The Truth About Voice Coaches
I’m just going to say it!!
Voice coaches, singing teachers, and speaking coaches who don’t have any background or formal training in voice anatomy, function, accurate voice health, vocal injuries and rehabilitation (voice pathology) or specialized treatment are not qualified to be providing or promoting services that claim to heal, rehabilitate or mitigate voice changes.
I believe we are powerful beyond our understanding and have innate energetic healing abilities. AND I believe in science, training and clinical experience, plus the crucial need for assessments that actually allow for proper visual screenings of voice quality, function and potential risk factors for injury.
Prevention and proactive voice exploration to feel more confident with your voice and speaking is one thing. Voice injury, disorders and chronic symptoms that go unchecked is another. Today, I am talking about the latter. Especially because I continue to see far too many people cross the line and lower the standard. A website, of someone who teaches musical instruments and sound healing, indicates they will help voices improve from illness & stress, including voice loss. There is no indication of any certified voice experience or specialized training.
This is just one of many instances of I have seen over the years, from vocal coaches, speaker-stage trainers, singing teachers to the random YouTuber who took 3 voice lessons and considers themselves an expert doling out (sometimes harmful) advice. And yet, they are providing services to people who have weak, scratchy or fatigued voices. This is unacceptable.
I have encountered a few vocal coaches who are targeting certain populations of people with diagnosed voice disorders and yet, even when we have a 1:1 conversation about the questionable ethics & concerns, they dismiss it. Instead of referring a person to a certified Speech & Voice Pathologist, these voice coaches, singing teachers and musicians claim they can cure them. There could be a myriad of reasons why those symptoms exist and it is irresponsible to proceed without first understanding if an underlying structural or mechanical issue exists. There are still so many vocal myths and incorrect anecdotes that abound. The standard has to be higher!
During my 13+ years in clinical voice specialization, person after person came in for evaluation saying things like:
These things made them worse, not better. When asked if they were ever advised to get the voice changes evaluated by an ENT/Laryngologist, Specialist Speech-Voice Pathologist or at minimum to tell their physician, the resounding reply was “No.”
For months longer than was necessary, they struggled with their voice, which ultimately disrupted their communication, connection with others and in frequent cases, negatively impacted their livelihood. High-risk populations include: teachers/educators, nurses, coaches, public speakers, preachers, lawyers, realtors, customer service representatives, executives, podcasters, voice-over artists, etc.
Many of these folks have underlying changes to their voice structure and vocal fold tissue that require a specialized plan of care.
Most people don't realize the importance of this issue until it's too late. That's why I will continue to educate and shift the narrative.
What would you do if you didn't have a voice?
Proactively care for your voice, the way you do the rest of your body. Be your best advocate for higher quality and verified services.
OR if you have started to notice weakness, tension, hoarseness, change in pitch or volume, pain, etc., that has persisted longer than 2 weeks, I strongly encourage you to do your due diligence and properly review who you are considering working with before jumping in. It could save you months of little to no progress,
If you or someone you know is struggling with voice changes, I am happy to chat and provide complimentary guidance via:
*Voice Screenings (short and simple, I ask some questions about voice use, have you do a few vocalizing tasks and listen for certain characteristics)
*Advocacy Prep: Review important questions you can ask providers or coaches (as you are your best advocate!), and ensure you have more clarity to make a fully informed decision.
**If you desire a more in-depth, customized review of your voice, it's strengths and areas to focus on so that you harness your instrument to speak with ease and power, then consider a Voice Review: Explore Strengths of Your Voice to Elevate Your Communication, currently offered through the platform Vibly
🗣️Are you ready to level-up your vocal health? Grab your FREE copy of my Exclusive Guide To Optimizing Your Vocal Power & join the Empower Your Voice Community for insightful stories, voice tips, and more, right to your inbox
This audio is me in real-time in May 2022 with acute (means 2-4 weeks versus chronic which is 4+ weeks) laryngitis.
Laryngitis means edema of the larynx. More specifically, edema (swelling/inflammation) of the vocal folds. While surrounding structures and tissues can also be swollen and subsequently soothed, today will focus on the vocal folds.
Recently, my beloved virtual assistant Elzeth (the wonderful human behind the scenes who helps much of this content reach all of you!) also had a bout of laryngitis, and she took herself through the triage tips.
She shared a bit about her experience with me: “These tips really helped with my recent bout of laryngitis.
I kept working through these great triage tips and my voice bounced back so much quicker than it usually does when I have a bout of laryngitis.
The best takeaway from these tips for me is definitely took look after yourself. Self-care is super important. Take time to rest up, the world won't end without you Be kind to yourself, and work through these life-changing tips. Take care of yourself and the rest will follow.
Brienne is truly such a beautiful, warm soul, an inspiration, and absolutely amazing at what she does. If it wasn't for her patience, guidance, and love for what she does, my voice would've taken much longer to heal. Thanks to her, my voice healed beautifully.
If you are a vocal athlete who would like to step into your authentic and true self, prioritize vocal care and so much more, I highly recommend working with Brienne, she is truly a gem! "
For those of you who played with your voice using the Humming to Heal exercise, you’ll appreciate that I am doing that exercise when my voice is clear and functioning well. That is so you could hear the extent of what’s possible.
Bonus tip: Even when not experiencing acute voice difficulty, that humming exercise can be a simple and effective way to start and end your day! It is a way to gently warm up your voice, and, re-set it after lots of talking.
Now, for this current audio example and exercise, it is meant to help you navigate during the difficult voice times with more deliberate awareness of where your voice could have moments of improvement.
If you use it when your voice is feeling well, it can help you further hone the ‘sweet spots’ where your voice naturally resonates and feels vibrant and easy!
Caveat: There is no ‘quick fix’ in life. Nor in voice. Wellness for our mind, body, and spirit means becoming aware of our desires, making choices, and deciding what serves us and what we need to release. Releasing the limiting belief of ‘quick fix’ means that you open up a new realm of expanding your wellness in ways that perhaps weren’t otherwise obvious to you. Voice is a conduit to the mind-body connection, and the more you learn about what your voice is capable of, the more you are able to adjust and lean into the infinite evolution, rather than in a finite box of ‘quick, one & done, never think of it again.’ I don’t know about you, but I love living a life of expansion that feels delightful, delicious, and worthwhile!
Remember, grace and kindness to yourself as you play with these exercises!
Voice Activator. Lover of the Larynx and Lake Life. On a mission to elevate women's self-worth & wellness via their voice. Delightful daughter, 1 MiniSchnauzer, and occasionally dabbles in professional voice-over (Me, not the dog). Always reminding you that You and Your Voice Are Worthy!