I just started screaming properly (i think i have no idea) a bit ago like a couple months and i just need to know if I'm doing it right

I will try my best to explain how I scream.

When I scream I tighten my throat (depending on how much I loosen or tighten) it lowers or turns into a high scream.

I don't feel any pain, just the vibrations at the bottom of my throat and chest and feels like a popping sensation. I keep it at a minimal because before I used to try to do my screams really loud but they gave out after 10 minutes and turned into just airy weird noises. Now I can scream for an hour or longer without my voice giving out or anything. I feel like I use my diaphragm correctly and all I use to project them better. Right now I'm just focusing on getting my style and amount of distortion right before I start focusing on the loudness

I try and mimic vocalists such as alex koehler (Chelsea Grin), chris fronzak (Attila), chadwick johnson (Hundredth), ryan zimmerman (Greeley Estates) and Landon Tewers (The Plot In You). Am I using a good and healthy technique? Do I just need to keep practicing?

(also when i do the popping lightly on my throat, it feels a little tender or delicate in a way but no pain, is this bad? & without tightening my throat it just sounds really airy nd a little rasp but it sounds like my voice is giving out?)

Please help I've looked all over the internet and i really need to know if I'm screaming properly because I don't want to ruin my vocal chords, I'm going to get singing lessons soon.

  • Go to any high-energy scottish student ceilidh. There you'll learn rhythmic and accented screaming, if only by assimilation.. Apr 29, 2014 at 12:44
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    Tightening the throat could be an issue. Since you can do it for an hour without pain, I think you are on the right track. How loud are your screams? Does your diaphragm feel well worked out after a prolonged "singing" session? I try to keep my throat relaxed, and make sure that the diaphragm is working a lot. In that way you can get pretty loud. I've been using this style for 16 years without issues, so it can be done. You shouldn't be hoarse for extended periods after singing, then something is wrong. Apr 29, 2014 at 12:57
  • It all comes down to using your diaphragm.
    – Neil Meyer
    May 11, 2016 at 11:21

5 Answers 5


For goodness' sake, get thee to a voice instructor! Rock/blues stars who appear to be screaming and shredding their vocal cords have taken many lessons in how to produce that sound structure without actually stressing their throat. (or their career is less than a couple years long :-( ).

  • This needs to be upvoted into outer space for the sake of getting @JoshLopez's attention before too long. The fact that it sounds good and that his voice isn't hurting is not an indication that he's using the right technique already.
    – Lee White
    May 11, 2016 at 9:46
  • Indeed. I had a friend, he took over the screaming parts in his bands as their shouter quit the band. He could do it without pain he said, but after a year or so he had to have a surgery at his vocal chords and isn't allowed to sing anymore... never again... I would also like to learn screaming, but I can't find a teacher for it, so I'm too afraid of ruining my voice. May 11, 2016 at 11:08

I think you will be hard-pressed to find someone willing to endorse screaming as a viable means of sustainable vocal production.

Screaming is hurtful to the vocal folds. The reason why your voice gives out is because your vocal folds are inflamed from the screaming and cannot continue to resonate properly enough to sustain vocal production. This is why you get "weird sounds".

Tightening your throat restricts airflow. Restricted airflow leads to improper resonance of vocal folds. Improper resonance in vocal folds means a reduced resonance and the quality of aural production. Tightening your throat also puts unnecessary strain on your neck and shoulder muscles, thus further sacrificing tone production.

Your diaphragm is involuntary. You cannot use your diaphragm to sing and more than you can use your stomach to produce a beat. Often when teachers discuss "using the diaphragm" it is used as a visualization to help improve breath support and air efficiency. It is better to think of your lungs as a gas tank that you fill from all directions simultaneously.

Mimicing artists who scream on recordings is an incredibly dangerous and destructive practice. There is editing and filtering that is added to their voice to enhance or create those effects outright. Even if seen live, those effects can be easily applied with contemporary technology.

Screaming over a prolonged period of time can cause permanent vocal damage, and can even render some with the complete loss of their voice permanently. As you can imagine, vocal fold surgery is not only expensive, but is not enjoyable to anyone.

If you enjoy singing and want to be able to do it throughout your whole life, then it is paramount to take care of your voice. You take care of your voice, it takes care of you.

Hope that helps.

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    I think it is well established that this vocal style is a valid and sustainable way of performing music. There are people using this style who's been touring for decades, and they still have their voice. Apr 29, 2014 at 12:49
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    @BobRodes: OP is aware that there are risks, hence the question. The answer comes off like this vocal style is the heroin of music in terms of damage potential. This is not the case. Apr 29, 2014 at 20:39
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    The answer is a bit strong perhaps, but I'm also concerned that yours understates the risk. While I grant that it's possible that there are those who "scream" for many years and still have their pristine voice to use when they will, I also find that most people who "still have their voice" can't do some things with it that they could before developing this style. I also find it most unlikely that people who sell technical information on how to "scream" without damaging their voice can demonstrate the claim with evidence. Therefore, I am skeptical where you are not, and say so to the OP.
    – BobRodes
    Apr 29, 2014 at 22:45
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    @jjmusicnotes, no, it's less like saying that smoking is okay than it's like saying dancing ballet is okay. The question of whether it's worth it to cripple yourself in the pursuit of one's art is a deeply personal one each artist can only answer for himself. May 2, 2014 at 5:30
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    I think perhaps you should re-read your comment and think about how your justification is silly and unfounded. Also, opera, country, blues, folk, and world music, to name a few. Sep 19, 2014 at 13:03

We may not be referring to the same genres of music...

Most screamers, growlers, (talking most modern metal) etc whom I've met that do this for a set or more frequently are singing at a much lower level surprisingly than one would imagine. A loud system backing up your vocals plus some EQ, maybe a bit of smooth distortion on the mic and you've got a gnarly sounding voice for that specific genre required of "vocals".

For shorter bursts of emotion (say, the "Yeah!" in "Don't Get Fooled Again" - classic rock by today's standards) the artist is singing at a much more expected volume level for said outburst. Screaming in this fashion is noticeably destructive to your vocal cords.

  • We'll see whether what you say makes a difference in 10 or 20 years. Nobody was talking about permanent ear damage in 1980, either.
    – BobRodes
    Apr 29, 2014 at 22:52
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    It does - David Coverdale has needed multiple surgeries on his voice because of this. We know for a fact it does damage.
    – Jasmine
    Jun 17, 2014 at 16:26

You may want to check out Melissa Cross’ The Zen of Screaming series of instructional DVDs https://www.melissacross.com/vocal_training_products.php

I haven’t tried much of the actual “screaming” parts of the DVDs (there’s little use for cookie monster vocals in Jazz), but she seems to have fairly sound ideas about fundamentals, and appears to have worked with numerous professionals in the field.

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    I'm highly skeptical of the assertion that it's possible to make this sort of sound without damaging your chords over time, although of course it's possible. She may also have ways to mitigate that damage, but that's sort of like saying that there are ways to redline a car without blowing the engine. There are, but not without engine wear.
    – BobRodes
    Apr 29, 2014 at 22:56
  • "there’s little use for cookie monster vocals in Jazz" tell that to Louis!
    – user45266
    Dec 23, 2021 at 2:23

The rule of thumb in singing is "your throat DOESN'T exist". The only organs you need to produce sound are your diaphragm for pushing the air from the bottom of your lungs and your hard palate to make the sound resonate. If you EVER use your throat, then whatever it is you're doing, you're doing it wrong. NOTHING should happen in the throat.

As someone else said, get yourself a singing teacher. Even if it's not about screaming, you'll get enough technique to sing properly, then scream properly without damaging your voice.

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