We talk about vocal health a lot, but what does that mean, exactly?
Since the vocal instrument is the body, vocal health in large part addresses physical health.
Is a singer getting proper amounts of . . .
- Peace of mind?
- Medical attention?
Think basics of decent physical health, and you can deduce much of what you need for “vocal” health as well. For example, fatigue or lack of sleep is a huge factor in vocal function.
Didn’t sleep last night?
The voice may fatigue more quickly than usual, and tonight’s gig might not feel as easy to sing.
To me, vocal health also encompasses how the voice is engaged or exercised, and special considerations for singers based on how the voice functions. This “vocal health” topic is endless, so please use the following ideas as a jumping off place to do more research for yourself.
1. The Vocal Folds and Anything You Inhale
The vocal folds, or vocal cords, sit on top of the trachea acting as a cap to the airway down below.
It doesn’t have to be like this. Your voice CAN feel better.
That could be the end of this post. Just a short little love note.
But, this love letter deserves some explanation. You see, there is this idea out there that (often) nothing can be done to improve a voice.
I’m here to help dispel that myth and share some resources on getting help if you need it.
Over and over I have heard singers say things like, “this is just how my voice is going to be” and I’ll say it again . . . it doesn’t have to be this way!
There are things you can do to strengthen, tone, and coordinate your vocal mechanism in exactly the same way you would train other parts of your body.
Chances are your voice will do more than you think it can, and with some foundational technique work, will give your more than you expect.
I recently found a style of yoga that has helped me on a fundamental level. It is called Svaroopa Yoga, and it focuses on releasing the spine from the bottom up. One of the teacher trainers on the Svaroopa site says, “beginning Svaroopa® Yoga created a ‘revolution’ inside her, in which ‘everything shifted into its right place and it was like coming home to my Self.'” (Revolution, baby.) The first poses they teach are called “The Magic 4.” After doing these 4 exercises for a week, my lower back felt better than it had . . . maybe ever. And within 4 weeks my upper spine had straightened out so that my shoulder blades were closer together and almost in their rightful places.
Magic? No, better than that. Logical + magical = L’magical. French, I believe.
So, why post about l’magical yoga and risk sounding like an infomercial? Because this brand of yoga mirrors what I value in good voice training: getting to the functional issues instead of treating the symptoms.