Wow - I was so upset to hear that, once again, Adele's beautiful voice has been silenced. A good friend sent me the article about it, and the ongoing controversy that has become a regular topic amongst singers, their teachers and coaches, and...their surgeons. Surgeons? WHAT? How is this happening on such a regular basis? I have always looked at singing as a sport that requires it's own regular and specific conditioning. Like with any sport, the proper training technique, body mechanics, and pacing can lead to longevity and, well - keep you in the game! However, the comparison in the article I read about Adele et al compares a knee injury in football and the subsequent surgery to repair damaged tissues to injury in singers. I love that singing is finally being seen as a sport as far as training is concerned, but this type of injury comparison is not, in my mind, a completely apt one, since a knee injury in football is caused by an acute incident - and in the game of football, is an accepted and unavoidable risk to playing a full contact sport. Vocal injuries aren't usually caused by a sudden blow to the larynx by someone on stage playing or singing with you!! (Although a specific tenor comes to mind, but that's a different blog, lol) They are caused by overuse, and lack of safe and sustainable technique, more like tennis elbow. Any tennis coach worth their pay, and any tennis player who is serious and wants to continue playing, pays close attention to the proper conditioning, pacing, and playing technique to try to avoid this type of injury. So it should be with singers! Surgery is a scary first go-to when speaking of the incredibly delicate tissues of the vocal folds, even under the most skilled surgical conditions. Then there is the fact that such young singers are going under the knife and/or laser. Many well trained bel canto technique singers perform credibly and sing beautifully well into their 70s! They didn’t undergo the knife repeatedly in their youth, so we don’t really know how these aggressive surgical interventions are going to affect longevity, but we do know that the style and proper pacing of singing that kept these bel canto singers in the game needs to be revisited! Bel canto means, literally translated from the Italian -Beautiful Singing. I like to call this technique Vocal True North. Once a singer learns the safest, and most efficient way to play each note in the voice, and to connect them all seamlessly (it's sounds beautiful too, a nice plus:’), the singer will know how to safely return to True North. So go ahead and sing a different style - but always train the Truth North, and revisit it often! Once the technique is put into muscle memory, just like with good athletic training, even when you sing another style (like playing another sport, kind of) the technique will be there running in the background, and letting you know if you’re too far off, or are not pacing yourself with enough rest to protect the voice. It’s like a safety net under a high wire athlete - I don’t know about you, but I’d never perform without it.