In order to effectively and efficiently use our voices, we need to be aware of and appreciate the demands we place on it. Try to recognise and adjust your behaviour to support vocal longevity by using our seven tips below.
- Look out for tension/stress in the shoulders/neck/jaw ache – this will in turn increase an unbalanced tension in the voice. Try to be aware of this when altering your ‘natural’ voice. Massage/stretch the affected area, and yawn-sigh to stretch vocal cords.
- Habitual throat clearing/coughing – you could even get family/friends to remind you to do it! Sipping water, dry swallowing, or gentle coughing also works.
- Avoid shouting/screaming/prolonged loud talking as this can cause your vocal folds to swell or bleed. If required to do so in the vocal booth, make sure you breathe through the vocalisation, water is to hand, and you stretch the vocal cords as soon as possible.
- To avoid tired/sore voice due to prolonged use, take 5 minute vocal breaks as frequently as possible throughout the day; however, do not go on complete voice rest for prolonged periods unless you have a confirmed diagnosis of laryngitis.
- Avoid whispering when on any type of vocal rest as this can cause supraglottic hyperfunction – use a ‘soft’ (confidential) voice instead.
- Emotional upset can affect laryngeal tension. Look at ways to channel and release any emotional upset. This will vary from person to person but try to find an outlet to suit you (mindfulness is an excellent example).
- Warm up your voice daily, even if you are not going into the vocal booth. Vocal cords are muscles and need regular exercise! Incorporating a 5-10 min warm-up into your daily routine will mean you are ‘voice-ready’ for any last-minute bookings.