Monday, November 10, 2008

A healthy voice is will last you a lifetime!

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In my popular book, Singing and Speaking on the Edge of a Grunt, chapter one discusses the incredible health benefits associated with singing, speaking, laughing, athletics and other “natural” physical activities. Research has proved that these activities release human endorphin hormones into the body. It is also very important to accept your personal responsibility to make healthy choices every day to keep you voice healthy. Read these important tips to maintain a healthy voice.

Do Not Abuse Your Voice!

It is obvious that to continue to be a powerful vocalist one must take care of their voice. Right? The truth is that many of us take the voice for granted and expect it “just to work” no matter how much we may abuse it.

Voice problems may arise from a variety of sources including voice overuse or misuse, cancer, infection, or injury. Here are steps that can be taken to prevent voice problems and maintain a healthy voice.

Get Proper Training

This is above all the most important aspect of proper vocal performance. This is because many vocal ailments originate or are made worse by lack of proper breathing, controlled breath support, air delivery and poor diction. Most people do not vocalize correctly out of the womb. I do not care how great your voice sounds now. Ask Elton John who had, arguably, one of the finest rock voices in pop history and ended up with surgery to his larynx in 1986 due to constant improper use. His voice has never recovered. Compare this to such people singers like

Luciano Pavarotti and Beverly Sills. Due to their proper training, they sang in high registers at an old age. Do not make the mistake of dismissing them because they sang “opera.” All vocalists must have proper breath support no matter what style they perform in. All styles change form the neck up and are the same from the neck down.

Drink Plenty of Water

Keeping your body well hydrated by drinking plenty of water each day is essential to maintaining a healthy voice. The vocal cords vibrate extremely fast even with the most simple sound production; remaining hydrated through water consumption optimizes the throat’s mucous production, aiding vocal cord lubrication. To maintain sufficient hydration avoid or moderate substances that cause dehydration. These include alcohol and caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, soda). And always increase hydration when exercising.

Do Not Smoke

I can’t believe that we must still say such a thing with all the evidence that smoking can kill you. It is well known that smoking leads to lung or throat cancer. Primary and secondhand smoke that is breathed in passes by the vocal cords causing significant irritation and swelling of the vocal cords. This will permanently change voice quality, nature, and capabilities.

Do Not Abuse or Misuse Your Voice

Sorry to inform you but your voice is not indestructible. In every day communication, be sure to avoid habitual yelling, screaming, or cheering. And if you participate is such activities, project your power form your abdomen and not your throat. Try not to talk loudly in locations with significant background noise or noisy environments. Be aware of your background noise—when it becomes noisy, significant increases in voice volume occur naturally, causing harm to your voice.

I am currently working with a 29-year-old woman who had vocal cord surgery last year because she was a bartender in college and had to speak over the crowd constantly. She had four vocal nodules on her vocal chords. If you feel like your throat is dry, tired, or your voice is becoming hoarse, stop talking.

Minimize Throat Clearing

Clearing your throat can be compared to slapping or slamming the vocal cords together. Consequently, excessive throat clearing can cause vocal cord injury and subsequent hoarseness. An alternative to voice clearing is taking a small sip of water or simply swallowing to clear the secretions from the throat and alleviate the need for throat clearing or coughing. The most common reason for excessive throat clearing is an unrecognized medical condition causing one to clear their throat too much. Common causes of chronic throat clearing include gastro esophageal reflux, laryngopharyngeal reflux disease, sinus and/or allergic disease.

Moderate Voice Use When You Are Sick

Reduce your vocal demands as much as possible when your voice is hoarse due to excessive use or an upper respiratory infection (cold). Singers should exhibit extra caution if one’s speaking voice is hoarse because permanent and serious injury to the vocal cords are more likely when the vocal cords are swollen or irritated. It is important to “listen to what your voice is telling you.”

Do Not Take Your Voice For Granted

Your voice is an extremely valuable resource and is the most commonly used form of communication. Our voices are invaluable for both our social interaction as well as for most people’s occupation. Proper care and use of your voice will give you the best chance for having a healthy voice for your entire lifetime.

1 comment:

ameagor_thenny said...

yessir,i'll try not to shriek or scream like i used to>_<