Voice Care For Singers
Preserve Your Voice
Professional singers have been known to take extra steps to care for their voices. Singers, as well as others who use their voices on a regular basis, need to ensure that they take steps to preserve their vocal chords. There are many things that singers can do to protect their voices.
Warming Up Properly
Just as athletes need to warm up their bodies prior to a game, singers need to warm up as well. Singers need to loosen up their vocal chords before attempting to sing. If a singer does not properly warm up, they run the risk of putting undue stress and strain on their voices.
While everyone needs to breath, singers need to utilize proper breathing techniques when singing. Part of proper techniques in breathing is knowing what types of breaths to take, as well as when to take them. If a singer does not breathe properly, they could be out of breath at an inopportune time. Plus, if they are not breathing when they should, they could also be placing a strain on their voice.
Professional singers need to project their voices properly. In order to do that, singers need to have correct posture when singing. By keeping your torso in a straight position, singers are able to project their voices louder and clearer than singers that are not sitting in an upright position. Good posture is a key to a strong voice.
Don't Over Sing
It seems like a simple concept - sing as strongly as your normal voice allows. However, occasionally singers will try to go "over the top" with a performance and over sing. Simply stated, make sure you sing within your abilities. If a singer attempts to over sing then they will risk injuring their vocal chords.
Singing the Right Part
All singers have limitations! A soprano should sing a soprano part and an alto should sing an alto part. Singers should not sing parts that are not right for their abilities. If a singer attempts a part that is too high or too low, they would be putting stress on their voices, and could do damage to vocal chords.
A singing voice is a beautiful and valuable instrument which must be protected at all times. In addition to the above tips, singers need to care for their voices on an everyday basis. Things such as not shouting and screaming will prevent vocal injuries, and making sure that your throat is covered in cold weather. Anything that can prevent singers from losing their voice is very important, and these steps must be taken at all times.
How do you classify your voice?
The basic voice roles are Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass. You've likely already identified yourself as one of those four vocal orders.
Seems simple enough, doesn't it?
Well, there are more, many more in fact, than just those four categories.
Source Cantabile-Subito.de mentioned that as of the mid nineteenth century, the four categories have been expanded and subdivided to indicate not only the singer's approximate range, but also the relative weight of his voice and in many cases, the type of music for which he is particularly suited.
Once the subdivision and reshuffling of the vocal deck began, there needed to be a term or new classification system developed to assign particular voice types to their newly found niches.
The overarching word in question?
The German term "fach", literally meaning "compartment", is widely known as the German Fach System. The German Fach System is a method of vocal classification used in opera houses to classify singers and pair them with complementary operatic roles.
If a singer is identified as being able to sing in a certain "Fach", they are given roles that are designated as such, making it easier for the casting director to choose a voice and more pleasurable for the singer selected to perform a specific character role.
Usually, someone is only asked to sing roles within their fach to ensure that singers are cast in roles that best suit their voice, however, there are exceptions to the rule that grant singers with more versatile voices and ranges liberties outside of their designated fach.
A point of interest: The plural of Fach is FÃ¤cher.
Each of the four main voice classifications has a variety of tiers within them based upon vocal weight and coloration.
To find out which fach you belong to, consult a voice teacher who has experience performing in opera - they'll know for sure, but it's always good to get more than one opinion to be sure.
Check out this German Fach Translation Chart as referenced from Cantabile-Subito.de website:
- Lyric Coloratura Soprano
- Dramatic Coloratura Soprano
- Lyric Soprano
- Lirico Spinto Soprano
- Spinto soprano
- Dramatic/Heroic Soprano
- Lyric Mezzo-Soprano
- Dramatic Mezzo-Soprano
- Dramatic Contralto
- Deep Contralto
- Tenore Buffo
- Lyric Tenor
- Spinto Tenor
- Dramatic/Heroic Tenor
Baritone and Bass-Baritone
- Lyric Baritone
- Dramatic Baritone
- Basso Buffo
- Basso profondo
- Vocal Warm-ups
Tips on warming up your voice
- Choral Vocal Warm-ups
A Presentation for the American Choral Directors Association
- Breathing Tips
Tips on proper breathing techniques
- Basic Breathing and Vocal Tips
Some basic advise on proper breathing and vocal tips
- Preventing Hoarseness
Information on how to prevent your voice from becoming hoarse
- Correct Singing Posture
The proper singing posture
- The Four Voice Parts
Describing the four voice parts in a chorus
- Voice Parts
Guide to Choir Singers
- Choir Information
Wikipedia's Information on Choir's
- Losing Your Voice
Advice from professionals on how to save your voice
- Voice Strain
What is hoarseness?
- About The Voice
How the voice works and its parts
- Taking Care of Your Voice
Information on disorders of the voice and how to prevent them
- Voice News and Tips
Daily blog for voiceover related news, tips, and advice
- Preventing Voice Strain
Forum advice on preventing voice strain
- Occupational Hazards in Music
Information on occupational hazards in music from the Center for Safety in the Arts