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. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

New Year's Resolutions For Your Voice - What, Why, How to Make Them Real

How true it is!

The idea of making New Year's Resolutions is a strange tradition that mostly becomes a to-do list that doesn't get done. Michael Hyatt suggests if we turn the idea of a resolution into a goal we are much more likely to act on it. I'd go farther and say every goal needs a plan. So as we pause here between the old and new year, I suggest you make a plan to turn some resolution(s) and goal(s) into reality for your voice:

Find It

Finding your voice includes exploring both nature and nurture... also known as hereditary and environmental factors. Both physically and psychologically, you can resolve to explore your vocal territory. Most people have more range and resonance than they know. And, most people have deep waters of life experiences, spiritual connection and world view they have not consciously explored and possibly even reformed. Who are you and what do you know that could make the world a better place? It's time to choose or create songs that deliver the messages you want to speak or sing, with your own full voice. 

Heal It

Almost all vocal damage can be reversed by taking enough time for voice rest and then diagnosing and addressing the cause of the damage or strain. Quite often, bad vocal techniques need to be re-training to get excessive air pressure and tightness off the vocal apparatus. Sometimes it's the speaking voice that is straining or damaging the singing voice. Sometimes it's acid reflux requiring dietary changes and possibly medication. Sometimes it's psychological issues creating a whole-body tension and guarding behavior that sabotages breath control. And sometimes it's some other physical disease or condition. Change your diet or other habits, get yourself healthy, or to the doc or the coach. Whatever it is... it's time to figure it out and then do something about it!

Improve It

Everyone, as long as they have breath, including yours truly, can learn something new. If you know you have chronic vocal issues or limitations, there truly are keys to help you to break through those seemingly solid walls. If you stopped using your voice for some reason, it's time to get it back, and then some.  If you are currently singing or speaking consistently, it's time to get curious about just how far you can go to gain more vocal ability and less vocal fatigue. 

Protect It

OK this is your vocal coach mama speaking... no more gambling with those tiny 1/2 to 3/4 inch vocal cords! No more yelling, screaming, pushing or straining; no more not drinking enough water! Resolve to make it a solid goal to warm your voice up before performance! (Of course, it should go without saying that you actually know HOW to do those exercises. If you don't, just sing a light melody instead of doing vocal tighten-ups!) Also, do all the other things that help keep your voice healthy. The awesome bonus is that the same things will make your whole body and spirit healthier, too!

Use It

The last goal resolution I'd like to suggest is that you actually use your voice. Haven't sung in a while? Maybe start in the shower, the kitchen while you're cooking, serenade your baby or your puppy dog. Go join a choir, participate in karaoke events. Don't let fear stop you. Were you really good back when? Has it been a long time since you sang full voice? Resolve to work it back - and have confidence that you can indeed meet your goal. Even in the pandemic era we face currently, make another intention to look for places to sing, and sing everywhere you (safely) can! What about your speaking voice? What do you need to say that you have stuffed for too long? Have you ever thought about having or re-starting a speaking or voice-over career? The world needs your wisdom, your view, your understanding, and your vocal connection. Use it or lose it. It's time. 

So what's stopping you? 

  • Time? You are in charge of your time allocation. Accept responsibility to do so. 
  • Finances? You are reading this blog at no cost, aren't you? There are economical ways to train your voice, including CD courses such as I have available on my site. You don't have to take 10 vocal lessons to get better... even one should move you to your goals. 
  • Fear? Don't let being afraid, timid or stuck be your payoff for not putting forth the effort. Trade fear for persistence, patience, and don't expect others to do it for you. This is your life!
  • Lack of knowledge? Whether it's career success, places to use your voice, or finding out who is trust-able and can help you, just resolve not to be lazy... because the information is out there! Choose to reach out, brainstorm with others, use internet search engines, study music business books, enroll in workshops and training programs. 
I'd love to hear from you: What goal(s) will you choose to reach for next year? If you need help, let me know. Thank you for being part of my village; Happy New Year from All Things Vocal!

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  • At February 21, 2016 at 5:50 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    I have been diagnosed with vocal inflamation and very small ulcers on my vocal cords following a bad head virus and cough and laryngitis. I was told to treat with voice rest, Zantac. This is the 4th time in 23 years that I got this. The last 3 times I went to a speech therapist to teach me voice techniques to speak in my head so the strain is off my vocal cords. It usually takes a few weeks to get my voice back without hurting. I am a psychotherapist, so I need to be able to speak. Do you feel that t am abusing my voice causing this problem or just do to viruses every 5 to 10 years. It is very debilitating and isolating. I would like to avoid ever happening again.

  • At February 21, 2016 at 9:41 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Dear Beverly, if it's taking a few weeks for your voice not to HURT when you use it, I really do think that you must be normally letting too much air pressure work your vocal cords. The method I use for creating much more efficiency in breath management for sounding the voice has been remarkably helpful for people with such issues as Muscle Tension Dysphonia, scar tissue, polyps, nodes, partial cord paralysis and even in a couple of people with Spasmodic Dysphonia (which is neurological in cause so breath pressure management does not cure, only helps with symptoms). I can't promise cures, I am not a doctor. But my PPP method of minimizing the air pressure used at the vocal cords and stretching the scaffolding for the larynx and diaphragm does seem to help every case I come across. If you'd like a lesson, let me know. Meanwhile, check out the following video for the speaking voice... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkdJqnKGT4I


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