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Maintenance of a Healthy Voice

Submitted to Common Times by Mark Lawley, SWACDA President-Elect

The following material is provided courtesy of Amy Clift, Springfield, MO, Speech Pathologist

  • Try your best to maintain good general health. Get adequate rest to minimize fatigue. If you do become ill, avoid talking or singing - see your physician and rest your voice.
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a balance diet and avoid spicy/acidic foods
  • Maintain body hydration; drink two quarts of water daily
  • Limit voice use in restaurants, parties, cars and planes, and on cell phones or telephones
  • Avoid throat clearing or coughing
  • Stop yelling - avoide calling from room to room
  • When talking, use pitch level in the same range where you say, "umm-hmm?"
  • Speak in phrases rather than in paragraphs, and breath slightly before each phrase
  • Reduce demands on your voice - listen more and don't do all the talking
  • Learn to breathe silently to activate your breath support muscles and reduce neck tension
  • Vocal warm ups should always be used prior to singing. Vocal cool downs are also essential to keep the singing voice healthy.

Optimal Speaking Techniques (Your speaking voice can get your singing voice into trouble)

  • Use good abdominal/diaphragmatic breathing and support
  • Learn to use your voice with as little unnecessary effort and tension as possible
  • Take frequent breaths when speaking long sentences
  • Allow the neck, jaw, and face to be relaxed
  • "Place" or "Focus" the voice appropriately, sing and speak from the face/head resonances
  • Speak at a normal rate of speed
  • Use goof vocal inflection