Let's clear up a few things, why don't we. The speaking and singing voices are not two separate instruments!! We do not possess two sets of true vocal folds with one controlling talking and the other singing. The vocal folds, or cords, function to form speech AND sung sounds. They are one!! Singing differs from speech in that pitches are created over a wider range of notes and tones are held out for a longer duration.
Because speaking and singing come form the same source, it is important to know how much influence they have on one another. Particularly, the way we speak can have a huge impact on the quality of our singing. It is quite common to find that a singer's issues with the a run-down voice come from their speech habits. We generally will do more talking than singing on a given day, so we must be careful to monitor how we handle speaking chores.
Here are some helpful hints for healthy daily vocal use:
- Don't speak on pitches too low for your voice. Men tend to be big offenders here, but women have the issue as well. This habit tires the voice out quickly. If you were to say "mm-hmm", you should get a sense for where you average spoken pitch should be.
- Breathe!!! Too many people actually hold their breath as they speak. This will fatigue the voice and cause excess tension in the larynx. Remember, it takes a steady stream of air to the vocal folds to create a healthy sound!
- Don't scream!! As a school teacher, I know first hand the tiring effects of this habit!! The cords will get slammed together and will likely swell as a result.
- Stay hydrated. The vocal fold shave to be well lubricated to function at their best. Dry cords can become irritated easily and are more susceptible to injury. Drink plenty of water during the course of the day.
If you are a professional speaker, you may find that vocal training will reap the great benefits for your voice even if you're not a singer. The techniques taught at Harville Vocal Studio serve to develop healthy vocal function, for singing or speaking.