Vocal Chord Fatigue
June 5, 2014 at 11:09 pm #37613
I am currently at the end of my second year in general music teaching and have experienced extreme voice fatigue. I was wondering what other general music teachers have done to help this. I have read about warming up, warming down, resting (not possible with my teaching schedule) and have incorporated as much as possible, however with no respite. My principal has said “NO” to a microphone (I do not have a stereo system in my room – the quote I was told was $900 for a stereo and microphone). Because of a significant lack of instruments, sometimes it is necessary for me to sing the same song for 20 minutes so each student can get their 30 seconds of each class period to play. (seriously). I will look in to making vocal loops to coincide with the curriculum. I am looking for other sources to fund a stereo and microphone, because I have talked with other music teachers, and they have told me that significantly alleviates vocal fatigue. The health & fitness teacher at my school was also told “NO” to the microphone, even though he already has a stereo system (therefore the cost was significantly lower). I am afraid my second career will be short-lived because I am not willing to sacrifice my voice. Any advice or input?June 6, 2014 at 6:50 am #37614
I purchased my own cordless mic set. It’s a Nady WA-120—not real expensive, but it works well and has helped me vocally. I actually have 2 sets, 1 for each of my schools. There are other systems out there, too. Good luck—-it’s worth the personal investment and you can deduct the cost on your taxes.June 18, 2014 at 10:00 pm #37801
Try to take it easy (haha) and use alternate means of communicating instead of your voice. Use clapping or instruments to get the kids quiet; other students to model what sound I’m looking for when singing, and such.
Think about breathing correctly and projecting your voice. With my choir I do warm up exercises and occasionally I am surprised at how good that feels. That feeling reminded me that during classes I forget to breathe deeply and focus my sound. Vocal warm ups at the start of the day are a good idea (though I’ll be honest, I’ve never done that).
Another thing I use is herbal tea. Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat tea is all natural. Caffeine can irritate your throat (and milk products are not good for vocal health, either). Make sure you’re steering clear of soda while teaching, or it could further irritate your vocal cords. Stick to water (I put a little juice in my water for flavor; lemon juice is best, but anything helps) while teaching.
Another thing I aim to do when I feel my voice getting tired is pop a cough drop. This is another laughable idea, since teachers talk soo much, but in my first few years teaching taking a cough drop during classes reminded me to talk less (the idea of students will learn more from each other if we simply guide them). And sucking on something calmed me down when I was getting on edge over behavior (it took a few years to acclimate to the inner-city!). I still keep a supply of cough drops in my work bag. I use them mostly in the winter time when the air is very dry. During staff meetings I pop one or two in place of drinking water! At the end of the day, vocal rest is an important factor to vocal health. Providing you don’t have a big rehearsal or performance, take a “mental health” day when you feel your voice strength waning. So long as you don’t abuse your days off, this is perfectly reasonable.
Surviving without amplification is definitely possible. Good luck!
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