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#1 2014-05-11 01:55:43

Bzean123
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Registered: 2014-05-09
Posts: 110
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Is any tightness/irritation okay?

I sing only for fun, but over the past couple of months I started doing vocal exercises regularly, and I am trying to add more difficult songs into my repertoire (if it can be called a repertoire) - ie I am trying to push my range upwards.

I am very careful with my cords - if I feel any discomfort whatsoever, I stop whatever is causing it immediately. I try not to use too much breath pressure and don't feel like I am doing anything to damage my cords.

But as I have gradually increased my vocal exercise time to about an hour a day and am working on songs out of my comfort zone, I am oftentimes feeling a bit of tightness/fatigue/minor irritation in the upper back roof of my mouth, which I think is the soft palate area. Likewise, the muscles at the bottom of my jawbone (just behind the tip of my chin) get quite fatigued.

In both instances there's really no pain per se, only a bit of discomfort. This feeling goes away within an hour or two after practice ends and the next day I don't feel anything until I get into pushing my voice again.

A while back I saw a youtube video with someone (I think it was Jaime Vendera, if memory serves) saying that a bit of fatigue at the base of the jaw is ok.

Has anyone experienced what I am describing? Is it normal and is a bit of discomfort ok or am I potentially damaging something?

Thanks for your input!

Last edited by Bzean123 (2014-05-11 02:27:44)

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2014-05-11 01:55:43

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#2 2014-05-11 04:18:06

Owen Korzec
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Registered: 2011-09-18
Posts: 3109
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Re: Is any tightness/irritation okay?

Yes some fatigue in those spots is okay however at least in the case of the muscles under the jaw, the discomfort should not remain two hours after you sing if you're only singing for an hour. If it doesn't go away in 30 minutes after an hour of practice then it's definitely too much tension and ultimately it should go away in more like 5 or 10 minutes.

The soft palate fatigue, I've experienced it less consistently so I can't speak much about what it means if you're getting it consistently or how long it's okay for it to last. But I'm pretty sure it's one of the better areas to feel fatigued in. One of the teachers here once said that in the beginning you may feel fatigue there, but its just muscle conditioning. So although of course any type of fatigue that negatively impacts your ability to perform isn't good, I would take his word and say that with the soft palate the solution to that fatigue is more about strengthening those muscles rather than trying to just eliminate the tension.

And with the muscles under the jaw it's the opposite, a little strengthening can be good but they're not muscles you want to ever over-tense to the point of lingering discomfort.

But it's not 100% either way there is a bit of both strengthening and removal of tension necessary with both sets of musculature as the solution to fatigue. That has been my personal experience with it at least.

Last edited by Owen Korzec (2014-05-11 04:18:52)

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#3 2014-05-11 13:40:37

ronws
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Registered: 2010-05-23
Posts: 11731
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Re: Is any tightness/irritation okay?

Owen is right. It is just the "training effect" the body undergoes when become used to a new activity. And as long as it's just fatigue and not debilitating discomfort or pain or loss of voice or function, you should be okay, though I am not a doctor or ENT. I am not even an expert on singing. I have merely been singing for an obscenely long time. So, I can't remember if I ever felt fatigue in the soft palate or the associated muscles that retract, though I might have, at first.

The body undergoes, for lack of a better description, a training effect when an activity is repeated. Again, I am just an amateur in the study of science, such as biology, mammalogy, etcetera. But what I have learned in my layman's readings, which do include operant conditioning, the means of behavioralism by which all organisms learn (including dogs. And it ticks people off if they think I am comparing them to dogs. I am not. Dogs are more noble :lol: Ouch, now that had to hurt! ), creatures, especially mammals, of which I am more familiar, have an autonomic effect (almost) in that the body trains its muscles and nerves for maximum efficiency of the desired or needed activity.

But, at first, when the activity is new, there may be some fatigue as the muscles are not used to being used that way more than a few times, such as the errant yawn or deep breath we might all take. As differed from the intentional retraction of the soft palate to access the higher resonating spaces.

As time goes by and you become more sensitive to where your resonance is felt, your movements of the soft palate, while no longer difficult, also become more subtle. In the beginning, you may be "overreaching" with a yawn or smile formation, which can also be fatiguing. But, over time, as you become aware of the actual finer movements, you won't have to stretch as far to achieve the same effect. And the body also gets used to this or achieves a "trained" ability. By then, the only fatigue you will experience is over-use. Such as singing for extended periods of time.

Any activity, even a highly trained athlete at the top of his game can get fatigued from playing too long. In football, even the first string players do not play the entire game. The alternate periods of rest. Other players get some game time and the stars get saved for the crucial moments.


"When the daylight is rising up in my eyes ..." - Klaus Meine

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#4 2014-05-11 20:21:58

Bzean123
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Registered: 2014-05-09
Posts: 110
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Re: Is any tightness/irritation okay?

Thanks for the input guys. Yes, I think I am in the process of strengthening muscles I never knew I had.

Any other opinions are welcome as well.

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#5 2014-05-12 19:26:30

Bzean123
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Registered: 2014-05-09
Posts: 110
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Re: Is any tightness/irritation okay?

OK, so can anyone suggest what specific things I may be doing to cause the fatigue of the soft palate and under the chin?

In other words, while I may not be doing anything wrong, there is always the possibility that I am, right? If so, what might I be doing wrong?

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#6 2014-05-13 09:54:38

ronws
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Registered: 2010-05-23
Posts: 11731
Reputation :   139 

Re: Is any tightness/irritation okay?

I can't tell, through just words on a page, what you might be doing wrong to your soft palate.


"When the daylight is rising up in my eyes ..." - Klaus Meine

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