Prevention and Emergency Aid
Even though a singer’s voice might sound as if it is strained or that it has perhaps completely disappeared, it can often be repaired within a few hours. A large part of our work at Complete Vocal Institute is to give ‘Emergency Aid’. This means I am called out to recording studios or concert tours where singers needs help, either with technically difficult assignments or because they have acute vocal problems. What needs doing depends on the circumstances, but first I ask the singer to see a specialist who can make a diagnosis by looking at the vocal cords, using either a rigid or fibre-optic endoscope and ideally stroboscopy.
- Often the report from the doctor is that s/he actually cannot see anything wrong, even though everyone can clearly hear the singer is hoarse and unable to go through with the concert. In this case, just a few hours of working on removing uncontrolled constriction restores the voice as if nothing happened. The support however, will require more physical strength. If the singer is strong and able to supply this extra strength there is no reason why the concert cannot go ahead.
- Often the vocal cords are inflamed and irritated, but there are no distinct signs of damage. Also in this case releasing uncontrolled constriction may avoid further irritation to the vocal cords and allow the singer to fulfil the concert engagement.
- Sometimes the vocal cords show sign of strain, perhaps with developing nodules. There is not much that can be done as the vocal cords need rest! These days, doctors can administer medicines to reduce the swelling for the singer to get through a concert. It is not always to be recommended as the vocal cords ideally need rest and the condition may be prolonged or may be worsened if the singer keeps on singing.
Even very experienced singers can suddenly create uncontrolled constriction around the vocal cords, sometimes to such an extent that s/he can not utter a sound.
Emergency Aid over the phone
Sometimes there is not enough time to get to the singer before a concert so we have to work over the phone. In order to be able to give Emergency Aid over the phone it is helpful to have worked with the singer previously.