KSVS Summer Intensive Blog: #9

STRAIN VS. FATIGUE

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I baby my voice.  I was on vocal rest off and on for about 6 months during graduate school, so I developed the bad habit of thinking any little sign of fatigue was a red flag with a blaring siren and flashing lights.  I’ve been working on a song that’s tricky for me.  There are so many things to master that it takes me a couple of hours a day to make any progress.  My voice doesn’t feel strained, but it definitely feels tired.  And when I wake up the next morning, I still feel a little vocal fatigue, but I also feel stronger and more flexible – exactly the same way my body feels after a great workout at the gym.

So what’s the difference between “good tired” and “whoops, I’m going to be hoarse all day tomorrow.”?  Pain is a big indicator.  I’ve definitely had those evenings in a loud restaurant or bar where I’m shouting for hours and feel something not good going on with my vocal chords.  And in grad school, I lost my voice because I wasn’t sleeping even though I had pneumonia, followed by bronchitis, followed by post bronchial asthma.  But the show must go on, right?  Nope.  Not always.  Sometimes you have to stop.  And sometimes you have to push yourself.  The trick is learning the difference.

The summer vocal intensive is…well, intense.  And I’m learning that my voice can take it because it’s a consistent, measured, smart approach to strengthening my instrument.  I’m learning where and how I need to stretch in order to grow.  And I’ve discovered the voice isn’t so fragile after all.  It mostly acts up when I do something stupid that common sense will protect me  from.  Sleep, don’t scream for hours, take care of your body, stay hydrated and you’ll be surprised how much you can work out the voice with no danger at all.

~ Kimberly Y.

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