven -- they've been tried and tested for years among singers from every genre.

  • When we sing loud and long, it is crucial that we use proper breath support to avoid abusing the voice. Always measure the amount of air needed for each phrase. When releasing air as you sing, hold back (suspend) and don't allow all the air to escape at once.
  • A tickle is caused by dryness in the throat. The dryness can cause coughing. To avoid this, drink plenty of room temperature water to keep the vocal cords hydrated. You may also try drinking warm lemon tea, with a small amount of honey before singing. This is better than anything on the market, which really does nothing anyhow.
  • Avoid any yelling, screaming, and extreme temperature changes, such as going from air conditioning to a hot temperature, and vice versa. When we yell or scream, it's much like scratching your vocal cords with your fingernails.
  • Sleeping with a humidifier is necessary for serious singers. The steam from the humidifier, enters the nose and throat, bringing much-needed moisture to the area. This is highly important for those who sleep with the mouth open, which dries out the throat. You can also inhale steam from a hot shower or boiled water (put a towel over your head when inhaling the steam). Be careful not to get a steam burn.
  • Moisture to the throat is needed at all times, particularly when singing and giving speaking presentations. Sip, sip, and then sip some more all day long. Keep a bottle of room temperature water with you at all times. The throat must be wet and moist in order to function well. Soft drinks and fruit juices are no substitute for water.
  • Never drink ice-cold water, juice, or soda within three to four hours before singing. Cold temperatures restrict the vocal bands, hindering the vibrations needed to produce sound.
  • Avoid coffee on the day you sing. The caffeine in coffee will dry the vocal cords.
  • The same holds true for alcohol, antihistamines, most medications, and of course, smoking (including second-hand smoke and vaping). If you can't control these substances, you're better off not singing. I personally have worked with very famous singers, who smoke, drink, and do drugs and I have witnessed what happens to these voices. Some artists have spent a small fortune for "quick fixes" just to be able to do a concert and sound great. You would be amazed at who these singers are. So do not fall into these bad and destructive habits in the first place. It will take its toll.
  • Warm-up your voice before you sing. I can't stress this important step enough. Proper warm-ups prepare your voice for singing and help to prevent damage to the vocal cords. Ten to fifteen minutes is ideal.
  • Avoid getting louder as you sing up the scale. Learn to keep your tone balanced with a consistent dynamic.
  • Clearing your throat can cause damage over a period of time. Simply swallow a few times instead.
  • Singing should never cause pain. If you feel pain during or following singing you are doing something wrong. It's not natural to experience any discomfort when vocalizing.

Persistent throat pain or hoarseness is an indication that calls for a doctor's diagnosis and treatment. He may refer you to an Otolaryngologist (ENT, Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist.

"A song will outlive all sermons in the memory." -- Henry Giles

how-to-avoid-throat-irritation-when-singing
Yelling, screaming can cause vocal nodes/nodules

Yelling, screaming can cause vocal nodes/nodules

Avoid drinking ice water

Avoid drinking ice water

Vocal Abuse and Laryngitis

Laryngitis can last anywhere from a few days to weeks, and it can re-occur again. It can be brought on by a virus. But most singers who contract laryngitis do so by abusing the voice box. The three main reasons for vocal abuse are (1) Yelling or screaming at a sporting event (or at your kids) (2) Singing too loud (over singing) and/or (3) Singing too high.

  • Rest. If you suspect signs of vocal abuse, you must rest your voice. Stop singing and even speaking, if you can. Give the vocal bands time to recover and heal. Otherwise, you invite more throat irritation. Bathe your throat with water by drinking not only h20, but warm lemon with honey tea. Using fresh lemons is best and may bring faster relief.
  • Easy humming. As soon as your throat is better, introduce easy humming before singing vowels found in words. Correct humming gives you a feeling of vibrations in the lips and lip areas. Take care that you "place" the tone in the Nasopharyngeal (mask) area. Your singing range must be the middle range of your voice so that it is easy and very relaxed.
  • Don't force it. Never, ever force your singing voice. Good and correct singing should always feel easy. There is never a strained or forced feeling. Like all of Mother Nature's offspring, the human voice should be natural and easy, even when singing loud or high. If you feel any discomfort in the throat area, your singing is incorrect.
  • Breath support. The best friend to the singer and speaker is breath support. With every note you sing, with each word you form, you absolutely must have enough air for the tone to "ride" on. Diaphragmatic breathing acts as a "seat" or "cushion" for the tone. If you try to sing louder or higher without the support for the voice, you will suffer vocal abuse.
  • Avoid polyps/nodes. At all costs, you want to avoid growing polyps/nodes on the vocal cords. This type of damage usually requires surgery followed by vocal therapy.
  • Avoid whispering. There may be times when you are tempted to whisper, especially if you have laryngitis. Whispering puts more strain on the vocal cords. If you must talk do so lightly.
  • Sing within your vocal range. All notes must feel comfortable and easy. If you feel your throat getting tight with a gripping feeling you are singing beyond your natural range. Stop doing this immediately!
It's best to avoid dairy products.

It's best to avoid dairy products.

No Dairy While Singing

Dairy products are a no-no and must be avoided before singing. Most dairy, especially ice cream and milk, will cause phlegm and mucus to build up. Mucus is thick and makes the singer want to clear their throat. Clearing the throat is not a good habit. Every time you clear your throat, it's like scratching your vocal cords with your finger nails. Instead of clearing your throat, just swallow a few times. If your mouth is dry and water is nowhere to be found, simply and gently bite the tip of your tongue. This action will provide you with enough moisture to swallow.

