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Author Topic: Vocal challenges  (Read 1163 times)

SeilerBird

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Vocal challenges
« on: September 12, 2019, 11:18:33 AM »
Quote
... one guy said "hey Tom, you need to sing in a higher register". Duh, I haven't been able to do that since puberty arrived. Meanwhile, given the damage to my vocal chords from surgery a year ago, I'm lucky to be able to talk.
My voice is so shot from old age and too much smoking that I am happy to be able to sing anything. I didn't know you had surgery (or I have forgotten). Sorry to hear that.

Edit: Added quote to keep discussion in contect when I split the topic.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 08:07:49 PM by Tom »

Tom

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2019, 11:31:53 AM »
Aye, the surgery was an elective and pre-planned, not a big deal. When they wheeled me into the OR, the anesthesiologist came in and I said "stay away from my vocal chords". But the breathing tube has to go somewhere. Haven't been able to sing since. Went to an ENT Doc, he put his camera in through a nostril, and said "Your vocal chords are working as they should; Try not singing for a year". The year is up, and no change.

I talked with surgeons and anesthesiologists before two subsequent surgeries I had. In one case, they were able to get away without intubation. In the other case, the surgeon explained "I can't risk the slightest muscle twitch while I'm in there with robotics, so we have to paralyze you, and therefore have to breathe for you".

A different Doc who heard the story asked "how do you sing in the band?" I said "I lip sync".
« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 11:33:28 AM by Tom »
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SeilerBird

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2019, 12:02:49 PM »
Wow, what a bummer. What was the surgery about in the first place? I feel sorry for you, I would go nuts if I could not sing. Not that I am a good singer, but I do love to sing.

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2019, 12:47:19 PM »
Aye, I've sung since I was a kid, for many years a capella. Now I can't hit the notes and don't have the volume, but I keep trying.

Surgeries were unrelated to vocals, and the dang breathing tube is what did the damage. It's a common issue, and I've had it happen once before, but it usually lasts 3 days to a week.
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2019, 11:35:59 PM »
Iíve been intubated  three times in the last few years, that I know of.  No change in my voice that I can attribute to that.  Just age.  It was none too good to begin with.

Seiler, try ďMy ValentineĒ as played by Paul and Eric Clapton.  Interesting modal changes.
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Tom

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2019, 11:42:51 PM »
Russ, this wasn't a gradual change; It was instantaneous.
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UTTransplant

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2019, 12:04:57 AM »
Aye, the surgery was an elective and pre-planned, not a big deal. When they wheeled me into the OR, the anesthesiologist came in and I said "stay away from my vocal chords". But the breathing tube has to go somewhere. Haven't been able to sing since. Went to an ENT Doc, he put his camera in through a nostril, and said "Your vocal chords are working as they should; Try not singing for a year". The year is up, and no change.

I talked with surgeons and anesthesiologists before two subsequent surgeries I had. In one case, they were able to get away without intubation. In the other case, the surgeon explained "I can't risk the slightest muscle twitch while I'm in there with robotics, so we have to paralyze you, and therefore have to breathe for you".

A different Doc who heard the story asked "how do you sing in the band?" I said "I lip sync".
I had half of my thyroid removed. I told my doc the same thing ďDonít mess up the vocal chords!Ē However a few months later I still couldnít sing - no volume, little range. The scope showed no damage, so we were both confused. I mentioned it in passing to my physical therapist who was working on my knee, and she said it might be scar tissue. She felt around, and then over a few weeks broke it up. Painful, but it worked! My volume and projection is slightly less than it used to be, but that also comes with aging. Range is still good. It might be something to check out. It made a huge difference for me.
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Tom

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2019, 12:11:55 AM »
Thanks Pam. Not sure what kind of 'physical therapist' I need to consult  ???
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UTTransplant

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2019, 12:46:35 AM »
Thanks Pam. Not sure what kind of 'physical therapist' I need to consult  ???
I would just find someone good at wound work and rehab. My PT was just a generalist with a masterís in PT and 10 years experience or so. I was actually going to her for knee work when the subject just randomly came up. I couldnít imagine not being able to sing. Best of luck. How can a Welshman not sing? Isnít that in the genetics?
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2019, 11:41:22 AM »
A voice specialist might be in order.  You think that other Tom Jones would put up with this?

