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Singer who talks all day for a living..

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I have a big, belty voice. I have always been very healthy to my voice, keeping it in check, taking vocal lessons, keeping it moisturized, warming-up, etc. My full-time job is that of a Chamber director for a community. As you can imagine, I talk during the day.. a lot. At meetings, on the phone, to my employees, presentations, etc. My voice gets very tired at the end of the day, and I'm afraid that I'm talking wrongly, which will lead to vocal chord damage. Although I have a large singing voice, I have never been able to cut through the crowd with my speaking voice, so it makes my voice very tired when speaking on the phone or to a large group. I don't want to cause damage, as singing is my life, my hobby. I sing in a band--always focusing on vocal health. I would be devastated to find that I had damaged my voice. Any advice or next step to take? I want to stay on top of this. Thanks!

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I have a book of interviews of modern heavy rock singers. Different accents, different heights, different names.

All saying the same three things.

Rest. guitarists have several guitars, one or two techs to take care of the equip, sets of new strings galore, boxes of picks to fling out to the audience.

Drummers have replace heads already tuned for speedy replacement.

The singer has one, irreplaceable voice. So, rest.

Hydration. The day before is more important than 30 minutes before because proper hydration is systemic, not just what you are drinking this moment.

Thirdly, do what it is your voice can do and don't worry about or push what it cannot do. That one gets me more heat than anything. But famous singers are not famous for singing every song ever written and sound exactly like every other singer ever heard. They are famous for singing some songs that work with how their voices are.

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It's an issue of speaking technique. And if you are still having problems with your speaking voice then no you weren't truly warming up (not long enough or divided enough), you weren't truly using good technique when you vocalized, etc.

Someday when you have time try warming up multiple times in segments with rests in between. You'll notice that after the 2nd round though or so, whatever technique you're vocalizing with will naturally translate over to your speaking. And if your vocalizing technique isn't on point neither will your speaking be. So if you do that and you're still having problems with your speech you're not vocalizing with proper technique. But if you vocalize correctly the speaking voice will sort itself out.

You do need to rest the voice too of course but my point is just that a 20 minute warm up won't get you through a whole day of speaking, you need to get your voice deeper into good technique habits.

Some tips just regarding what that proper technique is - bright resonance, balanced cord closure, and economic use of air. It's all about efficiency really, you want the most sound with the least effort. Some people forget that you also want to use as little air as you need. Supporting is not throwing loads of air out it's just controlling the air dynamically - and for talking, you don't need much air at all - shoot more for the bare minimum and get the projection from balanced cord closure and the bright tone and you'll notice speaking loudly gets a lot easier to sustain for longer amounts of time.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've not seen the original poster reply. But having a job that requires the use of voice all day is a consideration. Heck, having a job is a consideration. It's one thing to talk about what a person should do. It's another thing to understand the conditions of their environment. I am on the phone all day. It does not stop. The phones start ringing at 6 am and I still get calls on my company mobile at 6 - 9 pm at night, sometimes.

So, of anyone, I am more likely to understand the challenges of Ms McBride. And the point is, guard your voice by letting it go where it needs to go. Don't hold at one pitch. And don't worry, because that introduces bad stress and therefore, bad tension. Hydrate, get rest, let the voice vary.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Michelle,

The human voice is quite a fragile commodity and it is very easy to damage it or lose it altogether, so I understand your concern and your fear.

If you don't know how to preserve your voice mechanically, you may begin experiencing some vocal difficulties.

There is a way to save and protect your voice for life by working smart and not hard, so to speak.

Also, you need to know how to use a minimum effort to accomplish the desirable (maximum) result, and do it upon design and not by ear, so to speak.

By your post, I understand that you are applying a lot of pressure onto your vocal box, vocal cords, and no doubt, your neck muscles as well.

The latter is very dangerous, as it could turn into muscle tension dysphonia, God forbid.

So the main objective is to reduce the vocal box and surrounding muscles (also shoulders and chest) from the pressure of the sound and restructure the sound to a different set of muscles (facial cavities), which will then play the role of a natural resonator or amplifier....

In this instance, your lower muscles will have, so to speak, a "vocal rest" and then you can apply the natural herbs and remedies to heal and strengthen your somewhat wounded vocal anatomy.

Of course, there is much more to it than that.

If you want to learn more, please read my blogs on the matter, especially starting from January 2012 to now.

At the time, I was considered to attend a post-surgery care for a couple of very well-known artists and thus wrote a lot of material dedicated to non-surgical voice repair matter.

I hope it will be helpful.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about voice disorders and how to prevent and/or treat them, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Best regards,

Diana Yampolsky

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