So, save the ice cream for after a concert, or rehearsal. Ditto for other dairy foods.

"Singing lessons are like bodybuilding for your larynx." -- Bernadette Peters

Have a Tickle in Your Throat? Try Salt Water

As a singer, I have found that salt water is one of my best friends. I can't tell you how many thousands of students this easy combination has rescued from a tickle to a full-on sore throat.

  • Saline spray. My favorite is a bottle of nasal saline spray (salt and water). Simply spray the salt water solution up into your nose to wash out the germs. As soon as you get a tickle, by flushing your nasal passages, you can prevent the mucus from getting too thick.
  • Gargling. Another way to go is to try gargling with warm salt water. Add a few teaspoons to a half cup of warm water and then gargle. Repeat this several times each day until symptoms disappear.
  • Avoid coffee and chocolate. The other foods to avoid before singing are coffee and chocolate. The caffeine in both products will dry out the throat. It's important to keep the vocal cords moist during singing.
  • Good health. Nourish your body with good nutrition and get plenty of sleep. Remember, as singers, we use our entire body when we sing - our bodies are our vocal instrument. Protect it, care for it and remember to "tune it" often with correct warm-ups.

Your voice is meant to serve you with power and beauty all your life. Following these tips will assure you that it will.

Sing with joy.

Luciano Pavarotti: One of the Greatest Tenors in the World

Tenor Luciano Pavarotti performing at the opening of the Constantine Palace in Strelna.

Tenor Luciano Pavarotti performing at the opening of the Constantine Palace in Strelna.

Quotes From The Greatest Tenor in The World, Luciano Pavarotti

"I'm not a politician, I'm a musician. I care about giving people a place where they can go to enjoy themselves and to begin to live again. To the man you have to give the spirit, and when you give him the spirit, you have done everything."

"I think a life in music is a life beautifully spent and this is what I have devoted my life to."

"Nothing that has happened has made me feel gloomy or remain depressed. I love my life."

(I love this quote from Pavarotti)

"If children are not introduced to music at an early age, I believe something fundamental is actually being taken from them."

* * *

About Pavarotti:

"The whole world will be listening today to his voice on every radio and television station, and that will continue. And that is his legacy. He will never stop." -- Zubin Mehta

Warning: Sing Within Your Key Range

The acceptable singing range for most singers is two to two-and-a-half octaves. although the range can produce notes of higher and lower pitch. Singers with a range of four to five octaves are exceptional.

Classification of voices (soprano, alto, tenor, bass, baritone) is made chiefly according to where the best quality of tone lies within the voice. The maximum range of pitch is determined by the length and size of the vocal folds and the ability to coordinate the vocal muscles with the rest of the body

Every song you sing should be written in your key. What does this mean? Your singing voice has a range which is limited to how high and how low you can sing. When a singer needs the notes to be higher than written in the original key, it means the song needs to be transposed into a higher key. This works the same for low notes.

Singers do not sing in just one specific key. This is because composers use different keys (scales) to write music. Professional vocalists hire manuscript writers to transpose the music into their specific singing range.

Most people learn a song by imitation. They repeat what they hear regardless of whether the song is too high or too low for them. When they do this they can damage their voice because they strain the vocal cords. The result can be hoarseness, a sore throat, or eventually, vocal nodules will grow on the vocal bands.

This happens often in choirs. Never allow a choir director to make you a soprano if you are an alto...or a tenor if you sing bass.

How do we know if a song is too high or too low for us? It's really quite simple. Listen to your body. If singing a high note doesn't feel easy - the note is too high. The same is true for low notes. Avoid trying to sing any song that is out of your natural vocal range. Otherwise, you risk doing severe damage to your vocal cords.

Sometimes using proper diaphragmatic breathing will help to sing higher notes. This is because higher notes require more air. This doesn't always work. You must be the judge.

The general rule for all singers is: If the notes are difficult to sing - don't sing them. You always have the option of transposing songs that are out of your range into a key that is comfortable for you.

With proper use and care your voice will last you a lifetime.

One of my favorite tenors ~ He sees through his heart

I can’t stand to sing the same song the same way two nights in succession, let alone two years or ten years. If you can, then it ain’t music, it’s close-order drill or exercise or yodeling or something, not music.” -- Billie Holiday

Conclusion

Your voice is meant to last a lifetime and it will with proper treatment. Remember, your natural voice is in the same range as your speaking voice. A healthy neutral voice is comfortable to sing in and does not "give out" or tire easily. Your entire body is your vocal instrument so treat it with care and respect

Our voice carries healing energy to both mind and body when we hum. What an amazing and wonderful thing this is. Humming helps to relax the face muscles and is a good warm-up to do before singing.

The more you know about your voice and how it works, the better you'll be able to use it effectively. Because your voice "rides" on-air, I recommend that you study vocal technique with a qualified teacher. Singing properly will save your voice from irritation and strain.

"We are all inherently musicians. We only have to honor this truth and move with it." Joanne Crandall, Author of Self-Transformation Through Music.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

Question: I started feeling like I have mucus trapped in my throat for over half a year now. I always have to clear my throat very often. What problem am I having and what is your advice?

Answer: This can be frustrating, and I'm sure it is for you. Let me begin by warning you to never clear your throat. This is much like scratching the throat using your sharp fingernails, and it won't help at all. Also, reduce or stop consuming all dairy products such as milk, ice cream, yogurt, cream; anything that is dairy will only produce more mucus. You might also try gargling with warm salt water for temporary relief. But, stop dairy products!

