As a vocal coach I have come across many people who are yet to learn the importance of looking after their voice.
I get it. I knew it all once. I was invincible too. Until I lost my voice for six months.
It wasn’t until my ENT (ears, nose and throat specialist) said I had vocal nodules in my early twenties that reality hit hard. Like a tsunami, in came the failings of my identity poking holes in my prideful heart; to say it lightly, I fell pretty hard. I was a full-time preschool teacher during the day, and singing worshiper every other moment. I was singing when I shouldn’t, shouting in environments I didn’t know were hazardous, doing everything I didn’t know I shouldn’t: singing without support, thinking I knew it all because I sounded awesome – or so everyone was saying. I used my voice 24/7. Seven days a week. I abused my voice into a place of disrepair and paid the tragic consequence of my multitude of bad choices. The fork in the road was presented before me: Give up the pursuit of a healthy voice and keeping running at the same pace (loose it forever), or stop and rest (repair and grow). It took 18 months to recover fully. I had to quit my job. I had to learn how to speak again. I had to step down from worship leading in my small church who at the time “needed me”. I had to quit singing, talking and eating certain foods, all in the vain effort to get the precious gift back. It was only once it was lost that I truly appreciated the gift I had been entrusted with. God showed me the ugly face of pride and the beauty found in being humble before Him. It was a hard road, one I’m grateful for.
This scary place wasn’t insurmountable and it was the way in which God showed me many incredible lessons. If I could look after my voice, not only could I become an even better singer with more capability and more flexibility, I could then show others just how precious their gifts were too. I did six months of speech pathology and I went and studied professionally. Overflowing from this experience, I teach the importance of being vocally conscious with my students and worship teams I lead on.
Some helpful hints to keep your voice in the best shape possible:
- Always warmup before you sing – doesn’t have to be for a huge extended period of time, 10-15 minutes will get you in the right place to start. Just don’t use your rehearsal space to get your muscles going!
- Hydrate: before, during and after. Your vocal cords work their best when they are plump, moist & connected.
- Don’t extend your vocal range – try avoid talking in loud environments, singing without amplification or singing beyond your range without assistance.
- If you are sick – rest. It’s really hard, but it’s worth it. While we’re there, avoid whispering too – it’s worse than shouting!
- Strengthen your sound by ensuring adequate support.
- Invest in your technique – work on scales and other vocal exercises so you are not hindered in the moment.
- Get professional help! That’s where I come in…
If you’re interested in getting your voice back on track, let’s connect and review your voice so you can be as effective as possible. There’s nothing I haven’t seen, I’ve taught tone deaf armatures through to professional vocalists so start by contacting me here!