Why Do Some Singers Seem to Last Forever

Why Do Some Singers Seem to Last Forever?

A very good Monday morning to all of you gorgeous singers/teachers of singing. Can you guys believe how fast this summer has flown by? I'm not quite ready to face the idea of Fall yet, so I'm going to continue to bask in the beautiful sun whenever possible!

A Singer is Injured

Recently a very famous singer had to cancel the last few nights of her sold out world tour due to a vocal injury. As many of you may have already figured out, I am speaking of Adele. 
This is the second time she's had to cancel a portion of a tour due to an injury and it made headlines around the world. If you type in "Adele's vocal injury" on Google you will find no less than 328,000 search results, and in those results you find hundreds of vocal coaches speculating on why this happened, and how she could've had prevented the injury from happening in the first place. It seems every vocal coach has the "answer" to all vocal issues.

So I am NOT going to speculate on why Adele injured her voice. I have said it from the moment I heard the news that "this is between her, her vocal coach and her laryngologist Dr. Steven Zeitels". Dr. Zeitels by the way was my voice doctor when I was a student at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston eons ago, and I can tell you this guy is a genius. So our dear Adele is in good hands and I am sure she will be back in fighting shape in no time!

What I do want to discuss in this post is why some singers seem to last forever (I like to keep things on the positive side if you have not already figured that out).

Singers That Last Forever

Recently I read an interview with the great Franki Valli of the Four Seasons. Anyone who has ever heard or tried to sing any of the songs of the Four Seasons like "Sherri", "Walks Like A Man" or "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" knows how difficult these songs are. They sit at the very top of the male falsetto range, and and hardly ever come down from the stratosphere. Mr Valli at the time of this writing is 83 years old and is still touring constantly, singing all of those stratospheric hits nights after night, year after year. Some of the keys of the songs have been dropped a little, but even in a slightly lower key they are still very high. How does Mr Valli manage to keep singing these songs so beautifully (by all accounts) at the age of 83?

In an interview with The Telegraph last year, they asked Mr. Valli how he managed to keep his voice in such pristine shape so far into his career. He said:

"“I go through scales, maybe some Sinatra, some standards for 35 or 40 minutes, sometimes an hour. I take very long showers. You have to sing every day, a little bit, to keep the voice in shape. It’s like lifting weights.”
I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, I don’t play golf, I don’t play tennis, I don’t hike, I don’t ski. I like to sing. I’ve been doing it my whole life".

Dr. Evelyn Reynolds

I have mentioned my voice teacher Maestro David L. Jones on many occasions in these posts. The Maestro has been my primary voice teacher for 18 years. In that 18 years I am sure I have added a few decades onto the lifespan of my voice due to the wonderful concepts and vocal exercises of the Swedish/Italian school of singing. Maestro Jones has been working with his own wonderful vocal coach, Dr Evelyn Reynolds for decades. Dr. Reynolds recently turned 100 and is still singing beautifully.

A few years ago Dr. Reynolds sang on one of Jones' masterclasses, and to this day those who attended that class will tell you that Dr. Reynolds voice sounded as young and fresh as someone in their 30's. Obviously being a vocal coach who teaches healthy vocal concepts has been a big contributing factor to Dr. Reynolds vocal longevity, but I think simply singing on daily basis is the key to her being able maintain a healthy voice.

There are many more examples of singers who have lasted five, six decades or more such as the great Tony Bennett, who at the age of 91 is still recording and giving concerts.

I think the simple lesson her is to "use it or lose it". The human voice is a miraculous piece of machinery capable of making more varied sounds than any other non-computerized instrument in the world. It is designed to last and serve us until our final breath. The voice needs to be nurtured through hydration, nutrition, rest and plenty of daily exercise.

Final Thoughts

Sing often and sing well. Study with a voice teacher who can give you the tools to keep your voice healthy for a lifetime.

If you don't have a coach and you are in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, I offer voice lessons to singers of all genres and ages 11 to 100! If you are not in the NY/NJ area I offer lessons online via Skype to singers throughout the world.

If you are looking for some fantastic vocal exercises, check out my instructional DVD/CD called "Let Your Voice Soar". We are currently offering the digital download (only) for 15% off from my website www.voicesoaring.com by adding "voicesoaring" in the checkout code.

Until next time, "Keep singing, and let your voice soar!"

 

Let your voice soar!

Jeff Alani Stanfill - Voice Teacher & Vocal Coach for Pop, Rock, and Broadway singers. Voice Lessons in West Orange, New York, & Online.

VOICESOARING.COM

Adele and the Stigma of Vocal Injury

Adele and the Stigma of Vocal Injury

Good morning all you beautiful singers/teachers of singing! It is going to be another hot summer day here in the northeast, and that's just how summer is supposed to be! I love it. Summer is my favorite time of year. You can have all the winters you want, but please don't take my summer away!