Question: Why would a singer have a nasally and cracky voice?

Answer: A nasal voice is caused when the soft palate is closed. Yawning will teach you how to sing with an open throat. To avoid a cracking as you sing, you must work on your middle voice. As you approach the break in singing, soften your voice and use more breath pressure.

Question: I was singing too high, higher than my range, now I feel a tickle in my throat and a little bit of pain. What can I do to recover and is this permanent damage or can I do anything to solve this issue?

Answer: You've most likely strained the vocal cords and it's time to get out the salt shaker, mix a teaspoon of salt with warm water and gargle. It helps to rest the voice for a few days too, and avoid whispering. I don't think any permanent damage has been done, but if these symptoms continue, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Question: Is there is an age limit to voice training?

Answer: As long as you are breathing, you can sing and qualify for vocal lessons. In fact, I teach seniors well into their 80s and 90s with amazing success.

Question: I have a lump in the hard palate. Is this why my vocal cords are strained?

Answer: Torus palatinus is a harmless, painless bony growth located on the roof of the mouth (the hard palate). The mass appears in the middle of the hard palate and can vary in size and shape. About 20 to 30 percent of the population has torus palatinus. The lump must be evaluated by your doctor to make sure nothing serious is going on. I doubt that there is a relationship between strained vocal cords and the hard palate.

Question: My voice started hurting only during and after you sing and then gets better. Now it hurts all the time, any advice?

Answer: As I mentioned earlier, insufficient air can cause irritation to the throat. Also, straining your voice by trying to sing to high or too loud may also cause damage. The result is a painful throat or hoarseness. The reason your throat still hurts most of the time is alarming. I recommend you see a throat specialist known as an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat). If you have damaged this area you will be diagnosed and treated for this problem.

Question: What should I do if my throat gets hoarse while singing?

Answer: Stop singing and rest the voice for a few days. Also, avoid yelling or harsh singing always. Never force the voice be singing too loud or too high. Give your voice support by breathing diaphragmatically instead of using the chest.

Question: Every time I sing my throat feels sore/burning. Is it because I don't breathe right?

Answer: When singers experience a sore throat after singing it is usually a result of vocal strain. Improper breathing, singing too high or low and forcing the voice are all causes of vocal damage. Here is information on how to avoid straining your voice.

https://spinditty.com/learning/How-to-Avoid-Throat...

Question: My throat started feeling pain like something is hurting my throat during and after singing every time. Any advice?

Answer: Throat irritation during or after singing is a direct result of the lack of proper vocal technique. Skills such as diaphragmatic breathing must be incorporated. Also, do not over-sing, and keep your voice at the same, easy dynamic as you go from low to high.

Keep your voice well hydrated with plenty of room-temperature water. Avoid at all cost, screaming or yelling. Never sing higher or lower than is absolutely natural and comfortable.

Good vocal technique will set your voice free!

Question: Can I drink milk after singing practice in morning?

Answer: As long as the result of drinking milk does not cause mucus, yes. Some recent studies indicate that milk, in fact, does not produce mucus. The jury is still out on this. I would go ahead and have that glass of milk after your practice session.

Question: My "natural' voice (without effort) is considerably higher than my usual voice (forced). What would be the proper terms for my high natural voice and usual voice?

Answer: I would say you're a soprano from your description. I would need to hear your voice to be sure about this. You mentioned forcing your voice...never do this. Straining the voice can lead to vocal damage. Make sure your breathing is initiated through your diaphragm and not the chest.

Question: If I practice singing for more than two weeks I start having mucus. Some times I catch a cold. Should I keep practicing?

Answer: Mucus is caused by consuming dairy products like milk, ice cream, cheese and such and has nothing to do with practicing. So avoid all foods with dairy before singing. When you have a cold, it's best to rest your voice.

Question: Whenever I sing without a mic my throat is fine but when I sing with mic, my throat starts getting sour. How can I prevent this?

Answer: I'm not clear about the term sour. I can tell you that using a microphone does not enhance the voice. It only adds an echo effect and projects the sound. Perhaps you could use some mic training...you may be using it the wrong way.

Question: I barely feel pain when I sing but I can't sing as good as I used to. What might cause that?

Answer: We should never feel any pain when we sing. Pain indicates that we are singing wrong. I recommend that you start training with a good, qualified vocal teacher. The sooner, the better. You don't want to abuse and damage your throat my singing incorrectly.

Question: Is singing in a closed room bad for one's throat?

Answer: I see no problem at all when singing in a closed room. The variety of acoustical properties will have an effect on how you sound but as far as the throat is concerned a closed room has no effect whatsoever.

Question: After talking continuously for a few minutes to an hour or after singing, my throat hurts and it's been going on for a few years. Do you have any advice or diagnosis?

Answer: Your symptoms are most likely due to vocal strain. This can be caused by Improper breathing, singing too high or low, and forcing the voice. Learning how to breathe from the diaphragm https://spinditty.com/learning/TheMiracleofBreathi... is the first order of business for you. To sing correctly, your tone must have enough air to ride on. Air acts as a cushion for your tone. Your larynx, (voice box), is being strained because of this. I also recommend seeing your doctor make sure there are no vocal nodes. You may need to rest your voice for a period of time.

© 2011 Audrey Hunt

Comments

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 05, 2020:

Subomi

In order to belt, we must sing loud. Belting is a type of singing that is robust and bright. We. also want to use dynamics and one way to hold the attention of an audience is to sing quietly. We don't want to belt our way through every song. Using contrast moves the listener emotionally.

