I LOVE teaching folks in their golden years. Not only do they come in with a tremendous amount of music in their wheelhouse, but they practice, and are so engaged during lessons! I work with several singers who wanted to pick up singing in their retirement and I'm so glad they did because THEY are teaching me so much about the aging voice. "It's a very ancient saying, but a true and honest thought: That if you become a teacher, by your pupils you'll be taught." :)
During lessons, I notice a few distinctions between more mature voices and younger voices. As we age, our singing muscles (laryngeal muscles, respiratory muscles, etc.) tend to become less flexible. One of the biggest complaints from my "seasoned" singers is that they can't sing as high as they used to. So, how do we combat this?
1. Lip trills, v buzz, raspberries! Allowing airflow to inform our singing is important.
2. Strengthening head voice in female singers using descending exercises
Think: "ha ha ha ha" on 8-5-3-1 or straw techniques
3. Monitoring closely the notes above the upper passaggio in male singers
4. Checking to see that they are aware of breath energy *singing uses much more energy than we think*
5. Changing up the exercises now and then to keep people on their toes!
6. The aging voice will fatigue faster, so I encourage short warm-up sessions of about 15 minutes/day for at-home practice
It's my goal to help you sing through all of life's stages. Think you'll be the oldest singer I teach...not a chance!!!
Could you or someone you know benefit from voice lessons? We'd love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria Palombo is a Voice Instructor and Singer living in Central NJ. She is the founder of Finely Tuned Voice Lessons, a private voice studio in Mercer County, NJ.