I just received an email from a nurse telling me that she has been suffering from hoarseness for a long time, unable to sing high notes any more, shouting at her deaf patients to be heard and always clearing her dry throat. Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? Possibly not the shouting business but if you are experiencing chronic hoarseness or have lost your singing range or if you find your throat drier than in the past, there is a very good chance that you have vocal abuse.
Unfortunately, this type of abuse will not magically go away on its own until you change the manner in which you produce your voiced sound. There are no special exercises or tips I can offer except to:
1. take the pressure off your throat and vocal folds (cords); and,
2. use your chest as your primary sounding board. That is the bottom line and that is what the right approach in voice training is all about.
This woman also admitted that she was a shallow breather. In truth, 99% of the population
breathe by means of the upper chest which means that 99% of the population power their voice primarily by means of the pharynx (throat) and larynx (voice box) and that is the problem.
The human body has 5 resonators responsible for voiced sound. Two of them, of course, are the cavities of your throat and voice box. In addition your mouth and nasal cavities also help produce your sound. The 5th resonator, however, is your chest cavity. Because of shallow breathing, that cavity is unable to be utilized which means that you are pushing hard from your throat and voice box not only for your sound but also for your volume.
In order to eliminate the abuse, you must take the pressure off the throat. There is no other way around it. In doing so, you will immediately stop the abuse and discover a richer, warmer, deeper voice than the one you have been using out of habit. Those whose voices have this type of resonance sound like Sean Connery, Diane Sawyer, Cher and James Earl Jones. Their voices all share one characteristic in common: their sound is warm, like a blanket around your shoulders. Soothing, mellow, full, rich, and deep.
In addition, once you discover your chest or your ‘real’ voice, you will then be able to increase your volume without shouting. It is truly an amazing process.
If you value your voice, stop the abuse now. Learn to breathe and use your chest as your primary sounding board. You will love the difference!
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. If you would like to see a dramatic 'before & after' clip, visit Voice Dynamic and watch Craig's video in the center of the page.