Looking After Your Vocal Health
It wasn't until I began to train as a voice teacher that I realised just how important vocal training is in helping performers to maintain their vocal health. Fundamental to this is breathing and in particular re-training the body to breathe in a natural, relaxed way, encouraging physical release and ensuring that unnecessary and undesired muscular tension is eliminated. I use the word “re-training” because this involves removing the tensions and bad habits, particularly with regard to posture and bodily alignment, that have gradually become habitual throughout our lives and instead regaining the natural physical freedom that we previously enjoyed as babies and very young children.
Excessive and undesired physical tension, particularly in the muscles of the vocal apparatus associated with breathing and speaking, can lead to a whole host of vocal health problems, ranging from mild vocal fatigue leading to hoarseness or loss of voice, to more serious vocal trauma and pathological issues including lesions of the vocal folds such as nodules, polyps and cysts.
Voice coaches should work with clients by using exercises with them to encourage physical release in breathing and improved posture and physical alignment. This will enable healthier as well as more effective vocal use. Voice training is not only for professional voice users such as actors and singers, but will benefit anyone who uses their voice a lot as part of their job, who wants to improve the quality and health of their voice and learn how to use it to its full potential. As well as breathing exercises, vocal training can focus on other aspects of vocal use such as resonance and articulation work. It really is a matter of not just what you say, but of how you say it being just as important and having a voice that is expressive and pleasant-sounding in tone will certainly enhance your public speaking significantly and help you to get your point across more effectively.
Besides providing voice training exercises, I will advise clients on how they can maintain their vocal health through good lifestyle choices as well as the best ways to treat and cope with vocal problems such as hoarseness (dysphonia) and loss of voice when such issues do occur.