Getting a Voice Make-Over

Voice Problems in Teaching

I am writing this post to share my experiment: ‘going to a voice coach’. Just in case you have similar issues to mine and may have wondered … However, if the topic sounds mind-numbingly boring, look at the following photo instead: Moon Moon is back!

For a year or so I have had problems with my voice—sometimes better, sometimes worse. Now after some research into the problem and related symptoms, I found that it is a common issue in teaching professions (and apparently with lawyers, too). Work does not offer any support. Therefore, I asked beloved Google for help, eventually stumbling across a voice coach. I decided to just book a session with a coach who appeared the most professional of all, and frankly her photo also looked really nice—as I found out later: good choice, I was first time lucky!

I learned so far:

  1. That it is really important to find someone I can feel comfortable with, because an essential part of the training was to relax and trust the teacher.
  2. It’s all in the breath
  3. Voice does not only relate to head and throat but to the whole body.

The session:

We began with a conversation, various breathing exercises, walking around while huffing and puffing, and eventually some singing (well kind of sort of singing), shaping mouth, making goggling eyes, and a not too little measure of physical display of attitude. From that we transitioned into speaking—and therein squawks the toad, literally! Apparently, I have a strong voice, but translating an easy use of this strength in ‘singing’ into using this strength in talking is at the moment near to impossible. Going through the ‘singing’ exercises I got to a point where I could actually feel that the sound came from a different place in the voice box than it did when speaking. The voice coach said that this is exactly what I want to achieve, having the sound coming from that place when speaking. Alas I have long way to go!

Risking to sound like a five-year old talking about her teacher: The voice coach also told me that she works with a lot of lecturers and teachers, and that voice damage is very common due to the wrong techniques. She even does attend lectures and observe at which point all the learning goes out of the window and why.

Voice Health Tips:

Drink at least 2 hours before teaching, it apparently takes 2 hours for the vocal cords (if I remember this right) to hydrate after drinking

If you have problems, inhaling over steaming water instantly hydrates the vocal cords (?–not entirely sure I remember the exact part of the voice apparatus here)

So that’s a first field report from going to a voice coach. So far I believe it is going to be really helpful.

A curious side-effect: I felt really relaxed all day after the training session.

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