Festival Season – Protect Your Voice For Singing Outside
Now that summer is here and festival season is upon us, we’re going to be singing outside a lot more often than we have been during the winter and spring. And whether you’re a professional performer singing with a sound system on a festival stage or a parking lot-campground jam session groupie, the same kinds of precautions should be taken to protect your vocal cords from the effects of outside elements and from the tendency to over-sing in order to be heard.
This last bit relates to the fact that acoustics change so much for us as singers when we sing outside, and even singing with a sound system can have its challenges. Singing inside, we can rely on acoustics of a room or stage that sends our sound back to us. If singing on a microphone, we rely on speaker monitors to tell us how we’re sounding and so we know we can be heard. This way we can control vocal production and not over-sing.
When we move outside, this acoustic help is gone! Sound travels out from your voice to the wide open spaces! The wind can carry the singing, the crowd noise can drown you out, a million different things can get in the way of you knowing you can be heard. So we can often find ourselves over-singing, and how we can tell we’re over-singing is that it will strain the vocal cords and there will be actual throat pain.
What can we do? Be aware of your surroundings and be intentional about not pushing your tone or straining your throat. Use your best-practices vocal production techniques of good breath support and a relaxed mouth and jaw, and don’t reach or strain to be heard. If you only read one sentence of this blog, this is the one to read: If your technique is good, you’ll create a naturally resonant tone which will have a much better chance of being heard over the outside noise and competing sounds.
So for good and safe outside singing, remember to:
- Breathe well into the lower belly, filling up that “tank” with good air support;
- Relax the shoulders, jaw, throat, mouth and lips and give those notes the resonating chamber they deserve; and
- Don’t push or strain to be heard.
Have a great time at your festivals, outdoor camping and parking lot jams! Remember also to keep hydrated!
As always, thanks for reading! See y’all next time.
Love and Blessings,
Award-winning recording artist, Broadway singer, journalist, educator and critically-acclaimed powerhouse vocalist, Susie Glaze has been called “one of the most beautiful voices in bluegrass and folk music today” by Roz Larman of KPFK’s Folk Scene. LA Weekly voted her ensemble Best New Folk in their Best of LA Weekly for 2019, calling Susie “an incomparable vocalist.” “A flat out superb vocalist… Glaze delivers warm, amber-toned vocals that explore the psychic depth of a lyric with deft acuity and technical perfection.” As an educator, Susie has lectured at USC Thornton School of Music and Cal State Northridge on “Balladry to Bluegrass,” illuminating the historical path of ancient folk forms in the United Kingdom to the United States via immigration into the mountains of Appalachia. Susie has taught workshops since 2018 at California music camps RiverTunes and Vocáli Voice Camp. She is a current specialist in performance and historian on the work of American folk music icon, Jean Ritchie. Her newest CD is “Do You Have This in Blue?” released April of 2023, produced by Joe Craven, with guest players Laurence Juber, Bill Cunliffe and Joe Craven. Find it on Streaming Platforms Here! Susie now offers private voice coaching online via the Zoom platform. Email Susie Here. Visit Susie’s website here!
Protect Your Vocal Cords for Singing Outside
Voice Notes: A Folk Diva's Guide to the Galaxy #49 June 1, 2023