As teachers we spend most of our day talking (or at least I do). If we’re not careful we can seriously damage one of our most important tools. I’ve been battling a cold for the last 2 weeks and I have noticed that halfway through my day I have been starting to have a very sore and dry throat. I can only imagine that after a full day, even being completely healthy, that my voice would hurt a little. I would also like to think that I have pretty good vocal health considering that I have a degree in Music with a major in voice. So here is a handy list for you to keep in mind while you’re in your classroom.
What can we do to help our voices?
- Turn the TV or radio down – instead of talking over the top of them.
- Give up smoking – This is the best thing you could do for yourself vocally (and health wise).
- Drink lots of water – especially when talking or singing. Try to consume 7-9 glasses a day. Teachers should have a bottle of water in class with them (I drink 1 cup of coffee and/or tea in the morning and drink a full water bottle in the afternoon).
- Take fresh air breaks – especially in smoky or noxious environments (or when you’re in a classroom with no windows, like many of us are)!
- Warm up! – Before your first lesson of the day, or even at the beginning of the day, find 10-20 minutes to vocalize/talk. This will prepare your voice for talking during lessons.
- Rest your voice – especially after lots of singing or talking.
- Pace your voice – don’t use it too much, too often. Have rest breaks in between periods of use (vary your activities).
- Find alternatives to modeling – Play a recording of a famous singer singing their piece, explain what you are looking for musically in a particular phrase, or conduct the student as they sing. Remember, you don’t have to model for every student every day (This is directed to music instructors, mainly).
- Try whistling instead – there are many ways other than yelling to let your class know of your support, also consider using instruments or a different sound cue to get attention.
- Swallow – instead of clearing the throat or coughing all the time, try swallowing, it reduces the abrasion.
- Avoid too much stress – this goes without saying! Stay relaxed and your voice will thank you.
- Don’t whisper – keep whispering to a minimum as it is quick to cause vocal fatigue. I am terrible at this one.
- Good posture – an upright, balanced posture is very helpful in reducing stress on the body and promoting optimum vocal tone.
- Avoid drying out medications – like certain allergy medications, antihistamines, etc.
Borrowed from: Vocal Health for Voice Teacher