Make Your New Year’s Voice Resolutions!

by Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D. on January 5, 2016

calendarIt’s the first of the year again…time to make resolutions that we seldom keep.  My hope is that you will keep the three that I’m recommending.  If you are making money with your voice, these resolutions might just mean you’ll be employed longer.  Your throat will thank you as well as  your wallet!

1)  Resolve to do some vocal warm-ups before you begin voicing a script.  These take only a few seconds, but they can make the difference between a good read and a great read.  Nothing kills a great read like poor articulation.  There are many exercises you can do.  I like to prescribe some stretching exercises and some precision exercises.  Stretching might be repeating the phrase, “You see Oz,” exaggerating the mouth position for each vowel.  For precision, repeat phrases with lots of plosive sounds like t’s and d’s.  Try the phrase, “The fat lazy cat.”  Repeat this, exploding the t’s.  For more articulation exercises, check out this post of mine.

2)  Resolve to drink lots of water. If you watched my video on vocal health, you heard me talking about the benefits of staying hydrated.  Water (or decaffeinated, non alcoholic fluids) keeps the cells in our throats plump and healthy, and it helps the mucous in our throats stay at the consistency that is right for protecting the delicate vocal fold tissue.  Want to know how much to drink?  Click here for that info.

3)  Resolve to keep your volume down. Not many of us think about how delicate the vocal folds (cords) are in our throats.  I think about it all the time because I know what can happen from simple things we do in our life like yelling at a football game or raising our volume to talk over a band in a club.  Even talking loudly in a noisy restaurant can cause damage to our throats.  One of the things that can happen very easily is the formation of a polyp on the vocal fold.  Polyps can be caused by a small blood vessel breaking from the force of loud speech.  This creates a host of problems you don’t want to have, so avoid them by not raising your volume.

You don’t see concert pianists hitting their hands with hammers when they’re not performing do you?  Loud speech, or really any of the three issues this blog has presented, are the equivalent of doing just that to your throat.  Make 2016 the year you resolve to do something healthy for your throat.

Want to learn more about having a healthy voice?  Ck out the new, fifth edition of my book, BROADCAST VOICE HANDBOOK, for 390 pages of great info!

 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

J. Christopher Dunn January 22, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Thanks for the vocal health reminders. Easy to remember and helpful to do.

Warm herbal tea right after lunch seems to help me get through the afternoon. I’ve got a few favorites; Bengal Spice is number one with a bullet followed closely by a few blends that have licorice or anise. I’m amazed what a difference it makes.

Chris

Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D. January 27, 2016 at 1:35 pm

Thanks for the tea suggestions, Christopher! Herbal teas are great for the throat. Keep it up!

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