Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Suspect Vocal Damage? Vital Tips

This morning I got a call from a friend who is singing background vocals touring with a major recording artist. She casually mentioned that she suspected she had a blister on her vocal cords. I gave her some advice that I will pass on to you here:

First and formost, if you think you have vocal damage, make a doctor's appointment at a voice clinic. Here in Nashville, we have the Vanderbilt Voice Center available. At the very least, consult a vocal coach who knows how to assess your voice.

Ok, that said, here are some things you need to do if you suspect vocal damage of any kind:

1. Honor the first rule of holes: If you're in one, stop digging! If you have swollen or damaged vocal cords, stop using your voice!

Voice rest is the best thing you can do for a compromised voice. Don't say a single word that is not absolutely necessary for you to utter. I like what Vandy Voice Clinic told one of my clients... spend your speaking voice like money... and I would say like large bills. If you have the option of taking a quiet day and writing instead of talking to communicate, do so.


2. Hydrate! 

Wounded vocal cords desperately need moisture. Drink water throughout the day. Drink diluted pineapple juice to soothe your throat if you have to use your voice. Steam also can hydrate from the outside... a hot shower or humidifier or even a pan of hot water you put your head over and inhale will work.

3. Take the pressure off your voice!

Back off the amount of push you are applying to your poor vocal cords. You must balance breath support (air coming at your cords) with breath control (air being withheld from your cords) and use compression breath instead of air force gale! Learn the fine art of pulling instead of pushing your voice (taught in Power, Path and Performance vocal training). Here's a good imagery... imagine that you don't want to leave a breath mark on a glass plane right in front of your mouth. Also... rock teacher Jamie Vendera calls it the "inhalation sensation". You are of course exhaling when you make a vocal sound, but if you do it right you will almost feel like you're inhaling.

OK, this should help you. But as I said in the beginning, if you suspect real vocal damage, consult a doctor who deals with singers.

Take care of your cords... they are very small and the only ones you will ever have.

Any questions? I'll be happy to answer.

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