A lot of people forget or don’t realise how challenging the process of voicing in the form of singing or speaking can be. It requires a sophisticated degree of muscular control to manage the set of movements in the larynx complex and ultimately bring the vocal folds together (fold adduction). All of this has to be coordinated with the exact amount of breath to produce the sound of just the right tone and volume.
As with all muscles, those involved in singing or speaking can be injured or fatigued, which can result in reduced performance and a range of symptoms.
These symptoms can be wide-ranging and include pain in the throat region, breathiness through your register, reduced vocal tone, limited range, fast to fatigue or increased warm-up time required, vocal breaks, headaches or jaw pain and feeling the need to swallow regularly. Some of the symptoms, if left unchecked, become clinical conditions such as muscle tension dysphonia or globus pharyngeus. Using the voice incorrectly can lead to nodules or even polyps on the vocal cords.
There are a range of factors that can result in the above symptoms, which we can manage to improve the symptoms and support your voice:
- Poor or altered posture: if performing this could be related to the stage or costume design
- Post viral upper respiratory tract infection: vocal symptoms can be a reaction to coughing or localised inflammation
- Uncontrolled reflux causing muscular guarding
- Poor exercise techniques
- Sustained periods of singing or talking
- Poor abdominal control for recruitment patterns
- Sustained periods of tension as a result of stress or anxiety
However, there are some conditions that manifest as disturbance of vocal quality and if there is any doubt you need to be reviewed by a GP.
This can all sound daunting, but through my experience of working with all types of vocal performers from the West End to Opera these muscular problems can be helped.
Following a comprehensive assessment, specific muscular treatment techniques can be used through a process known as laryngeal manual therapy. This is massage to certain muscle groups and a range of stretches that can help to improve and return laryngeal control and mobility and as such quickly resolving symptoms and improving performance.
Register interest now in the free workshop we will be running on 27th November 2018, or book an appointment to see me at Charles Roe House and find out how we can help your voice.