How to avoid damaging your voice…

I’m told pitch is everything when it comes to doing voice over work.  Chatting with a voice coach who explained in some detail how the voice box works it became apparent how in the past I probably out strain on my voice.

Image if you will a balloon and the rubber end where the air flows out.   You must have done the thing where you squeeze the rubber rim to get different sounds out of it.

This is a good way to think of how the vocal chords work.  As air passes through the balloon rubber vibrates and the pitch of the sound from the balloon changes as you tighten or loosen the rim.

Your vocal chords are similar, tighten your chords and you can get a high pitch, relax and you get a lower tone.

The damage comes from the extra tension in the throat muscles because of the stress you create around the vocal chords.

To find your ideal pitch and where your voice is at its strongest you can perform a neat little trick.  Try to create the following sound, as if you are answering in agreement in a conversation, ‘um-hmm’.  Do this several times and then try saying the word ‘one’.  If you alternate with the ‘um-hmm’ practice you’ll eventually find your ideal pitch.

Another interesting point I learned from the voice coach is that as you get older your vocal chords lose their elasticity and can’t vibrate at the same speed, in fact the vocal chords allow a greater amount of air through as you get older, which explains why some perfectly healthy octogenarians can seemingly run out of breath when speaking in a way that appears to be perfectly normal.

I’m off for a bit of ‘um-hmm’.

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