Iím part Welch, that may be why I can only sing half as well.

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Tom

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2019, 06:27:17 PM »
Quote
A voice specialist might be in order.


I've occasionally thought of that Russ. Haven't met with a voice specialist since the 80's. I was told that my boss' boss couldn't understand a word I said, and it could be career-limiting. I had my voice analyzed by two independent analysts (both said I was "clear as a bell'), then had nasal surgery followed by another analysis ("no change, still clear as a bell"). I eventually figured out that the guy had a hearing problem (what we'd call a 'roll-off' in the old tech days) that prevented him hearing my deep voice. He also had trouble hearing anything spoken 'fast'.

When he subsequently told me he could clearly hear everything I said and wanted to know what I'd done, I said "I speak a lot s.l.o.w.e.r, and I speak a lot LOUDER!"
Quote
Iím part Welch


What country is that? Folks from Wales are known as Welsh (not Welch), spelled and pronounced with "sh". I can't resist teasing folks who spell it wrong. FWIW there is one exception to the spelling (that I'm aware of) ... The Royal Welch Fusiliers.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2019, 06:30:18 PM by Tom »
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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2019, 06:57:22 PM »
Light at the end of the tunnel? Today I talked with a friend who is a retired speech/vocal therapist; We hadn't talked for some time, and she had no idea what I was going through with my voice. She proceeded to explain how she worked with her patients who had similar issues after intubation. Unfortunately, in addition to being retired, she's not local, but she told me what to look for in a professional who might be able to help.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 08:27:19 PM by Tom »
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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2019, 08:33:22 PM »
Talking with our friend on the phone, I was reminded of the story of Welsh singer Shirley Bassey, who sang the theme songs for many Bond movies, and was a fabulous singer/entertainer. Her circumstances were quite different, but I recall a TV interview wherein she described the exercises she performed daily to help her vocals return. Story here.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 09:19:04 AM by Tom »
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SeilerBird

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2019, 05:50:44 AM »
When I had a sports card business in the early 90s I became good friends with Lester Hayes, an all pro cornerback for the Raiders. I used to see him almost every weekend at card shows. He had a booth with Cliff Branch and they signed autographs all weekend. I had many discussions with the both of them and then one year during the Superbowl celebrations I saw a film clip of an interview with Lester that was about ten years old. The shocking thing is he had a real bad stutter. But he never stuttered around me so the next time I saw him I asked him why was he stuttering ten years ago. A great big bear of a man got tears in his eyes as he told me the story of a speech therapist he met up with and she solved his problem. He had been stuttering since birth and she was able to clear him of his stuttering so easily. Since he did interviews and commercials for products it really changed his life and his ability to make money. Shocked the hell out of me.

Oldgator73

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2019, 07:10:27 AM »
I had my left knee replaced last year. I asked the surgeon just before they took me back if I would be able to play the piano after surgery and he said he couldnít think of a reason why not. My wife was standing there and said she could think of a reason why.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2019, 07:55:27 AM »
I had my left knee replaced last year. I asked the surgeon just before they took me back if I would be able to play the piano after surgery and he said he couldnít think of a reason why not. My wife was standing there and said she could think of a reason why.
Interesting question since the left leg is the only limb not used when playing a piano.

Oldgator73

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2019, 12:19:13 PM »
Interesting question since the left leg is the only limb not used when playing a piano.

What if you donít have a right leg?
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SeilerBird

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2019, 12:32:10 PM »
What if you donít have a right leg?
Then use the peg.

darsben

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2019, 12:43:01 PM »
The original spelling of Welsh was Welch
Merriam Webster "
"Definition of Welch (Entry 2 of 3)
less common variant of welsh "

The internet dictionary states
"Welch (wɛlʃ)
adj
1. (Languages) an archaic spelling of Welsh1
2. (Peoples) an archaic spelling of Welsh1
3. (Placename) an archaic spelling of Welsh1"

So really old people spell it Welch and youngsters like you spell it Welsh.  ;D
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Tom and Margi

