I have heard it said that the three types of teachers who most often have vocal issues are PE teachers, foreign language teachers and music teachers. Many of you know how it feels when you start back to school and you experience vocal fatigue. You will very likely continue to do damage to your voice over the years of your teaching if you’re not careful.
Dos and Don’ts
- speak at your own pitch
- support speaking voice
- avoid dairy products prior to performance
- humidify bedroom during winter months
- avoid places with bad air
- drink lots of water “Pee Pale, Sing Clear” – yellow means dehydrated
- rest, no stress, be happy, laugh a lot
- 20-minute vocal rest periodically
- drink coffee or alcohol before a performance
- drink many caffeinated drinks
- scream at sporting events or talk at noisy places
- phonate a sneeze or yawn
- cough or clear your throat repeatedly
- whisper loudly or for a long time
- try to talk over a cold or laryngitis
- sing outside, or if it hurts to swallow, or “over sing”
Other things I have done to help me:
- Stop singing along with the students all of the time.
- Sing directions instead of talking.
- Vocal rest during my lunch hour. Even 20 minutes of no speaking can go a long way.
- Support my breath not only when I sing, but also when I talk. Even a quick vocal warm-up on the drive to school can help.
- Not over-speaking while teaching. During a time in my life when my voice always seemed strained, I invested in a Chattervox. I used it for about 3-4 years until I got so used to talking at a normal volume that when I stopped using it, I was better at not over-speaking while teaching. I am absolutely convinced that had I not started using my Chattervox, I would have suffered from nodules. (Read more here about nodules.)