World Voice Day
Celebrate World Voice Day – April 16th
The idea is to celebrate healthy voices and highlight the importance of the voice at work and in society and to share voice science, pedagogy and the vocal arts as an application of all the above mentioned areas with the public and with funding bodies by organising a global celebration of the World Voice Day on April 16 each year. It began in Brazil and then spread to the USA and all around the world.
Warm up exercises
A short vocal warm up improves the quality of the sounds you make and helps prevent vocal injury, keeping you in good voice and making your voice production feel better.
Some exercises to get you started:
Warm Up #1
Breath Relaxation: Releases tension often associated in the breathing mechanism that can interfere with effective voice production. Ordinarily, if there is tension when breathing, that tension radiates to the voice box muscles.
Take a normal breath and then exhale. Make sure your shoulders and chest are low and relaxed. Repeat many times making sure that your breaths are focused low in the abdomen and that there is not associated chest, neck, or shoulder tension while breathing. You can place one hand on your abdomen to remind you to keep the focus low and away from the chest and shoulders. Hold an “s” sound like in hiss when you exhale.
Warm Up #2
Jaw Release: Reduces tension in the mouth and jaw area during speaking and singing. Place the heels of each hand directly below the cheek bone. Pushing in and down from the cheeks to the jaw, massage the facial muscles. Allow your jaw to passively open as you move the hands down the face. Repeat several times.
Warm Up #3
Lip Trills: Release lip tension and connects breathing and speaking. Releases tension in the vocal folds. Place your lips loosely together release the air in a steady stream to create a trill or raspberry sound. First try it on an “h” sounds. Then repeat on a “b” sound. Hold the sound steady and keep the air moving past the lips. Next try to repeat the b-trill gliding gently up and down the scales. Don’t push beyond what it comfortable at the top or bottom of the scale.
Warm Up #4
Tongue Trill: Relaxes the tongue and engages breathing and voice. Place your tongue behind your upper teeth. Exhale and trill your tongue with a “r” sound. Hold the sound steady and keep the breath connected. Now try to vary the pitch up and down the scale while trilling. Again, don’t push beyond what is comfortable at the top or bottom of your scale.
Warm Up #5
Two Octave Scales: Provides maximum stretch on the vocal folds. Start in a low pitch and gently glide up the scale on a “me” sound. Don’t push the top or bottom of your range but do try to increase the range gently each time you do the scales. Now reverse and glide down the scale from the top to the bottom on an “e” sound. You can try this on the “oo” sound also.
Warm Up #6
Sirens/Kazoo Buzz: Improves the resonant focus of the sound and continues work with maximal stretch on the vocal folds. The mouth postures are easily made by pretending you are sucking in spaghetti with an inhalation. On exhalation make the “woo” sound. It will be a buzz like sound. Hold the sound steady for 2-3 attempts. Now use the woo sound to go up and down the scales.
Warm Up #7
Humming: Highlights anterior frontal vibrations in your lips, teeth and facial bones. Begin with lips gently closed with jaw released. Take an easy breath in and exhale while saying “hum”. Begin with the nasal sound /m/ and gently glide from a high to a low pitch as if you were sighing. Don’t forget your vocal cool down after extensive vocal use. Gently humming feeling the focus of the sound on the lips is an excellent way to cool down the voice. You should hum gentle glides on the sound “m” feeling a tickling vibration in the lip/nose are.
Warm Up #8
Cool Down: Don’t forget your vocal cool down after extensive vocal use. Gently humming feeling the focus of the sound on the lips is an excellent way to cool down the voice. You should hum gentle glides on the sound “m” feeling a tickling vibration in the lip/nose are.
Abnormal changes in the voice are called hoarseness. Hoarseness refers to a difficulty making sounds when trying to speak, although you may very well be hoarse without having a voice problem.
Thus the concept addresses how the voice sounds. Hoarseness is most often caused by a problem with the function of the vocal cords, which are part of your voice box (larynx) in the throat. When the vocal cords become inflamed or infected, they swell. This can cause hoarseness, as can local mucosal or muscular problems.
Dysphonia is a similar concept that rather refers to the actual production of sounds but is sometimes used by clinicians as a synonym to hoarseness. Some terms which may be used to describe a voice change are: breathy, harsh, tremulous, weak, reduced to a whisper, unstable (diplophonic or with frequent register breaks).