We started the summer off right by traveling to Puerto Rico a couple of weeks ago for a much needed 7 day/7 night vacation. I tell you those beaches, the palm trees, the food, the music and the lovely people of that gorgeous island are something I will remember, especially on cold days that will inevitably return later on this year. Puerto Rico is a magical place to be. I know there are many political problems and financial problems there, but for the most part the people of the island seem happy. Must be the weather!

Ok, I've talked enough about the weather and our P.R. trip. It's time to get to the business of singing.

I have resisted talking about Adele and her recent vocal injury mostly because it is a topic that seemingly every vocal coach has covered or commented on in a FaceBook post, a blog or even a youtube video. As a huge Adele fan I found most of the comments were less than kind, some downright mean and others seemingly from self-righteous sounding vocal pedagogues claiming he or she had the answers to all of Adele's problems. Dr Gupta writes about this in the article I am sharing here.

Personally I applaud Adele for being so open about her vocal challenges and not trying to hide it or cover it up. What happened to this great artist could happen to any professional singer who is out on the road night after night, sleeping in hotel rooms that thousands of other people have slept in, flying on planes that circulate dirty, filthy air, eating food from restaurants that may or may not be sanitary, doing interview after interview in every town they perform in, and trying desperately to maintain a level of singing that sounds exactly like the recording of the artist's latest or past hits.

I found this article by noted laryngologist Dr. Renee Gupta and wanted to share it as it truly shines a light on the stigma of vocal injury.

http://www.ohniww.org/adele-voice-injury-canceled-concerts/

 

Adele and the Stigma of Vocal Injury | Los Angeles ENT Doctors ENT Specialists Top Surgeons

When I heard about Adele cancelling the last two performances of her tour, I felt profound sadness for her. I know how hard she has worked to endure injury,…

OHNIWW.ORG

Testimonial from a professional singer

From Georgia Carr 

singer/songwriter and recording artist

 

I consider myself to be one of the happiest singers in the world right now!  I am so delighted and deeply grateful that I have found such an amazing singing coach and mentor in Jeffrey Alani Stanfill.  So far I have had twelve transformational singing lessons with Jeff and I am singing for joy that my voice is back, stronger and more beautiful than ever.  

 

As a teacher, Jeff has an extraordinary blend of passion, experience, sensitivity and lightheartedness.  He is a veritable encyclopaedia of techniques and practices to help strengthen and support one’s natural voice.  His generosity in sharing everything he knows is amazing.

 

Together with his depth and breadth of understanding about how the voice works, how to keep the vocal chords healthy, and breathing practices to support you in your singing, I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my lessons and practices in between.  Because I live in Australia I have lessons via Skype which works brilliantly for me.  I record each session too so I can practice with those particular exercises throughout the week.

 

In 2015 after 9 months of losing my voice due a virus which caused pneumonia, thyroiditis and then laryngitis my vocal cords were in a terrible mess and my singing voice was very weak and unreliable.  

 

In 2016 my voice is completely healed and is soaring again.  I feel confident to sing my heart out effortlessly, and my range is both higher and lower than before.  Also my understanding of what I need to do to keep my voice healthy has broadened enormously through my coaching lessons with Jeff.  

 

I couldn’t recommend Jeff more highly.  His extraordinary skill, warmth, generosity and integrity shine through every lesson, and I am profoundly grateful to have found him, and privileged to be learning so much from him.  Thank you Jeff!

Understanding Compression for Singing

Good morning all of you beautiful singers/teachers of singing. It's a cold, cloudy day here in the the northeast, so what better time to learn more about the voice and some awesome Voice Soaring tips! The picture you see here was taken at my studio home in New York at the Ripley Grier Studios. I have been teaching there for 18 years and am so fortunate to teach so many amazingly talented singers at that studio. In the picture attached you see my lovely student Bijou using an old fashioned toy called the Floating Ball Game. I was first informed about this fun little toy by my dear friend, student and fellow vocal coach Ruth Ratliff. I remember Ruth coming to a lesson one day with the Floating Ball Game for me to try out. I was amazed at how much abdominal effort was required to get that little ball to float! At first I couldn't get it to stay in one position, and it (the ball) would either go flying off to the other side of the room from too much air pressure, or would simply drop on the ground. Once I found just the right amount of air pressure, I was able to make the ball go up, spin in one position and then gently come down to the holder. I began taking this little device to voice lessons to let my students try it out. Each of them had the same challenges I had and each noticed how much abdominal control it took to get the ball to float! I asked them where they felt the resistance in their abdominals, and without fail everyone of them pointed to the center of their abdominal muscles just below the diaphragm. These are the same muscles that we use to control the stream of breath for singing and especially for holding a high note. These are also the muscles that create "compression" for singing. I am currently in the pre-production stages of a video for my YouTube channel which will cover as much of what I know/understand and teach about compression. So stay tuned! Until then, you can find the Floating Ball Toy on Amazon.com for anywhere from $3.00-$8.00. It's a fun and will really work those abdominals so necessary for the sustaining notes! Peace and harmony to you all! Jeff