About this time of year lots of teachers start to get husky voices.
And I can tell you – from experience! – that unless you change a few things you *will* lose your voice at some point.
And if you keep going for years there is a fair chance you could permanently damage your vocal cords.
Which might be a relief for your students, but not good for your career! 🙂
A few years ago I went to a specialist and these are some of the techniques they suggested. Although of course I’m not a doctor (yet!) so do check with someone qualified if you do have any problems.
1. Drink Plenty of Water
Lots and lots of it. If you look at my workshops I have several 2 liter bottles that I get through in just a few hours.
Similarly cut out coffee. Hmmm, I’m not too good on that one!
(Ninja Tip: If you have your own school, giving the kids a cup of water at the beginning of each lesson not only helps their voice, re-hydration also helps their concentration and cognitive power. Forget the downside of needing the bathroom, the upside is worth it!)
2. Steamy, steamy!
Part two of the voice tips series…. steam! If you feel your voice getting hoarse, get a humidifier for your room. Or before school in the morning, put a towel over your head and breathe in the steam from a hot bowl of water for 10 minutes. It works!
3. Fat in, thin out
How you breathe makes a huge difference to the damage you cause your voice. The trick with breathing is to make your stomach looks as fat as possible ( quite easy for me) when you breathe in, and make it look as thin as possible ( quite tricky for me!) when you breathe out. “Fat in, Thin out” – right that’s my breathing exercises for the day!
4. Soundless Breathing
In your break time, try and breathe without making any sound. It’s designed to open up your throat and release stress in your vocal chords. This one is quite tricky!
5. My Top Tip: A really easy warm up
And finally, the tip I now use before every lesson to relax my voice and not lose it, is to do this simple voice exercise. If you only do one thing on the list, this will make the biggest difference. It’s for before class, but have a try now, you will be amazed how it changes and relaxes your throat!
I hope these help you out a touch, and of course consult your doctor if anything comes up. For a teacher our voice is the tool of our trade so it really is worth the effort in trying to protect it.
It’s also much better for the kids not having to listen to a creaky voice all day! 🙂
And please feel free to add your tips and tricks in the comments.
Now I’ve just got to make sure I practice what I preach next week!
P.S. A lot of people have also recommended to do exercise programmes and/or a singing course to really learn how to use your voice. I picked up the Brett Manning Singing Course a few years ago, it’s pretty good and maybe a nice item to put on your Christmas list? Or if you are wanting more exercise then I’d definitely recommend the Insanity Workout Programme – I’m just about to complete week 7!