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Voice Therapy Techniques for Speaking and Singing

voice therapy techniquesOur singing student April Lindevald, a classically-trained mezzo-soprano, has been a professional singer for 35 years, and has always had a strong healthy reliable voice with excellent vocal stamina. April has a very successful career that has included appearances with the New York City Opera, the Gregg Smith Singers, and many other musical institutions, as well as singing regularly in a church with a large music program. She has also been a synagogue and concert soloist at countless venues. April is a singer/songwriter and guitarist with a CD of original compositions, entitled “Fish Out of Wizard School.” She recently released her first fantasy novel, The Last Wizard of Eneri Clare, which received rave reviews on Amazon and Kirkus Reviews. (http://aprillindevald.com). This creative and talented lady is also a spiritual seeker and teacher, who uses tarot cards, crystals, and intuition to counsel clients in need of direction or encouragement. She seeks to help them deal with their challenges from a confident, empowered place.

By now, you’ve probably noticed that all of April’s varied pursuits have a common theme: they’re all vocally demanding! Singing for hours on end in rehearsals and performances can be a strenuous workout for the voice. But make no mistake: it is quite a challenge to speak at book-signing events (and there have been many for April), often without a microphone, at large active book stores. Not to mention the trials and tribulations of speaking at length during tarot readings, over the general hubbub of a restaurant, party venue, or street festival. Any one of these activities could present huge vocal challenges; April often did all of them in the space of one week!

About 4-5 years ago, April found that her voice was beginning to give her some issues. She found that it didn’t last as long, she was experiencing clogging from mucus in her throat, as well as throat dryness, and her voice didn’t seem to be there when she needed it. She actually began to think that her career was coming to an end. And then she came to Professional Voice Care Center.

April found that with the use of targeted exercises that helped her to deactivate maladaptive compensatory muscular activity, while readjusting her voice placement, she could put less pressure on the delicate vocal apparatus.  She reports that her voice got better and better! She regained a dependable well-functioning voice that’s “there when she needs it.” She’s even gained a few more absolutely beautiful notes at the top of her range, and now functions very well as a high mezzo.

As far as her speaking voice is concerned, April has now learned to use her therapeutic vocal warm-up exercises before her book-signing and tarot-reading events (let’s hear it for dashing into a restroom to warm up our voices!). She now finds that her voice gets through these events with flying colors. Everyone hears her “clear as day” and she does not experience any vocal fatigue when the events are over.  In her own words, “These things work!”

We invite you to watch the video below to see an excellent demonstration by April Lindevald of two of our most effective vocal exercises. The exercises, the Gargle Exercise and the Humming Exercise (with a new twist), are examples of Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract Exercises, or SOVT for short. (See our previous blog entitled “Get the Buzz” for an in-depth explanation of SOVT Exercises). These vocal techniques create a relaxed vocal instrument, a rich resonant “buzzy” sound, and even help to encourage consistent breath support. As April demonstrates, after she did the Gargle Exercise, her speaking voice was obviously clearer and more resonant. She has found this exercise helps keep her tongue forward and relaxed. The Humming Exercise helped her to place her voice forward in the mask (the area around the mouth and nose where a doctor’s mask would cover), thus amplifying her voice effortlessly. She felt this as a shift to a less stressful, more projected place, with a lot of vibration in the face, like a buzz.

After you watch the video, feel free to try the exercises on your own. We’d love to hear your comments below or send questions privately from this page: http://provoicecare.net/contact. Or, email us at office@provoicecare.net. Happy Buzzing!!

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