Sustainable Voice part 2

Hello again everyone, just to recap, this is part two of the question…

Q. I sing in a band and I find that at the end of a gig I’ve got
no voice left and if I have to do two or three gigs in a row I’m really
in the shit. We’re touring soon and I’m worried.

A. We broke the answer down into four sections…

1. Be particular.

2. Be a diva.

3. Get equipped.

4. Learn.

Now that we can be particular, let’s…

2. Be a diva.

It’s easy for singers to get a bad rap, because sometimes you
need to be fussy and demanding. Your voice needs to be protected or you
can’t sustain a tour, or sometimes even a whole gig. Protecting your
voice can require behaviour that may be irritating for those around

You have to fight for foldback onstage. Amongst all the
musicians on stage, your foldback requirements are critical. Guitarists
can turn up their amps, drummers can hit harder and while it may
fatigue (and potentially injure them), they can’t do the same damage to
themselves in 30 minutes that you can do in 30 seconds if you can’t
hear yourself properly. Try to be nice about it, but fight tooth and
nail for your foldback.

Smoke machines and air conditioning dry out your voice and are
your enemy. You might ask (politely) to have them turned off. Try using
a humidifier in hotel rooms and dressing rooms where the aircon has to
stay on.

If the people around you really care about the band and how you
present to the public, having audible vocals on stage, being a bit hot
in the car and not having the smoke machine on are pretty small
sacrifices to make for a great sounding show.

3. Get equipped.

Having your own quality microphone is very important.

Everyone else in the band pays a fortune for their gear, so
shelling out for a decent mic so you sound fantastic seems fair if
you’re going to be such a diva.

Go into music stores and try different mics. Compare handling
noise and choose one best suited to your voice (they’re all different).
Prices start at $400.

Consider wireless to allow yourself the freedom to really move.

Try in ear monitoring. It can dramatically improve control and
minimise damage, simply because you’ll hear yourself properly (maybe
for the first time ever).

4. Learn.

Bite the bullet and try singing lessons. You won’t lose your
unique voice. A good teacher coaches technique, which you integrate
into your existing sound.

Your teacher can help you sing with your whole body and access individual muscle groups for effect (like distortion).

Be patient and prepared to work because if you want to use
distortion night after night you must have a good technique
(sustainable) mixed with a tiny bit of relaxed and carefully monitored
“bad technique” (for rock).

Finally, the best thing to help sustain your voice onstage is to relax and enjoy yourself… (God forbid!).