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Magic Choral Trick #218 Oversinging

The non stop gigs, the Christmas Cantatas and the Christmas Eve descants are finally all done.

How’s your voice doing? Hopefully it’s been properly lubricated (with water of course) and is once again fully functional.

This is the time of year though when there’s a temptation to oversing – to press the voice for a bit more volume than is healthy.

There are several situations which show up all year round in which we’re inclined to do this.

1. When we stand beside someone whose voice is much bigger than ours we oversing, just so that we’ll be able to hear ourselves. (You may need to move to another spot on the risers)

2. We expect the bottom end of our range to have the same level of intensity as our upper range. I frequently need to remind students that a Middle C has only half the vibrations per second that the third space C has – so it’s going to feel much less intense when it’s sung. We can’t bring that same level of fun down the octave without straining something.

3. Saving the chorus. This is a problem that sometimes shows up with the most conscientious singers in the choir. Leading the charge, and singing right notes loud enough to guide everyone else leads to oversinging – and vocal strain.

If you’re not doing singing technique practice every day, it’s not unusual to feel a bit vocally tired at the end of a rehearsal or a show. But if your voice doesn’t feel refreshed again an hour or so later, you might be falling into one of the traps above.

It’s a good idea to just check in with your throat and voice periodically as you sing. If you can remind yourself that louder isn’t necessarily better, and to sing with forward placement, you should be fine.

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