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2019, 03:47:57 PM »
I had my left knee replaced last year. I asked the surgeon just before they took me back if I would be able to play the piano after surgery and he said he couldnít think of a reason why not. My wife was standing there and said she could think of a reason why.
Your wife probably knew that you couldn't play the piano before the surgery.  ;)

Oldgator73

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2019, 04:21:49 PM »
Your wife probably knew that you couldn't play the piano before the surgery.  ;)

And I still canít play the piano.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2019, 04:38:05 PM »
And I still canít play the piano.
Neither can I but I never let is stop me from playing. :o

Tom

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2019, 05:59:20 PM »
Quote from: darsben
The original spelling of Welsh was Welch...


As we've always said, don't believe everything you read on the internet  ;) The original spelling of Welsh was Cymraeg, and still is in the Welsh (not welch) language and Welsh (not welch) dictionary. Welch is some kind of slang.

Meanwhile, since Welsh and Cymraeg are both adjectives describing an affinity to the country of Wales, what would be the name of the country that Welch relates to?
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jackiemac

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2019, 08:50:50 PM »
It would be great if you could sing again Tom J ..
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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2019, 09:03:50 PM »
That's an understatement Jackie.
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garyb1st

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #25 on: September 16, 2019, 12:31:46 PM »
My voice is so shot from old age and too much smoking that I am happy to be able to sing anything. I didn't know you had surgery (or I have forgotten). Sorry to hear that.

Edit: Added quote to keep discussion in contect when I split the topic.

While old age takes it toll, my voice is shot primarily from not using it on a regular basis.  But when I look at Tony Bennet, 17 years my senior, I wonder, maybe there's still a voice in there. 

Prior to RVing, the DW and I belonged to a group that performed for small (less than 200) audiences a few times a year.  Usually accompanied only by a keyboard player.  The group got together weekly for practice and each of us got to sing one or two songs.  But it was the amount of singing we did getting ready for that practice that really mattered.  While I don't have a burning desire to perform, there's a certain joy from singing that can't be denied.  Unfortunately that joy is diminished by the ever increasing number of notes that are more flat or sharp than close to where they belong.   :( :-[
 
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SeilerBird

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #26 on: September 16, 2019, 12:51:52 PM »
While old age takes it toll, my voice is shot primarily from not using it on a regular basis.  But when I look at Tony Bennett, 17 years my senior, I wonder, maybe there's still a voice in there. 
Funny you should mention that. It has been many years since I stopped smoking and lately I have been doing a lot of singing. I noticed my voice improved dramatically. I used to do a lot of driving and I always has tunes going and I would sing. I got out of the habit and now I am getting back into the habit. I guess it really is a use it or lose it thing.

UTTransplant

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #27 on: September 16, 2019, 03:55:22 PM »
While old age takes it toll, my voice is shot primarily from not using it on a regular basis.
The voice uses muscles that need exercise just like other muscles, but it has to be practice that doesnít strain the muscles. When I started voice lesson, many, many, many years ago, my teacher told me to practice only 15 minutes a day at first. One reason was to get the muscles in shape gradually. The other, more important, is for him to make sure I was not straining my voice by incorrect technique. There is a lot of technique that can be taught to sing with an open throat and no strain on the vocal chords.

Side note: My mom was a semi-pro singer at weddings, funerals, and parties. She refused training because she was ďalready so good.Ē She ended up with nodules on her vocal chords. That put an end to her side singing gig.
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jackiemac

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #28 on: September 17, 2019, 01:30:18 PM »
This topic is really interesting to me as I am having trouble with a range, not that I have ever sung as I am tone deaf. I sometimes sing in the shower and noticed my voice totally disappeared at a certain point.

I have had a post nasal drip for many years and assumed it was that but maybe I need to try some exercises. I'm sure I will find some online.

Also at one time I was researching snoring and found a lady selling CDs with singing lessons which apparently would help you stop snoring. It was 40 minutes a day though.....
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Tom

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #29 on: October 14, 2019, 10:05:55 PM »
After talking with a couple of vocal therapists in person, it was suggested I ask the ENT Doc for a suggestion/referral. He referred me to the Director of a vocal clinic at UCSF. Subsequent discussion with the Director of a voice care center on the East coast who works with professional singers, resulted in confirmation that there are few folks on the West coast who can help; She referred me to the same Director of the vocal clinic at UCSF, and said he was known as 'the expert' in this area.

