By Jeannie Deva
"Jeannie, I have been wondering for a long time how age (and other factors like weight), affect vocal range, tone, etc. I have been reading your email tips for a few months and have held off exploring my voice with professional instruction because I am already in my early 40s. I wonder how age affects the voice and singing. For example: Elton John sings much lower now. Is it because of age, vocal burnout, both? Steve Perry: Listening to albums in the mid-80s his voice, same as others, changed. Was this age, over-use . . .?"
Thanks! David B.
Not Age - Then What?
In the previous blog post about age affecting the voice, Jeannie Deva shared her experience of how her voice actually improved with age. So if it isn’t just aging, then what does cause vocal deterioration? As a person goes through life there are many influences on the body and mind. On the surface it appears as though aging is responsible for a decline in the voice, but actually it is any of the conditions listed below continued over a prolonged period of time.
The Causes of Vocal Deterioration
If we enumerate and investigate the actual causes of vocal deterioration, you can begin to gain some control over your vocal destiny. Remedy any of the following factors that apply to you and aging will not worsen your voice.
- Singing with poor or no vocal technique
- No or inadequate vocal warm-up or vocal cool-down
- Drugs (legal and illegal)
- Regular and excessive alcohol consumption
- The accumulated effect of cigarette smoking
- Performing with deficient or no monitors
- The wrong microphone
- Shouting over your instrumentalists' stage volume
- Emotional stress
- Physical deterioration from poor nutrition, sleep or no exercise
- Accumulated emotional hardship, loss and injury resulting in psychosomatic illness
on January 27, 2017 at 3:35 AM said:I like to think age doesn't equal deterioration too. I like to think my voice is getting stronger, more "me" and technically on it as I get older. As I renew and learn to do what's good for me and the art of not doing (ie. relaxing, being quiet, silence). Let's see! Nice to see you pointing out that self-care is significant and renewal is possible.
on January 27, 2017 at 6:03 AM said:Not heard anything about 'monitors' before, and Not really sure what is inferred by this (eg computer monitors; or monitor as in supervisory staff ?). Can you explain a bit more about that one ?
on January 27, 2017 at 10:31 AM said:Dear Caro C, Jeannie Deva would agree with you heartedly on the importance of self care. Glad to hear you are learning to unstress. Wishing you continued success.
on January 27, 2017 at 10:37 AM said:Ms. P Pieretti, The word monitor has many definitions. In Jeannie's article it means the speakers sitting on the stage facing the performers so they can hear themselves. When the music mix in the monitors isn't done well, the singer can't hear his/her voice over the instrumental music and usually sings too loudly to compensate, thereby straining the voice. Does that make sense?
on February 8, 2017 at 12:16 AM said:I don't do anything like that when recording at home: I always have the amp facing the other way, behind me (in order to reduce feedback)