Some say singing is an art and others feel singing is a skill, to be developed, learned and studied. Some feel being able to sing is a talent and one either has “IT” or does not. Regardless, singing is a wonderful gift and the singing voice is to be handled with care, in every sense of the word. It is to the singer's advantage to become informed about the entire process of singing. Whether a regular performer or leisure time singer, it is important to understand basic facts regarding the anatomy and physiology involved during speaking and singing. It is extremely important to develop a personalized warm-up routine to be utilized daily, not just before a performance. In addition, maintaining good vocal hygiene and healthy vocal habits is absolutely essential for the singer. These aspects are all part of voice therapy.
Sometimes a performer may develop vocal cord pathology, which may be vocal cord nodules, polyps, cysts or other related problems. The first step in managing a voice disorder is obtaining an accurate diagnosis. It is important to have a laryngeal examination by a LARYNGOLOGIST, a physician specializing in the voice and vocal health.
Once a diagnosis is made, voice therapy will often be recommended. For many conditions, voice therapy alone may be sufficient to remedy the problem since changing vocal habits and vocal cord usage may result in reduction and often elimination of the vocal cord pathology. In other cases, laryngeal surgery may be recommended and voice therapy is essential PRIOR to the surgery as well as FOLLOWING the surgery.
The purpose of voice therapy pre and post surgery is:
Voice therapy is designed to help the singer begin to vocalize properly once the physician has cleared the patient for vocalizing. We then carefully work though producing sound properly, vocalizing various words and phrases, resuming a natural speaking voice and eventually vocalizing into the singing voice. At that point careful attention is paid to healthy warming up and singing a simple, non-vocally demanding repertoire. Eventually the objective is to resume singing in a manner which is vocally healthy, easily supported and free from tension.
Daisy Torme is an accomplished singer, actress and voice over specialist. After being diagnosed with a vocal cord cyst several years ago, her physician prescribed voice therapy with the idea therapy alone might eliminate the need for surgery. Daisy was a fabulous patient, diligent and serious about the work. We were able to achieve success and her story is illustrative of the positive outcome often achieved with voice therapy.
As the daughter of jazz singer Mel Torme’and as a singer and busy voice-over actress myself, I was more than concerned and depressed when my vocal cords showed a cyst (like nodes, but worse). Terrified surgery could alter my voice which was my moneymaker, I went the route of speech therapy. It is wholly because of Julia Hobbs and our work together that I was able to avoid an operation altogether. I still have a thriving voice-over career and sing all the time! I have continued to study voice and incorporate the strategies I learned through my work with Julia into my daily voice warm-up as well as my singing and voice-over work.