There seems to be a general concern that there may have been trauma to the trachea, and that this may have been missed by, or was not visible to, the ENT Doc.

Separately, I'd put feelers out via a large local mixed chorus, and one of their members who had previously had severe trauma to the vocal folds, saw this same Doc at UCSF.

I knew from a prior exploratory phone call that this Doc/clinic are very busy and booked out a long way. Today I received confirmation of their first available appointment - in mid January. Meanwhile, I continue to lip sync.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 03:47:04 PM by Tom »
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UTTransplant

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #30 on: October 15, 2019, 07:57:58 AM »
Best of luck Tom.
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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #31 on: October 15, 2019, 09:27:18 AM »
Thanks. It's just a little frustrating having to wait so long to find out if they can even help.
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Jennifer Sidel

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #32 on: October 15, 2019, 11:57:04 AM »
I think below four circumstances can lead o voice problems.  Which must you have to consider to keep claim free.
>> Overuse >> Stress >> Dehydration >> Reflux

Tom

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #33 on: October 15, 2019, 02:16:23 PM »
Thanks, but none of those apply in this case.
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jackiemac

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #34 on: October 15, 2019, 06:29:59 PM »
January isn T too l9ng Tom. Fingers crossed they can help!
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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #35 on: October 15, 2019, 06:52:55 PM »
Aye Jackie, but too late for our Christmas concert  :( I know the Maestro wanted me to sing a solo of the Welsh lyrics of one of our show numbers that the band is learning in English; Some years ago he had me do the same for his mixed choral group who were singing the same song (in English) in their concert. There was no rehearsal (they were hearing it in Welsh for the first time), and I hadn't sung it since I was a kid. As I came off the stage I heard two comments:

1. That sounds a LOT different in Welsh.

2. I asked the sound board tech how the volume was, and he replied "when you introduced yourself, I knew you had a big voice; I was ready for you and, when you hit the first note, I turned the volume all the way down and it sounded great".
« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 06:55:06 PM by Tom »
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #36 on: October 15, 2019, 08:01:23 PM »
Tom,

Are you sure he meant what you think he meant when he turned the volume all the way down?  LOL

Just kidding, Iíve heard you.

When Iím running the board Iíve been known to turn someone way down for other reasons.....  heh heh heh.  Never piss off the sound guy.
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Tom

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #37 on: October 16, 2019, 12:01:40 AM »
Russ, maybe he meant something else  ??? But it didn't matter, because I wasn't using the mic' anyway  :)
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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #38 on: October 16, 2019, 06:01:46 PM »
As expected, I had to lip-sync my way through 2 hours of uke practice last evening  :(
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #39 on: October 16, 2019, 10:55:48 PM »
That sucks river bottom mud.  I hope this works itself out.  And soon.
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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #40 on: October 17, 2019, 12:46:34 AM »
Me too, thanks Russ.
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blw2

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #41 on: October 17, 2019, 05:48:54 AM »
I'm late to the discussion.....you mentioned earlier "vocal therapists".  Were they speech therapists by chance? (SLP = Speech Language Pathologist)

My DW is one....so that's the first thing I thought of reading this. Her focus is primarily in a different area though.... and sleeping now so I can't ask her about it at the moment....

Regardless, looks like you have made contact with the right people....and I wish you luck with it.
    ugh, unintended consequences....
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Tom

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Re: Vocal challenges
« Reply #42 on: October 17, 2019, 07:54:58 AM »
Thanks Brad. The first two folks I talked with (both chance discussions) were speech therapists. One is retired and used to work primarily with folks like motivational speakers who were having trouble projecting after intubation for surgery. The second works with autistic children. The folks I talked with in NY are speech and singing therapists. The Doc/clinic I have an appointment with at UCSF works with vocal (speech and singing) and swallowing issues.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2019, 11:52:36 AM by Tom »
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