Vocal fatigue means that the voice tires abnormally easy which may lead to vocal discomfort and hoarseness.
Risk factors for voice problems
- Smoking (also the main risk factor for laryngeal carcinoma)
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Gastro-oesophageal reflux
- Professional voice use – eg, teachers, actors and singers
- Environment: poor acoustics, atmospheric irritants and low humidity
- Type 2 diabetes (neuropathy, poor glycaemic control).
Who can treat hoarseness?
Hoarseness due to a cold or flu may be evaluated by family physicians, pediatricians, and internists.
When hoarseness lasts longer than two weeks or has no obvious cause it should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist – head and neck surgeon (ENT, ear, nose and throat doctor), speech/language pathologists, and teachers of singing, acting, or public speaking.
Treatment of vocal disorders
The treatment of hoarseness depends on the cause. Most hoarseness can be treated by simply resting the voice or modifying how it is used. The otolaryngologist may make some recommendations about voice use behavior, refer the patient to other speech pathologists, and in some instances recommend surgery if a lesion, such as a polyp, is identified.
Avoidance of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke (passive smoking) is recommended to all patients. Drinking fluids and possibly using medications for reflux or to thin the mucus are also helpful.
Speech pathologists or voice therapists are trained to assist patients in behavior modification that may help eliminate some voice disorders. Patients who have developed bad habits, such as smoking or overuse of their voice by yelling and screaming, benefit most from this conservative approach.
The speech pathologist may teach patients to alter their method of speech production to improve the sound of the voice and to resolve the problems, such as vocal nodules. When a patients’ problem is specifically related to singing, a singing teacher may help improve the patients’ singing techniques.
Mission Statement and Background of World Voice Day
To share the Excitement of the Voice Phenomenon
with the Public, Scientists and Funding Bodies.
The voice is like a gem with facets reflecting multiple scientific disciplines and practical and artistic concerns. Both humans and animals depend heavily on vocal communication, so voice science incorporates physiology, biology and bioacoustics. The voice provides the main tool for both semantic and emotional communication, and is therefore relevant to auditory perception, psychology, neurology, cognition, linguistics and phonetics. It is a crucial tool not only in education but also in the daily work for about 30% of the entire working population. A functioning voice is highly significant to quality of life. The voice is a musical instrument in singing, making it a part of art and culture. Voice science has foundations in various branches of physics, particularly biophysics, aerodynamics, mechanics and acoustics. Voice pedagogy involves vocal development, and artistic expressions of speech and singing are integral to every relationship and culture in the world.
However, both the general public and professionals in many disciplines lack an understanding of the great significance of the voice. In particular, the true inter-disciplinary scope of voice science, pedagogy and art is inadequately recognized by funding bodies, and its potential in the public understanding of the voice disciplines and as an accessible topic for education in physics, mathematics and biology, as well as cultural and personal development remains under-utilized.
An Ad Hoc group has been formed, consisting of the following members: Mario Andrea, Michael Döllinger, Norma Enns, Tecumseh Fitch, Nathalie Henrich, Christian Herbst, Markus Hess, David Howard, Filipa Lã, Dirk Mürbe, Ken-Ichi Sakakibara, Ron Scherer, Johan Sundberg, Jan Svec, Sten Ternström, Ingo Titze, Graham Welch, and Joe Wolfe. The group met in Erlangen on July 4, 2012.
The mission of the group is to share the excitement of voice science, pedagogy and the vocal arts as an application of all the above mentioned areas with the public and with funding bodies by organizing a global celebration of the World Voice Day on April 16 each year, joining forces with existing groups that have the same goal. More specifically, the group will
- organise a global choral concert, internationally broadcasted in real time, going from country to country, starting in the far East and ending in the far West.
- arrange a global series of talks, internationally broadcasted in real time, as well as videotaped for internet distribution, about the many different facets of the voice.
- identify and ask one person, a “pivot”, in as many countries as possible, who assumes the responsibility to initiate and coordinate various events in that country, on the World Voice Day
- create a web page where all events are listed and that also contains information about voice and voice science, and interactive voice analysis programs.