I hope this helps and thanks.

Subomi on June 28, 2020:

Will singing soft at high pitches decrease your belting power?

Is belting opposed to singing soft at high pitches? I'm confused.

Thanks

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on February 29, 2020:

Benny

Your comments are so nice to read. I appreciate your sharing your thoughts about this article. It's important to me, as a writer and vocal coach, that I help singers. You have done that!

Good luck on your singing career.

Audrey Hunt

Benny vibes on August 02, 2019:

This... all of this has helped me so much. I’m a new singer and I’m not afraid to get up in front of people to sing to them only issue is it always hurts afterwards. The tips here have really let me lay down some foundations to slowly turn into habits so I can continue my career.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on February 07, 2019:

Hi Grace

I suspect you need more air for those high notes. Review my article on breathing for singing.https://hubpages.com/learning/TheMiracleofBreathin...

Also, do not sing louder as you sing higher! Remember, you must breath low in order to initiate the right amount of air needed for singing. This will help.

Thanks

Kevin

Singing should never feel painful, during or after. Never! Soften your voice as you sing higher and avoid forcing the sound. If, at age 20, your voice sounds high pitched you may very well be a tenor. Stop going above your vocal limits. If you continue on this path, you may damage your vocal cords permanently!

Kevin on January 30, 2019:

Hi. So I am twenty years old and in love with singing. I never really sang in public before, just started singing in public, though, starting last year. Always have been a home singer (or a bathroom singer).

What I noticed though is that my voice is a little high-pitched. I remembered my voice going deep during early years of puberty, but somehow, from time to time, it comes back to the high-pitched one.

And now, I am 20 and my voice isn't as high-pitched as before but still high pitched. I'm not entirely sure if I'm a tenor (but I was told that I am tenor when my cousin played the note in her piano that sounded relative to my speaking voice.) I only have a little idea with the notes, but I think I can sing pretty high up. At least, higher than my friend's voices (all male and we are 12 member boy group), which, most of them, are musicians.

Now, the problem I get is I think I have a very throaty voice that's why it's high-pitched. When I sing, I do use huge breaths for support and letting the power come from my diaphragm and relaxing my throat. However, I still get pains from my throat and I'm in the exploration part so I try to go beyond my limits, sometimes. My throat would even feel pain after prolonged speaking. Is there a solution to this?

Thank you!

Grace on January 07, 2019:

Hi Audrey,

I am a 14 year old girl who loves to sing. I have been singing for my entire life but I have had no formal training except for school musicals and music classes. The other day, I sang for a a while doing the same song over and over, trying to get a good run. the song may have been on the edge of my range, the notes did not hurt in the moment, but my voice hurt afterward. I tried singing a little more today and now it really hurts! ah, I don't know what I should do! I am super scared that I have permanently damaged my voice in some way. my voice is my only way of self expression so I am super concerned and still don't know what's wrong. any thoughts of what I could do! thank you!

grace

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on October 31, 2018:

Ben

Support all notes, especially high tones, with Breath Control! I suspect you've been trying to reach those high notes without using diaphragmatic breathing. This will often cause vocal strain.

I advise you to see your doctor if you are still having symptoms.

Also, remember that at your age, the voice goes through changes (as does the body.) I sometimes advise my young men to avoid singing through the duration of hormonal changes.

Best of luck,

Audrey Hunt

Ben Curtis on October 31, 2018:

I know I am very late on this but I really am very confused and need to know what i should do, anyways, I am 16 years old, i am an actual tenor at the moment my highest note without having to belt is a B4, and i can belt a C5 i wouldnt dare push my voice further than that cause I am happy with that, anyways this is without my falsetto, my falsetto goes up to a G5, without having to force or anything, so I warmed up my voice properly, and I got to G5 and I decided that I would try to hit the next note, now of course I hit the note but there was a sharp pain in my throat it wasnt an unbearable pain, it went away for and I decided I would never try that again, I then decided to continue singing, unfortunately I woke up the next day with a pain up high in the upper part of my throat, and its been here for the last week and a half, should I be worried, I have done research I dont know if there is a difference between straining a vocal cord and damaging, the pain is pretty mild, but it is there, also i dont have any hoarsness or anything no loss of pitch, i do have some vocal fatigue like i can only sing for 30 minutes without it hurting more, i just honestly am very confused, and any help would be highly appreciated

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on August 12, 2018:

Dr. Amin

Thank you for your positive feedback. It's always nice to know that my writing about this subject has been useful and valuable to my readers.

Abdul Azeez

.I suggest you see your doctor about this problem. Meanwhile, avoid singing and limit your speaking, otherwise, more damage could occur. I wish you the best and thank you.

Abdul Azeez on August 12, 2018:

Hi,

I started singing a few months back. I am learning on my own (i don't have a teacher). i am starting to feel pain when i swallow water and especially when i laugh. It doesn't hurt when i swallow food. And it feels like i can't hit high notes which i was able to do normally. At first i felt it was just a sore throat which would last not more than a week but its been more than a month now.Please help me!

Dr Renuka B Amin on July 31, 2018:

Dear Audrey , this is a very useful and valuable advice.Grateful !

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on July 05, 2018:

Alex

If your throat hurts during or after singing, you're straining your voice due to lack of air. I suggest you begin working on your breathing. Here is an article I wrote. Follow the instructions and be sure to apply when singing. https://hubpages.com/learning/TheMiracleofBreathin...

