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Teachers: How Do You Pace Yourself to Avoid Strain?

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I spent much of the past week putting together a seminar on voice problems of school kids and classroom teachers. Anyone who teaches six to seven hours per day has got to be a vocal athlete, and there is evidence that music teachers are, if anything, even more at risk.

Long hours, jumping around voice parts, managing choirs, fundraising sometimes and then wanting something left over for our own singing  can add up to a real challenge. Then there's the smidge of denial, because we're supposed to know better.

When I actually gave the seminar last night, in a large, acoustically-dead, fluorescent-lit school room, of course the podium mic was nonfunctional as well. I had no problem being heard and keeping things lively, but by mid-evening I was tempted to let my speaking pitch and resonance drop. If I would have done so, I have been seriously fatigued. Did I even warm up on the way there? Nope, I was distracted by ... nothing important. Yes I should know better!So, what advice do you give others and have trouble following yourself?college where someone else sets your schedule, do you get breaks? Do you build in some rest or downtime after the longest teaching days? What do you do for yourself that makes the most difference?

I look forward to comments.

In the meantime, checkout The Voice Academy, a cool (free) resource site designed for classroom teachers, by PhD students in voice science.

Some of you probably have days when you see 8-10 students in a row, maybe with a group rehearsal or two as well. If you're at a school or

This essay was first published May 1, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008.

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