⛓ Vocal Fatigue - Why Rest is Best 🏩
Your voice needs nurturing as much as your feet and limbs. Have you ever felt like you need to sit down and rest your feet after a 10 mile walk? Well, even if your throat doesn’t feel achy or in pain most muscles need the same care and attention when overused…
Whenever you sing, your vocal cords are subject to muscle tension as well as air pressure. They have to withstand the breath that you apply on them to make them vibrate and produce a sound. Whilst singing and talking, the surfaces of your vocal cords vibrate against each other 100 to 1,000 times per second. With that in mind, considering how much we use our voice, that is pretty good work!
Day to day we spend our time talking, talking loudly, whispering (try to avoid this) and laughing.
Specific job roles such as teachers, singers, and call centre employees definitely have heavy vocal demands.
Often as a teacher I feel vocal fatigue after a full day of teaching when both singing and speaking with energy.
This can vary on days when teaching more children than adults. Some days can be more tiring than others depending on my surroundings, the weather and of course my health.
The importance of Vocal rest is that it gives your delicate vocal cords time to regenerate and heal. Even the most talented, best-trained voices need rest as part of general preventative care. Your voice will stay healthier when allowed opportunities to recover, rehydrate, and relax.
For me, it is a time to get inspired by new music and training my ears.
Often as singers, stylistic awareness may get drowned out as a result of ourselves concentrating too much on singing along to the music.
So instead, I choose to tap in and listen deeper into the music and identify the different instruments, the backing vocals, the rhythm, the bass and the different samples or sounds that are added.
While in rest mode, it is better to simply imagine the pitch and melody we would normally sing and concentrate on the foundation of music that is supporting us.
Resting before exams, auditions, shows or any major event 🤚🏽 Why?
Well, practicing frantically before a big event or audition is definitely a no no! The last thing you want, is to get to a point you feel great then on the big day ..you have no voice!
If you need to practise more, I would also recommend less tiresome exercises on the cords. One would be, “humm”-ing the song you are learning instead of singing it. This puts less pressure and energy on the cords and you are benefitting from still practising!
Try to break up your practicing into sections of say 4 x 15 minutes throughout the day. This way it gives you time to rest in-between being vocal.
Here is a super great exercise for relaxing throat tension;
The secret is Yawning! … and it feels good!! Try this;
1 ▸ Put your finger on your throat at the top of your larynx and swallow.
(Notice the upward motion of the larynx).
2 ▸ Now keeping your finger at the top of your larynx, relax and begin a yawn.
(Notice the downward motion of the larynx. This motion opens the throat and releases tension).
3 ▸ Yawn again at the back of your throat without opening your mouth fully. Repeat a few times letting the throat muscles slip downward as you begin to yawn.
4 ▸ Repeat the yawn and then exhale by sighing “ah” starting at a comfortably high note in your range and float downward – sounding like a sigh.
This is called a “yawn/sigh” and a great way to warm up.
Note: It is the sensation that occurs at the beginning of a yawn that releases tension in the throat. Practice releasing tension in your throat with this yawn/sigh motion several times to release throat tension.
Other ways to decrease tension in the throat include getting a massage that focuses on your neck and throat muscles, energy work on the chakras, doing yoga to decrease overall tension, and daily neck and shoulder stretches.
Tension in your voice can result from stress or the inability to “speak up” for what you want or need. Psychological tension can result in physical constriction and tension in this area. Talking and expressing with a trusted friend or therapist can be helpful.
So, when you are feeling tired, remember to give your voice some care and healing, it will be worth it 🗣✨
– 13th June 2020