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on June 07, 2018:

Hi Vicky,

The voice is meant to last a lifetime but only if we take care of it and use it properly. Following the steps in this article will help. If you're still finding that you get hoarse, you need more breath pressure. Be sure to measure the amount of air you emit as you sing through each phrase. I hope this helps and thanks.

Vicky on June 07, 2018:

Hi I sing in a choir I’m a soprano I am professionally trained but I am finding that now as I only sing once a week properly my voice gets horse and sore after singing please tell me I’m not damaging my voice I know to sing from the diagphram but sometimes maybe over sing like us all please help

Connor on May 10, 2018:

Hey,

I am a singer of a band rock and have been for almost 5 years. Recently it has became hard to sing notes and normally come very easy. My voice gets sore and breaks mid note after around one hour of singing. Also, round two hours after singing a set or after a rehearsal it becomes very difficult to sing anything, my voice just breaks and becomes very husky like I was a throat infection. I am wondering if I have damaged my voice while singing because I have actually had no vocal training at all or if it’s my lifestyle? I work nights from 5PM to 5AM five days pair week and only get around 5/6 hours of sleep pair night and I also smoke. I am aware that smoking is a terrible idea for a singer and will effect my vocal ability however I am worryed that this could be because I have been singing incorrectly? If you could help I would much appreciate it.

Thank you

SimplyRuby on April 17, 2018:

Hi!

I'm a soprano, and my voice has gotten terribly sore, even talking makes my voice crack and change volume, like I'll suddenly get louder, or quieter, and my voice will crack. My throat gets a weird tickle, even when just breathing. How do I fix this problem when I'm on the go?

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on March 03, 2018:

Hi Dean,

I've added you to the list of voices asking for some help. I will send you an email as soon as I listen to your voice. I'm hoping to get to you next week.

Meanwhile, practice "the siren" exercise to help avoid vocal cracking. Also, do not force the tone where your break occurs. Use plenty of air.

Thanks.

Audrey

Ally on January 25, 2018:

Ways to get the voice placed in your mask without it scratching your throat?

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on January 25, 2018:

Hi Leila

How nice to see you here. I'd like to address your vocal problem. You say that your voice feels strained. It is! To avoid this...take in more air upon attacking the tone and be sure you're using the diaphragm correctly.

Also, are you relaxed and void from tension in the jaw? The phlegm is caused from dairy products.

Let me know how these tips help and thanks.

Audrey

Leila on January 24, 2018:

I've always been a soprano, and high notes have always come easy, but for the last year or so my voice feels strained when hitting high notes. After I sing my voice usually feels raw and hoarse, and phlegm builds up in my throat, which never used to happen.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on January 19, 2018:

Paula

How time does fly. Apologies for my lateness. You are so funny and I'm still giggling over your comment. If I ever get to your part of the country you are going to sing for me. This is not a threat...it's a promise.

Happy New Year gorgeous!

Audrey

Suzie from Carson City on November 02, 2017:

audrey,,,,Hi cutey! Is there anything you can recommend for "general irritation" felt by those listening to me sing?? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!! Hope you had a SPOOKTACTULAR

Halloween! Hugs, Paula

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on November 02, 2017:

Vaishali

I'm very pleased to hear that my article helped you. By following these tips you will preserve your singing (and speaking) voice. Please see some of my other articles for important tips on singing.

Vaishali sharma on October 07, 2017:

Thanks for the details they helped me a lot........

dvora swickle on May 19, 2017:

can you ever reverse a frozen vocal chord, its so hard now and coughing is horrible. sheeeeeesh

Sierra Huey on April 14, 2017:

I wish I can do that

Mags on March 13, 2017:

I try to warm up my voice before singing, but am anxious to get started. I drink warm tea with honey/no milk, while singing. After I sing my throat is always coated and am a bit hoarse. I sing many high notes and woodshed my parts. How much time should I practise especially high passages?. Is singing for 45 mins too long when you are a novice? When in choir, I rarely have this problem.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on February 05, 2017:

Maira

Thank you for your wonderful comments. Your alerting non-singers as well as those that sing is important. I respect your views on this subject. Again thanks.

Maira on February 03, 2017:

Not everyone among us is a singer, but it does not mean that throat clearing is not your concern. You should never take your throat for granted for it is one of the greatest blessings we human have. When the throat is itchy, feels dry or swollen or there is a problem in producing voice, it has to be dealt in a way that offers you no side effects. What’s more better than dealing with few home ingredients.

Amazing healthy life tips...

Thanks for sharing :)

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on September 06, 2016:

Patricia

After searching for your you tube video I am unable to find your video. More information is needed. Thank you.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on September 06, 2016:

Hi Patricia

Thank you for being here and for leaving your comments. I would need to meet with you in order to give you an opinion. Everyone is different responding to a variety of techniques. I will take a look at your video and get back to you.

Patricia Kirby on September 06, 2016:

I am/was a singer songwriter, crooner, swing style. I am not in my late 70's and although not involved in singing/recording as I once did, I still would like to sing now and then. However, when I attempt to sing (croon) it's not long before an itchy/cough type feeling prevents me from going on. I am very fit and healthy, don't drink, smoke, or indulge in anything which would contribute to this irritation. It's only there when I sing.. especially when I drop my voice to the lower notes.. I'm sure it's not serious but I would like to sort it out, bothering the doctor seems a bit excess. Some of my songs have been semi finalists in the U.K. Int. Singer/songwriter contest and I would like to submit more. Can I cure this problem? I am featured on You Tube, Lady Lyrics and Music, my own plus standard numbers are there, I have had a good following for many years.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on March 20, 2016:

Using diaphragmatic breathing while singing not only provides the singer with stamina...it also protects the voice from straining. Be sure not to over-sing.

