The Daily Muse
Welcome to the Daily Muse feature of Music Makes Sense! This daily update brings you up to the minute news about music and music therapy as it relates to our professions, events and individual lives. You can follow the daily entries by subscribing to Music Makes Sense on Twitter or by "Liking" the Facebook page for Music Makes Sense. Enjoy, and thanks for reading!
As a singer, I feel for Adele and her need for throat surgery. The news story indicates that she has vocal fold hemorrhaging. It doesn't sound like a pretty condition, but apparently it is correctable. I can't help but think, however, that Adele should be a little more careful with her million dollar voice! People around the world love her unique vocal tone and singing style, but it is definitely rough on the voice! I am sure that her smoking habit also adds to the husky quality of her voice, but I can't see how this is helping her vocal health. I have a hard enough time without smoking to stay healthy and take care of my voice!
Music therapists usually maintain demanding schedule for their voices, often seeing clients in 7-8 sessions per day. When I found myself in this situation week after week, I developed some strategies that helped my voice stay healthier:
1. Lots of water! This is not a secret, but easy to forget when you are on the go. One of those camel packs would not be a bad idea not that I think back on my work as a music therapist in the schools!
2. Lose the pick! Most of the time, I play the guitar without a pick. Using a pick make the guitar too loud for me to sing over unless I have a mic and am in front of a larger group.
3. Straighten up! Your back that is! Posture can be a huge problem when you are constantly leaning or hanging over the guitar on your lap all day. It is also difficult with the variety of seating and standing positions you might find yourself in while seeing clients. One thing that I did to help maintain posture was to alternate or vary my activities so that I was not always using the guitar. Drums, body percussion and sometimes even recorded music can help get your hands free and provide a time to stretch and move around.
4. Breathe! Fatigue is a major enemy of good breath support. Not only does good posture start to fade away as the day goes on, but you may notice yourself using more shallow breathing. Good breath support will help reduce strain on the vocal chords. I programmed my phone alarm to go off at times during the day just to remind myself to breathe correctly. If you have time in between sessions you can also meditate and do some deep breathing exercises that may help.
Thanks to Adele for reminding us to take care of our voices. I think we all wish her the best in regaining and improving her vocal health!