Karaoke Scene February/March 2012 : Page 4

Permanent Damage By Mark Baxter voices in practice but then respond o subject heading appears to their lack of power and control by in my email inbox more overcompensating in performance. than, “Help -I think I per-Your goal when practicing should be manently damaged my voice!” Yet, to create an environment consistent not one of these emails is written by with performing. That way there are someone with a permanent pathol-no surprises when on stage. “Saving” ogy, or impairment to his or her your voice for a performance sends voice. I’m not suggesting that the a message to your subconscious that vocal folds cannot be irreversibly what you do on stage is bad for your harmed, merely making an observa-voice. No wonder why your neck and tion that a singer who fears damage jaw brace in anticipation for the big is the least likely candidate to cause high notes! anything that won’t heal. Ironically, it’s the singer that feels invincible Freedom of expression requires that should be more respectful of the freedom of mind. You can’t sing demands placed on the larynx when with passion and be concerned about your vocal folds at the same time. singing with passion. You also can’t sing with reckless I understand why many people are disregard and expect the condition of paranoid. Losing the ability to speak your voice to be unaffected. Under-and sing would be as devastating as standing the realities of what delicate losing your hearing or sight. Playing vocal tissues can and can’t handle on that fear is the all-too-often-used will ensure both your mind and voice term, “permanent damage.” I have are free of burden. Since the brain two problems with this term. The governs all behaviors, the best place first is that it is so often not true and to start this process is by detangling the second is that it usually creates all those fears and folklore floating a far greater issue for singers: fear. around in your mind. N Voice teachers are the worst offend-ers, casually throwing out the threat of permanent damage if a singer doesn’t follow their advice. Like my mother telling me I would perma-nently damage my eyes by watch-ing too much TV. Dire warnings also tend to hide a bias. My mother simply wanted me to read more and my college voice professor wanted me to belt less. The problem with using fear as a teaching tactic is that it plants inse-curity in the mind of the singer. It creates a passive/aggressive behav-ior pattern where singers become reluctant to fully challenge their  Feb / Mar 2012 That voice in your head thinks in words. However, clear thinking re-quires specific language. You don’t need a medical degree to get more detailed about what’s going on in your throat. Swelling, irritation, strained muscles, bruises, calluses, blisters, infection, bleeding, ulcers and cysts can occur anywhere in and outside your body. Yet, when it comes to the voice, we tend to lump all of these conditions into one major See DAMAGE.. page 6 KARAOKE SCENE

Permanent Damage

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