Was ist ein Stimmproblem?
What is a voice problem?
In an article of the Guardian
the author Bernard Warner uses the cancellation of two concerts in London by Adele who again suffers from serious voice problems to discuss on a general level the reason why so many singers in all musical disciplines nowadays often get serious problems with their voices and what can be done about it.
Good question! The answer to the second aspect, which Bernard Warner puts forward in his very recommandable article, is the alternative: surgery or better tuning. Many vocal teacher advise for good reasons against surgery on the vocal folds, others believe that this is at least a good additional measure. In the case of Adele, who has been operated in 2012 after a total failure of the voice, the prediction of the voice teacher Lisa Paglin that the problem will reappear again, was obvioulsy correct. According to her opinion, the problem with Adele and the thousands of singers with voice problems lies in the basic method of singing. As long as that would not be changed, operations could only temporarily fix a problem.
From my point of view as a voice teacher and artist in the tradition of Roy Hart and Alfred Wolfsohn, the discussion suffers from the fact that on both sides it remains entirely in the metaphor of the instrument. The voice is considered as an instrument, and the question of healing the voice is reduced to the problem of how the repair is to be performed. Does the hardware need to be improved, or is it better to lubricate the tool and train its handling better? These are questions that are not entirely without relevance, but which don´t hit the real problem. The voice is not an instrument, or more cautiously expressed: with the instrumental metaphor, certain aspects of the relationship of a person to his voice can not be described, and the aspects which are important in the case of voice problems remain unaffected in the concept of the instrument.
In a musical instrument, there is no doubt about who is the actor and who or what is the instrument and is played here (even if great virtuosos know how the feeling of being played by the instrument). The situation is different with the voice. Sometimes the voice does not what I want, but what it wants itsself. The voice has its own power of decision-making and acting. That is why it is often much more meaningful to speak of the voice as a partner with whom I communicate on the same level - as opposed to the relationship to an instrument that is always hierarchical. So-called voice problems appear from this perspective as warning and wake-ups calls from the voice, that wants to signal to me that in our relationship something is not "right". The longer I ignore these signals, the louder they become and the greater becomes the risk that they will develop into real, ie, chronic, voice problems on a functional or organic level.
However, what may be problematic in relation to my voice is not primarily concerned with a technical level, but is a phenomenon that affects human beings as a whole. In order to keep the relationship healthy and alive for both sides (voice and human being), it is necessary to investigate the mental, psychological and physical connections in this relationship and possibly to re-adjust them. I need to recognize with what self- and vocal understanding I live and explore, where this understanding is perhaps no longer appropriate to my life situation. The royal road of this exploration is to listen to one's own voice! Best with the help of a person who has experience in this type of hearing.
In this process, the theme of how I deal with my voice in singing and sounding plays a big role from the beginning, but it is crucial to find out why I am acting in a way that is not good for my voice. And, usually, the reference to a learned singing technique is not the decisive and satisfactory answer. The question of how I sing is embedded in the wider context of my concepts that I carry with me about my voice, in other words, the way I understand my voice. This context has not only an individual-personal dimension but also social and cultural implications. This is the only way to understand why there are times like ours, where so many singers get so great problems with their voice. The reasons can not only lie on the personal level.