Just breathe, guys. Most vocal fatigue is caused by improper or inefficient breath support. If a singer does not have stable and consistent support for their sound, then the body will adapt by using other less efficient and often damaging ways of getting the sound out.
If a singer is singing correctly, the voice should not tire. Singing should feel good. If it does not, then your body is giving you a signal that something is not right with the way you are producing sound. A singer should never feel fatigue after a voice lesson. I have heard singers say that past teachers have told them that their muscles might get tired while adapting to a different singing technique. This is a red flag that the teacher is not properly educated. Proper vocal technique will never tire the voice. It should be considered a red flag to any student if their teacher does not take vocal fatigue seriously because it can lead to future vocal damage if not addressed.
Here are the top 10 causes of vocal fatigue for singers:
- Belting, which I define primarily as pushing too much chest voice too high up in the scale).
- Smoking and/or drinking alcoholic beverages.
- Periods of excessive and unsupported loud talking—for example, trying to have a conversation over the DJ at a loud party.
- Singing with a high larynx, which manifests most often as pushing the larynx up in the throat to “help” the pitch rise.
- Tongue tension, primarily manifesting as a grabbing or bearing down by the base of the tongue onto the larynx while singing to create the perception of a richer tone.
- Singing without proper soft palate space.
- Jaw tension while singing, which does not allow for the proper stretch of the soft palate.
- Pushing too much breath pressure through the larynx.
- Singing with the head/neck pushed forward, as though the singer were reaching for the notes out or up in front of him.
- Lack of stable diaphragmatic support for breath so the singer ends up “supporting” their sound by other detrimental, unintended means.
Now that you know how to avoid vocal fatigue, look into our musical auditions listings!
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