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Vocal Confusion

There seems to be a fairly consistent phenomenon that happens in the first while when we begin vocal training, particularly when re-establishing the natural vocal function. While not exclusive to singers, it appears more readily for them because of the greater demands they are asking of their voices.

You’ll notice that your voice doesn’t work predictably all the time; sometimes it’s great and you feel good about the vocal training you’ve done, and on other occasions you can’t seem to sing at all! I call this “vocal confusion”.

Think of it this way: we use our voices out of habit, hence the muscles just do what they do and we aren’t aware of it at all, i.e. they are responding to our subconscious thought or habitual thinking. Generally, this is a good thing if the voice is free, flexible and well-balanced to start with. We don’t want to be having to worry about our “technique” when we’re in the middle of singing in a concert, or making that important speech, for example. It is desirable that our vocal function is spontaneous and free. However, when we begin our vocal training most of us have a habit or two or more, that are impeding the ease of our voices.

As we begin to re-establish connection with the natural vocal infrastructure the physical muscle response may be good, however the old habit may still be lingering and can reappear once we’re no longer concentrating on the vocal function. In short, the “new” habits aren’t firmly established yet, and the “old” habits haven’t given way to the new ... sometimes they have a bit of a fight with each other. Gradually this will disappear as the new habits take hold, and become the spontaneous response to our thoughts and desire to sing and speak well.

So, hang in there!

Vocal Warm Ups

It is very important to warm up, especially before you expect to do a vigorous or lengthy sing. These exercises are SUGGESTIONS ONLY as to how to START your warm up, as the same exercises, or sequence of exercises won’t be what you need each and every day. Similarly, should you want to recommend them to someone else, please note that what you need, and what someone else needs may be quite different depending on your overall vocal condition and experience and how flexible, or not, your respective voices are feeling at any given day or time of the day!

Read Sue's complete warm up notes »