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Vocal Congestion

Vocal Congestion - In Need of a Cure? We've Got It!

Written by Diana Yampolsky

vocal cartoon - nasal singingIn this column, I would like to talk about a common problem among many aspiring singers: singing with the nasal voice.

Often at both the amateur and even professional level, you will hear singers that sound like they are literally whining instead of singing. The sound they are producing is very thin and nasal because they are evidently singing through their nose, which is totally incorrect. The mistake they are making is that they are placing the voice vertically, starting at the throat and out through the nasal cavity instead of the "vocal chambers". This prevents any resonation, and the sound coming out of their mouth is very unpleasant to say the least. One way of describing this type of singing is to think of the difference between broadcasting with a small antenna instead of a satellite dish - The former would sound quieter, fuzzier (so to speak) and would, no doubt, frustrate the listener a great deal.

Actually, for some people, a nasal sounding voice is not necessarily the result of incorrect vocal technique. Nevertheles, it can also be attributed to the environment in which these people live. It's no secret that modern cities are very polluted and today's speakers and singers have to deal with polluted air which can also contribute to various allergies; thus a large percentage of the population have plugged up sinuse. Those sinus cavities need to be cleared up in general, and nevertheless, for proper singing in particular.

Evidently, quite a few people have to deal with the above. In my profession, an example of this was an aspiring singer who asked me to become her vocal coach. She told me that there was one thing that had always bothered her: Whenever she performed and people heard her sing, they always asked her if she had a cold. This story did have a happy ending, as I was able to help her though a methodology very similar to one that I always use for clients with damaged voices. For most people that have damaged their vocal anatomy due to incorrect vocal technique, I am usually able to help them regain their voices; and not only through my revolutionary approach to voice mechanics, but also through a combination of natural herbal  and homeopathic remedies.

To modify the incorrect vocal technique that often produces vocal congestion and a thick 'nasally'-sounding voice, I use a number of specific speech and singing exercises designed to condition the student to bring the sound through their facial cavities (vocal chambers) instead of their nasal passages.

The main vowels of the "singing alphabet" are: Ah, Ooo, Eh, Oh, Eee. If you visualize each vowel going in a circular direction around your face and above your head, you will be able to avoid the nasal cavities. If the sound becomes narrower (in its body circomfrence) than 360 degrees radius, the sound will most likely end up in your nose. Unless you need a little bit of a nasal sound for your style of music, I would not recommend using it. For example, to counter stuffed up sinuses due to allergies, I use a number of natural herbal remedies; SNX is very effective for clearing the sinuses and it can even alleviate chronic sinusitis. Fenugreek and Thyme is very good for treating sinus headaches. Two drops of Lobelia in each ear 2-3 times a day will clear your mucus membranes and relieve congestion.

To conclude, I'd like to say that 'Vocal Congestion' is a common and completely treatable problem. As discussed above, it can stem from either incorrect technique or allergic reactions, or even both. A combination of vocal exercises and herbal remedies will cure even the most 'stuffed-up' singer. However, some times, I read an article written by a singer who said: "Singing off a phlegmy, congested vocal anatomy helps him achieve a rock'n roll 'raspy' style".

I can assure you that you can learn how to sing in this style (or any other styles) naturally and without the 'aid' of any phlegm and congestion.


So if you can relate to the above and feel that you really want to rectify this unpleasent vocal issue, then please refer to our Non-Surgical Voice Repair section to learn more about the treatments of this and various other vocal disorders.