“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

Most of us have experienced at least several of the above. Jeannie Deva worked diligently during her life to remedy all of these for herself. What is your experience with these? – Studio Staff