Raghava.S on February 05, 2016:

How to sing conituously In A 2-3 Hours Live Concerts With Out Getting Tire And Strain Of Our Vocal Cords?????

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on December 23, 2015:

antentomigree - You've made my day. Thanks for adding my articles to your favorites. I write for people like yourself. Hope to read more comments of yours on my other posts.

neaddlklblord - Thank you for your kind comments and for reading my article. I'd love to hear from you again as you visit more of my hubs.

Elise - Hi. Hydration is crucial for singing with a scratchy throat. Drink room temperature water as cold restricts the vocal cords. Also warm up your voice for at least 10- minutes before singing. Thanks

Elise on November 17, 2015:

Audrey, every winter I get a scratchy dry throat for at least two months straight. Is it ok to sing through this?

neaddikibiord on October 04, 2015:

It really a great and useful piece of information. I am satisfied that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

anteniomigree on September 04, 2015:

Hello there, I discovered your blog by way of Google at the same time as searching for a comparable matter, your website came up, it looks good. I’ve added to favourites|added to my bookmarks.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on December 20, 2014:

Hezekiah

Thanks so much! So nice to see you here. Take care. Audrey

Hezekiah from Japan on December 17, 2014:

Some very good tips there. I should share this with our band singer.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on October 27, 2014:

toknowinfo - Thanks for being here and taking time to leave a comment. I'm with you on chocolate. :)

toknowinfo on October 27, 2014:

This is a great hub. Thank you for putting this useful information together. I can do everything you said except avoiding chocolate.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on October 26, 2014:

Nicole - Thank you for being here. I would advise you to see a specialist (ENT) to rule out damage to your vocal cords. You want to make sure you are free from vocal nodes.

Rest your voice and refrain from singing. Do not whisper. Learn diaphragmatic breathing. I have instruction for this. Let me know what the doctor says. - vocalcoach

chris - I appreciate your kind comments very much. If I can be of further help, drop me an email. Thanks chris. - vocalcoach

chris on October 26, 2014:

Thank you for the info you have shared in such detail. I am a singer & often deal with excessive mucus & have already consulted a doc. I will use your tips for voice maintenance and I know I will benefit from them. Be blessed for sharing your gift with others.

Nicole on September 26, 2014:

I had a bad cold last winter and tried to sing through it, but now that my cold is gone it hurts to sing and sometimes even talking a lot is uncomfortable. Any advice?

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 12, 2014:

jim - Thanks so much for being here and for sharing your story. And you are so welcome. It is both my pleasure and my joy to share what I know about the voice with others. I love hearing from professionals like yourself.

Regards.

vocalcoach

jim on May 11, 2014:

40 years of singing professionally and you're right about the water, salt, lemon, and honey... but I never consciously knew about the humidifier trick. I've always noticed the more humidity in the air the clearer my voice is - in fact playing Bangkok a couple months ago I was hitting highs I haven't hit in years lol. Thanks for pushing that to the front of my mind.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on March 26, 2014:

Shirley - I thank you for your wonderful message. I invite you to read more articles that I have here on hubpages. Thanks again. ~ Audrey

Raman Joshi - I'm happy that the rea and honey worked for you. Come back and see me again - Thanks = Audrey

Raman Joshi on January 20, 2014:

thnx for ur tips of vocal chords,

the lemon tea plus honey is best medicine to the chords I got, because of ur tips. Thnk you....

Shirley Laux on January 14, 2014:

Wow,this is amazing opened my eyes,and ears the lessons given here and thanks for sharing it with us. Yes same goes with me rather listen to someone with awesome vocal cords than some one just pretending he has them and follow the advise of great singers,and how they did it and made it happen,,thank you for sharing.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on April 06, 2013:

Vocalstudent - Thank you for reading my hub and sharing your opinion. I appreciate your passion.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on November 17, 2012:

chrmgbill - Build your confidence and your technique and your problem will disappear. When you "hope" you get through a song, that indicates fear and your body responds by tension which drys out the throat. Also, keep your throat hydrated with room temperature water.

chrmgbill on November 17, 2012:

Why is it when I sing I am usually fine but if I start hoping I get through song without my throat drying out and shutting off (cough) it always does ?

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on October 12, 2012:

Ezrah - Thank you for sharing your daughter's story. I'm so very sorry about her allergys. I will check her out on youtube and wish her the very best. It is best to stick with a specialist for treating her allergies. Thanks again.

ezrahnoelle on October 11, 2012:

My 9 year old daughter is performing in a show in Branson. She says its like a dream come true. She has told me since she was 4 years old that God wants her to use her voice to be a blessing to others. We moved to Branson after this theater contacted us and wanted to hire her. She is highly allergic to cedar trees and is taking allergy shots for that and many other allergies. She sings and yodels but after a bad case of the croup and taking steroids she still can't sing. She got up on stage last night and her voice went out on her. Her ENT is going to scope her on Monday and we're trying to locate Dr Dennis Resting who we've heard has worked wonders for other performers in this area. He's hard to find though. We've cut out all dairy, tried local honey, tea, lots of water but her voice isn't coming back. The worst part is what its doing to her emotionally. She tells me all she wants to do is sing and she doesn't understand why this is happening to her. Only 1 song a night shouldn't be too much on her voice. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions I would be open to them. She's so sad and complete vocal rest is hard for a child but she's doing great t it. We have a humidifier that's by her bed and on 24/7, she does her sinus rinses and gargles salt water... all without me telling her to because she loves to sing. She said the stage is her home... my heart is breaking for her. Look her up on YouTube if you want to hear her. Search channel gecheek or Ezrah Noelle.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on September 03, 2012:

