Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Healthy Voice

Tonight quite a few students were absent from Chorus II class. There's a lot of sickness going around right now. One student decided to show up although he was obviously not well. I want to stress how important it is to not abuse your voice when you have nasal drainage, a soar throat, or a cold that's effecting your voice. I'd like to post a list from The Voice Center at Eastern Virginia Medical School on maintaining a healthy voice.

General Recommendations:
-Discontinue smoking/tobacco use. Avoid secondhand smoke.
-Caffiene dehydrates the vocal folds, which can increase vocal fold damage. If you use these substances do so in moderation; increase your water intake to compensate.
-Keep your vocal folds moist. Drink six - to - eight 8oz. glasses of water daily. (One or two glasses of juice may be counted in this.)
-Monitor medication. Some medications, such as antihistamines, taken for common colds and allergies, work well in the ailment, but dry vocal tissue. Drink extra water to compensate for the medicine's drying effect.
-Watch what you eat. Frequent heartburn and a sour taste in your mouth may mean stomach acids are spilling over into your larynx (voice box), which may irritate or damage vocal tissue. Avoid acidic and spicy foods, eating late at night, caffeine, and overeating at mealtime. (Ask your Speech Pathologist for a list of other reflux precautions).

Voice Recommendations:
-Progress toward healing your voice disorder. Avoid loud talking when a quieter voice can be heard easily.
-Avoid frequent throat clearing and coughing, as these may damage vocal fold tissues. Frequent throat clearing is often a sign of poor vocal habits and/or dehydration. Increase you water intake and sip on water or swallow when you feel the urge to clear your throat.
-Avoid yelling or screaming as this kind of forceful voice use can increase hoarseness. Use a legato (linking words) speaking style and avoid hard attacks on vowels. (This may be demonstrated for you by your speech pathologist).
-Increase inflection, that is letting your voice rise and fall.
-Don't try to speak without adequate air. Decrease your rapid speaking rate and breathe more frequently. Be sure to take deep, abdominal breaths and speak SLOWLY.
-Avoid speaking or singing when your voice feels impaired or fatigued, as this increases the risk of injury. Reducing your talking or simply being quiet will often help renew a tired voice.
-Use a "forward" -- "hummy" voice placement. Feel your voice flow freely toward the front of your face.
- Warm up your voice well prior to singing or speaking in large groups where there is no amplification. (Note: A sound check is not a warm-up. You may wish to ask your speech pathologist about suitable warm up exercises.)
-Project your voice properly. Projecting does not mean shouting. To make your voice heard in noisy situations, use deep (abdominal) breathing and do not tighten your throat and neck muscles. Try to use amplification when presenting to large groups.

Ann Cyptar, M.S./CCC-SLP (Assistant Director of the Voice and Swallowing Center)


Anonymous said...

Hey Von de Leigh...

Oh my gosh!! Talk about time flying by! I ran into your mom last year (at a Ross, of all places) coming home from Sac after attending a Administrative Conf. I asked after you and she told me about you moving. And all of a sudden, you are a mommy!! He is beautiful!!

Please shoot me an email when you can. I'd love to send you some pictures of my girls and catch up. My email address is:

I can't wait to hear from you. Take care and much love to your and your family.

Karry Espinoza (Wilson)
Delano, CA

Music Eloquence said...

Hey Karry... HAHAHA!! Yes, it did post about 6 times. But that's okay, comment moderation is enabled. Lol. How good it was to hear from you. Yes, I'm a mommy and loving it. I talked about students being sick in the post you commented on... and he (Noah) is really sick. I don't know what the deal is... teething? flu (although he got flu shots)? allergy/sinus??? Who knows?

I would love to see pics of you all and your girls. I bet they are beautiful. Lets keep in touch.

Kespinoza said...

How embarrassing! I kept on hitting "Publish your Comment" and had the screen scrolled down just enough that I didn't see the line at the top that said that it had went through and was waiting to be approved. I told myself, "That was brilliant!"

I'm sorry to hear about little Noah. We will pray for a speedy recovery and that this bug stays away from mommy and daddy!

We will definitely keep in touch. I can't tell you how happy I am for you!

Talk to you soon.


Jana Allard said...

Great post. I might add, that there are many vocalists who learn how to sing properly but never learn how to speak properly. This post addresses this issue well. If you want to be a good vocalist, you better learn how to speak correctly. I think I might share this post with WAY Quartet. :)

Music Eloquence said...

Karry, thanks for praying. He is doing much better.

Jana (the pro speaks)... take heed students.