I'm a 21 year old college student, been drinking/smoking regularly for like 3 years now but kinda turned up the heat recently. Halloween I got pretty drunk, my friends and I were a mariachi band, I burnt the hell out of my vocal chords screaming La Bamba (it was fun!) Had band practice a few days later and strained em more. Been smoking/drinking decently heavily since then. My range has never come back since Halloween. I literally can't hit a falsetto, like my throat just cracks up and no sound comes out.

So any tips? Is it gonna come back? It's gotten a lot better - like from not being able to talk hardly to being able to sing pretty normally. Still can't hit the falsetto at all though. Must I quit my bad habits all together? Any advice is appreciated.
Seems to. With a 100% certainty the day after - my voice is always shot. Not sure about the long-term impact but smoking definitely takes care of that.
Don't drink and smoke as much? That much seems obvious. Lemon juice is also a good short term cure for voice problems.
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Learn how to warm up and cool down your voice.

Stop smoking.

The issue - I think - with drinking is that drinking is an analgesic and messes with your coordination. The problem is that you sing sloppy (forcing too much air) and don't notice that you're hurting yourself.

The only real cure is rest. Stop singing. Cold turkey. Give it two weeks. Then see where you are.

Think of it as a strained muscle. Every pulled a hamstring? You can't just go on playing soccer the same way you did before and expect it to get better.

I would go a couple of weeks without singing after a day or two without talking at all.
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Does drinking really affect your vocal chords?

Yes. It makes them relaxed, because your brain is relaxed. Vibrato and pitch is harder to maintain.

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I like the muscle analogy. Guess I'm just gonna nurse it for the next couple weeks. Wish the stop smoking thing was so easy but at least this is a good reason to cut back/hopefully quit. Thanks for the help guys. I really want it back! Haha
Habits like this one will definitely have an impact on your voice. Whether it will be good or bad is uncertain and depends on your personal preference. Some people might even like it. But if you want your voice to remain in pristine condition I would definitely avoid heavy smoking/drinking. Give your voice some weeks to heal first and see what happens.

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Does drinking really affect your vocal chords?

It dries them out. You don't want that.
Last edited by Sethis at Nov 16, 2012,
So last night I got drunk and sang like 5 songs with an 80s cover band while smoking cigs on stage. Singing We're Not Gonna Take It probably wasnt the best idea ever. So much for rest, rock n roll dudes!!! Hahaha oh man..
Last edited by shortyafter at Nov 17, 2012,
Lol, in a couple of months you'll be posting something like this on the forums:


Seriously though, best of luck mate. You will probably trash your voice if you keep doing this sort of thing but the vocal folds are pretty resilient. It's kind of just a roll of the dice when they are going to give out when you chronically abuse them without any sort of real relief.
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Yes. It makes them relaxed, because your brain is relaxed. Vibrato and pitch is harder to maintain.

they should be relaxed. vibrato isn't something that should be forced, its a result of proper technique.

smoking doesn't have nearly the effect on one's voice as its lead to believe..enrico caruso was a heavy smoker

alcohol dehydrates your vocal chords, dry chords don't move well.

rest and proper hydration are going to be the only things that will help you out. smoking also dries out the cords, but as long as you stay hydrated you should be fine. take a few days off, try not to talk much, but if you have to speak quietly (not whispering, this is worse for your voice than normal speech)

hope I helped!
I teach private lessons in voice, hit me up if interested!