I am a bass. I can go down to E2 on any day and my voice sound rich and deep on F2-B2. I can somewhat vocalise up to E4, but I cannot sing anything from E3.

I think I know what my problem is. I squeeze my throat to make any note beyond G3 when I vocalise and C3 when I sing. My voice sounds tired/strained/like-singing-karaoke-for-hours-and-voice-is-gone after 10 minutes of practice. I also get a muscle pain in my jaw and neck.

My teacher suggested to sing as if I am projecting sound from my face or sometimes singing a very nasal voice, but my vocal cord still feels strained.

Can anyone help me out here?

  • 1
    I am in pretty much exactly the same situation. Very interested if you found anything that works for you!
    – Michael D
    Apr 16, 2014 at 19:28

2 Answers 2


I'm sure others will have more detail to give, but the answer seems pretty clear to me: breath support.

Unfortunately, the way to develop stronger breath support is with all the non-musical exercises your teachers have given you over the years. Here are a few:

  • Hiss like a snake. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss. Until you run out of breath. You want to be able to give a constant sound output using constant muscular pressure.

  • That riff from Paul Simon's Graceland. "Somebody say: Ih - Hih-Ih - Hih-Ih (Somebody cry Why Why Why?)".

  • Long, slow notes. Similar to hissing like a snake, but a little closer to music. Same deal though: you want a steady tone at an even volume, provided by the slow contraction of the muscles of the torso.

It is important to be aware of the difference between diaphragmatic breathing and chest breathing. But be wary of overly-zealous advice to use only diaphragmatic breathing. All the muscles of the abdomen, chest, and even the shoulders, too, contribute to the shape and pressures in the lung. There's an exercise called the Full Yogi Breath, which works all of the breathing muscles together.

Projecting can also help. Put a picture of your girlfriend on the wall across the room, and sing so the picture can "hear" you.

  • 2
    Agreed -- breath support. "Throat squeezing" sounds like a raised larynx, which is a way to get a higher note out when there's a lack of breath support. So the thing I would add here is that the larynx needs to be relaxed. Breath support is a prerequisite. Nov 4, 2014 at 2:54
  • Could you add your answer to this question: music.stackexchange.com/questions/17/improving-breath-support
    – Josiah
    Jun 11, 2015 at 16:53

I had the same confusion but i later learn that its all about being original. Sing you voice with certainty and expect good of you . Listen to you self as as you break the air during your practice. Finaly believe in you today so that you tomorrow will be great.

  • 1
    While this is generally good advice, the OP is experiencing strain and fatigue which should be remedied by a stronger technique. Aug 6, 2014 at 17:44

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