Red Elf - Hello. Glad to have your comments. It helps to have feedback like this. Also, I'm doing extensive research on the benefit of drinking room temperature water as opposed to cold. Keep an eye open :)

zito manyisa on June 20, 2012:

thanx for the ideas i was sad about my voice but when i started to learn more in your page it realy helped me, and now i can sing as a bird, THANX A LOT

RedElf from Canada on June 02, 2012:

Thanks for the tips - I had never heard of the tip of the tongue thing, but it works a treat. I always drink room temperature, as cold water hurts my teeth. Glad I have a life-long good habit, even if it is not on purpose.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 21, 2012:

Hi Golfgal. I love hearing from singers. And your comments are so very welcomed. I especially thank you for your information on PJ as I have never heard that before. Thanks for your vote up and I hope to see you again very soon.

Golfgal from McKinney, Texas on May 08, 2012:

Your pen name caught my attention as I am a singer. Mostly raised in the choir, solos, weddings, funerals, joined a band and made a Christan based CD one year. I love to sing. I agree with all you said...I will add one thing. After singing pineapple juice is amazingly soothing to the throat. Also it helped when I had solos to sing over the holidays and had no voice from a sinus infection. The PJ helped me cope with that tickle and soothed. Not sure exactly why. It was recommended by a voice coach long ago. Voted you up..

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on April 28, 2012:

bmukherjii ~ I consider it an honor to have you, a singer doing shows, comment on my hub. You have confirmed 2 of my rules for avoiding throat irritations.

Thank you so much and I hope to see you again soon.

bmukherjii on April 25, 2012:

Amazing..thanks VOCALCOACH for writing this hub. I am a singer and I know how it feels when your voice get damaged just prior to a stage show. In my case, over singing and drinking chilled water are main the causes

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on April 19, 2012:

Emeldah - Please contact me through hubpage. You may send me an email.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on April 04, 2012:

rajan jolly ~ Taking good care of our voice is important for all of us. Singers and public speakers must be even more careful of how they use their voice.

One of the hardest habits my own students find difficult to stop is "clearing the throat."

I will check out Mohammed Rafi by reading your hub. I know I will enjoy this. Thank you my friend for your comments, voting up and awesome and sharing!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 17, 2012:

Audrey, these are excellent tips for a singer. One of the leading legends of bollywood playback singing - Mohammed Rafi, is a fine example. He was a non drinker, a non smoker, was not a party guy. He spoke almost in a whisper as his son reveals in an interview but in front of the microphone roared like a lion. A gem of a human being in real life.

I have just written a hub on him.

I fully agree with this wonderful hub points and wish singers especially would emulate and incorporate the key points outlined by you to maintain their voice.

I will share this hub with my brother who is a sings too.

Voted up & awesome and shared.

collegatariat on January 14, 2012:

Thanks for the pointers! The portion on laryngitis reminds me of a story about Renee Fleming-- she had the soprano solo in the Christmas oratorio in her sophomore year and woke up the morning of the performance with no voice! She ended up singing that night after a day of babying her voice, but that story always amazes me. You have some great advice to give, so thanks for taking the time to share it.

DBoone on January 03, 2012:

I really thank you for this advise. I'm just getting over a sore throat and I'm going to use these techniques faithfully. I'm a gospel singer, and sometimes being a gospel singer we sing hard, and I get hoarse sometimes. One question, what are some good everyday throat exercise that you recommend?

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on December 22, 2011:

Prasetio - I want to thank you, my dear friend for reading, commenting and voting on my hub. I hope you can use some of these tips to keep your throat healthy. Best wishes ~

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on December 22, 2011:

Qudsia - Very happy to see you here. Thank you for taking time to leave a comment for me~

Tina Siuagan from Rizal, Philippines on December 15, 2011:

Very useful hub! I wonder what warm-ups are "destructive" that singers shouldn't be doing?

funmontrealgirl from Montreal on September 28, 2011:

I don't myself sing, but I have friends who do so I bookmarked this and fired it over to them in an email. Great information.

Eiddwen from Wales on September 28, 2011:

A very beautiul nd useful hub,another gem to vote up.

Here's to so many more hubs to share on here.

Take care

Eiddwen.

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on September 26, 2011:

Voted up! Very useful article with so many useful tips. When I sing, I get a sore throat very easily. Take for granted, I don't sing all that much these days but I hope to in the future. Glad to follow. Take care and I look forward to talking with you.

Margaret on July 28, 2011:

Hello there! Thanks for the article I found it very interesting! I started singing quite a while ago, and the problem I get most of the time, is that it feels like my throat is not clear enough, like mayeb there is too much mucus in there, that I find myself clearing my throat often - but the thing is I don't have anything dairy or chocolate before singing, and I still get it in my throat. What would you advise me to do in this situation? Thanks!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on June 04, 2011:

CollB - Learning to "place" the voice in a "mixed" vocal register, such as chest/mask will help in projecting the voice for both speakers and singers. Clean enunciation with crisp consonants and open vowels are a must. Thank you very much for your excellent comments. A real pleasure!

