More Breathe Does Not Equate To More Vocal Sound
We had the honour of teaching a group of talented singers and singing teachers. Their voices were suffering after every long day of teaching and coaching at schools, and the worst case was when some of their coaches had hoarse voices for weeks on end, after their busy or intensive teaching stints! It was sad for us to hear those sore voices, and I could really feel their pain because I knew how I would feel if I did not have my voice, and if all I could manage was a sound that was breathy and soft and crackly.
The main problem all of them had was that they were using way too much breath for their voice. In fact, in their previous vocal training sessions with other trainers, they were taught to use their diaphragm to sing, and they were taught that in order for them to have loud and well-projected voices, they needed to take in more breath and to push harder in order to get that loud sound.
One of the participants had it particularly bad, because she was not only pushing a lot of breath when she talked, but she was also pushing down her larynx intentionally when speaking and shouting, in order to sound louder and more authoritative and also to be more projected in her speaking. And that was why her voice truly suffered. Because she was doing something that was not breath efficient, and her vocal folds were dying from the excessive breath force and the constriction that was being inflicted on them day after day.
So I say this to all of you who think that more Breath Equates to more Sound:
Yes, it may be true that if we have more breath, we get more sound intensity in our voice. But, it only applies if we still maintain good breath efficiency at the level of our true vocal folds.
If the excessive breath that we use forces our true vocal folds out of regular vibratory patterns, or if our extra breath causes us to move more into constriction and creates problems at our true vocal fold level, then we are in for troubling times ahead for our voice.
The healthier alternative would be to focus on producing a good vocal tone, and on relying on your vocal muscles and good breath efficiency in order to project your voice clearly and loudly, without excessive breath noise or constriction. 🙂