Care of the Ultimate Instrument
Key Assumption: A lack of understanding about the voice is a major cause of vocal career problems.
Fact: It is easier to be prepared and avoid vocal pitfalls than to recover from them.
- Only YOU can keep your voice healthy. Learn to “manage” your instrument. BE ACCOUNTABLE.
- Practice proper vocal hygiene. Be guided by COMMON SENSE!!
- Decisions – count the vocal “costliness” of your lifestyle choices.
- Consider yourself a vocal athlete.
- Vocal wellness encourages PREVENTION not treatment.
- Effective speaking and singing should feel relaxed and effortless, like “hitting the sweet spot.”
Helpful care concepts
- Larynx (voicebox): susceptible NOT FRAGILE
- ALL voices have a threshold of abuse – learn YOURS and stay within acceptable limits
- Vocal “finances” perform on interest, don't use up principal
- Managing: flexibility plus discipline
- Common sense: RESPOND to how your voice sounds/feels
- Vocal athlete: conditioning; warm up/cool down; training (coach)
- Vocal lifestyle: All factors impacting on voice
- Abuse = Misuse + overuse
- Speaking affects singing: same instrument
- Influencing factors: smoking, alcohol, drugs, allergies, diet, reflux, hormones, stress/tension, training, techniques, repertoire
- Avoid physical/emotional exhaustion (eat/sleep wisely)
- Hydration/humidification are key
- Reduce caffeine intake (coffee, tea, cola, chocolate)
- Avoid smoking (active and passive)
- Alcohol in moderation
- Rest when not performing (no unnecessary infection)
- Avoid whisper as a “voice” alternative
- Respond “smartly” to URI (upper respiratory infection)
- Promote voice caution/conservation vs. silence
- Caution with coughing/throat clearing
- Don't be an amateur druggist
- Avoid late night eating/drinking
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To find a head and neck specialist for your needs, contact the Head & Neck Institute at 216.444.8500 (or toll-free 1.800.223.2273, ext. 48500)