CollB on June 04, 2011:

A really useful and informative hub. I took singing lessons myself to project my voice, initially for presentations to fellow students in seminars but I find the techniques used, good in general and your tips, especially that of not drinking ice cold drinks a few hours before 'singing'. Voted up and again enjoyed reading this hub!

Richard83 from West Virginia on May 29, 2011:

Hey there. I am a songwriter and singer. This is great advice. I haven't made it nowhere but to be honest, I haven't made my move. I write country. It is great to meet someone that shares the same passion. It is TRULY an HONOR. Many thanks.

Kathi from Saugatuck Michigan on May 26, 2011:

This is very useful Audrey, I need to show this to my son who's recently purchased a guitar and spends time singing and playing his guitar. It's his new hobby! I'm thrilled...I hear him clear his throat at times and strain his voice for those higher notes! Thank you for sharing...ps Pavorati and Adrea are amazing and I adore Barbra (Her face is so soft in that photo)

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 23, 2011:

Sylvia's Thoughts - Thank you so very much for reading my hub and commenting. Your confirmation is so welcomed. Coming from a choral professional like yourself, I am very honored. I look forward to reading your hubs, which I will start - right now!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 20, 2011:

Support Med. ~ Hello my beautiful friend! What magnificent comments you have left here. I hope everyone that visits my hub, read your words and is as moved by them as I am. Your own hubs are also some of the best in hubland! BTW ~ I love my coffee as well, especially in the morning. :) vocalcoach

Support Med. from Michigan on May 20, 2011:

I'm in trouble already, love the coffee!!! But I know what your mean....Salt water is a good acquaintance of mine whenever I feel a little throat irritation. These tips are great and I will remember this hub. Thanks for sharing and have a great day!!!!!!!

"If children are not introduced to music at an early age, I believe something fundamental is actually being taken from them." I agree with this quote and regret that so much as been taken away from the public school systems for the children. There are some schools which are still fortunate to have it, but in many music, art, drama and even physical education has been taken away, so sad. Pavarotti's words should be on a billboard.

v/r

BTW: Looks like you were singing your little heart out there!!

Harlan Colt from the Rocky Mountains on May 16, 2011:

What an awesome hub. I love it. I took vocal in college 100 years ago... lol... and have forgotten much of this, and some if it I never knew - or else I forgot it so completely its like its brand new all over ha ha. I really enjoyed this. I am going to fan you! oops almost forgot, what about singers like Aerosmith - Steven Tyler who scream a lot - some of those hard rock guys that scream all the time - how do they keep screaming without bursting a their vocal chords? They get on stage and scream for two hours. Paul Stanley of Kiss - one of the strongest voices in Rock... amazing. Just curious.

- best wishes,

- Harlan

Betty Johansen on May 16, 2011:

Wow, great information! I don't sing (and the world is grateful), but I do read to my aunt who has macular degeneration. Sometimes my throat gets scratchy, so I read your suggestions with a lot of interest. I'll think of my reading as a performance, and now I know how to prepare for the performance. Thank you!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 16, 2011:

rishworld - How wonderful to see you here and to know that my hub has helped you. That is all I want. Thanks for giving me a smile. :)vocalcoach

rishworld from Dreammie Kreatiw World.. on May 16, 2011:

Very very very useful..... Frankly i needed this from so many days.. Special thanx for sharing... Luv :)

Sylvia Van Peebles from Southern California on May 15, 2011:

You are right on the money. As a choral music director and teacher, I have taught all of these to my students!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 14, 2011:

Satyam7 - How nice to see you here! Thank you for the comments. Very glad you found this information helpful. Hope to see you again, soon. :) vocalcoach

Satyam7 from Ontario, Canada on May 14, 2011:

I always suspected these things, but wasn't quite sure. Thanks for sharing. This is a great hub.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 14, 2011:

Ruchira - You have made my day! This is exactly what I hope for when I write for singers. You are so kind to share these positive comments. Can't begin to thank you enough. Let me know when ever you need help with your voice. Always here for you! :) vocalcoach

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on May 13, 2011:

I love singing and your tips really useful for us. I hope I can follow your advice above. Rated up as usual. Have a nice weekend! Cheers....

Prasetio

Ruchira from United States on May 13, 2011:

Music is my life, vocalcoach and you sure did give me some great tips on how to maintain these chords of mine :)

Voted up!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 13, 2011:

Qudsia - Hi, friend! Thanks for popping over to read this. It's like playing tennis with you. I hit the ball to you, and you return it (and over the net) :) Thanks

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 13, 2011:

Hello - Can you see how supportive you are to me? Even though this topic may not be on your list of "priority reading" - you still take the time to look at my hub and leave a comment. That rates #1 with me - and hello, you are #1 in my book. Thank you dear friend. Love, vocalcoach

Hello, hello, from London, UK on May 13, 2011:

An interesting inside of a world I don't know nothing out it. I enjoyed reading it.

QudsiaP1 on May 13, 2011:

A must read for all singers!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 12, 2011:

H P - Thank you for reading this, my friend. I am pleased that you found this information useful. Have a wonderful day. :) vocalcoach

H P Roychoudhury from Guwahati, India on May 12, 2011:

The hub has provided very useful information. Thanks for sharing.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Idyllwild Ca. on May 11, 2011:

Jacob - Singing in the shower also works! Glad you stopped by and thanks.

jacobsterling from New York on May 11, 2011:

wow.. very useful hub..

i used have concert on my bathroom..

now that i read your advice maybe i can improve my singing ability now and avoid throat irritation when i'm rockin' on my bathroom..haha..yeah! Godspeed!