A number of students ask me about ‘vocal consistency’, how one day their voice feels great and they can do anything with it… and the next it feels horrible and it won’t even string a couple of words together… how can we develop a voice that is relatively consistent one day to the next?
There is a straight-forward answer, but…
… unfortunately the voice is an organic instrument. It’s affected by fatigue, humidity, temperature, hormones, and a host of other things. That’s not to say everyone is badly affected by each of these factors, some people are more susceptible than others, but it’s a fact of life that we need to learn to deal with.
Simple but time-consuming
One of the main precepts of the technique we use in lessons is that the vocal cords are capable of doing everything we ask them to do provided that we let them do their job properly. The exercises we use are designed to help you be introduced the what your vocal cords are capable of doing, and to reinforce that correct behaviour. So there is a degree of awareness that this is possible – which builds trust in your voice – and a degree of practicing those co-ordinations – which builds muscle memory.
The challenge lies in spending sufficient time experiencing the vocal cords doing their thing correctly AND often enough that we can trust the muscle memory that is inbuilt and that we have enhanced through doing the exercises.
The answer then?
The answer to consistency, is to practice doing it right, and keep doing it. The exercises ensure that we are using our vocal cords correctly. We then just need to keep repeating the ones that are providing us with the correct vocal co-ordination to further in-grain that behaviour. The consistency will come with consistent and effective application of the exercises.
In other posts I’ve likened the operation of the voice to the way that a piano is configured and tuned to have a consistent quality throughout. In a similar way, the exercises are like the act of building, configuring and tuning an instrument like the piano, so that the notes are simply accessible without reaching up or pressing down – you can just trust that the notes are there.
Don’t be disheartened…
For some people, their voices can be quite stubborn, and it takes a while for that muscle memory – and more importantly a reliance on that muscle memory – to take hold. For some people, it’s a more or less instantaneous thing – they do it right once, and it lands them squarely in the ballpark of what they should be doing within a few exercises. Everyone is different, but the key to consistency for all of us is this:
Step 1: Do It Right Once
Step 2: Repeat Step 1 as often as necessary.
Learn More: Related Articles
If you want to learn more about vocal technique and great singing, you may enjoy these related articles:
The Difference between Amateurs and Pros
The problem with trying to teach voice using ONLY voice science
Vocal Pedagogy: Past, present and future
Singers: The Difference Between Vocalists and Performers
Can vocal technique help laryngitis?
Vocal Tessitura: What is it?
What is vocal fach?