Giving your vocal performance ‘everything you got’ may be the biggest mistake of your career.


Though it’s totally understandable that you want to expose and express your talent to the max, the physical reality is that one major ‘oopsy’ can result in some serious vocal fold tissue trauma.


Is this common and likely? 


Not really.


Singers who sing too loudly, press their vocal folds, get dehydrated, don’t incorporate ‘vocal hygiene’ into their daily lives (more on that in a second) or generally take their vocal folds for granted, still might not have more than a couple days of hoarseness as a result.


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But what if a confluence of drinking, yelling, poor speaking habits, squeezing your vocal folds when singing, doing 4-hour gigs, and smoking (God forbid!) melds into a blood vessel burst (a.k.a. hemorrhaging!) during a performance?


Well, dudes and dudettes, let’s just say, you won’t be happy for awhile. 


Perhaps a long while.


I like to use a horse-riding analogy (bear with me on this one):


The expert rider always controls his horse.  The rider knows how to use the reins to make sure the riding experience is safe.  This doesn’t mean that galloping is not allowed,  just that it’s controlled. 


Singers who can give the illusion of intense emotional expression, sing with high volume on high notes sparingly to good effect and master the art of resonance as a substitute to blasting away carelessly will have the most longevity in their careers.


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Here are some ideas on managing your vocal fold health:


+ make sure you speak at the optimum pitch


+ don’t yell


+ get adequate sleep


+ drink water


+ don’t sing loudly or on high pitches for long periods of time


+ minimize your alcohol and coffee intake


+ don’t press your vocal folds when singing — ever!


+ learn proper abdominal support to protect your vocal folds


+ never just ‘go for it’ — always control your power



If you consider yourself a ‘power’ singer, learn how to give the impression of ‘giving it all you’ve got’ without actually doing so.  Art is artifice…it only should seem real.


Lisa Popeil, MFA in Voice, is creator of the Total Singer DVD, co-author of ‘Sing Anything-Mastering Vocal Styles’ ( and teaches privately in LA or via Skype.


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You might also be interested in:

Vocal Fold Closure Technique (with video)

Winter Health Tips for Singers

Little Man with the Big Voice