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please help me with my voice  (Read 10696 times)
« on: March 24, 2012, 11:22:56 pm »

Hi I have 5 puppet shows of 10 mins each to do over the next 2 weeks. As we've ramped up the practices my voice is getting sore and I have to clear my throat more often. I suspect my puppet's voice puts a strain on my vocal cords. Any advice? All I can think of so far is drink lots of water. And space out the practices as much as possible.
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2012, 07:52:09 am »

It can be tiredness, but also bad use of your voice. You should get some rest first, and then try to find a voice trainer (yes, the same as for singers). It is about training. Good luck!
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2012, 07:56:55 am »

Rest is a good thing always. When you are working you can try things like honey and tea to sooth your throat.  Titere is correct that it is most likely the voice you have chosen and how you are doing it. For the long haul you might want to look for a different voice or way to create the voice. Actually taking singing lessons can be very beneficial since they would strengthen your voice.  It would also teach you how to properly support the sound you are creating.
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2012, 05:30:11 pm »

I agree that voice lessons would be good. But I also agree that you should stop using the voice that is causing strain. It is not worth causing damage to yourself. One tip I will pass along - Fisherman's Friend lozenges. I use them before every show and for me they work wonders and clear my throat and allow me to have a clear voice. I get them at my local pharmacy in the section with other cough drops etc.
Billy D. Fuller
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2012, 08:13:12 pm »

Thanks LJ.......... here is the link so you know what package to look for!

« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2012, 08:16:39 pm »

Thanks for the advice I really appreciate it. I'll buy some fisherman's friend & take tea with me in a travel cup just in case. Smile
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2012, 10:00:24 pm »

Not sure where you are, but in our area there is an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor that has devoted his practice to working with singers and performers (people who depend on their voices as their source of income).  He treats many people from the opera, stage, radio, etc.  He was my children's ENT doctor when they were young, and was very good at that.  I have read rave reviews about how he helps people, apparently with voice therapy as well as other things. You might do a google search and see what is available.
Lizzies Lair
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2012, 12:31:39 am »

Back in my performing days, pineapple juice was the drug of choice for all of us vocalists. Don't drink it cold! Just leave it out of the fridge for an hour or so and then you're away! Oh, and if that's not your thing, just remember never to drink anything cold if you're going to stretch your vocals.
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2012, 07:39:58 am »

Hey I found a neat little site that may be of some help. http://podcasts.voices.com/voiceoverexperts/2008/03/voice_over_experts_episode_40.html  This is actually a site devoted to helping voice over talent get jobs and for those looking for talent to find it.  The page I posted is some free advice on developing voices.

There are actually some other great links if you Google Search: How to develop a character voice.
Ron Arnold
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« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2012, 10:16:12 am »

Farleys Entertainers Secret Throat Relief Spray is supposed to be good, never used it myself. The reviews are mixed however, you can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Farleys-Entertainers-Secret-Throat-Standard/dp/B000Y023YC.
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2012, 06:59:16 am »

Fishermans Friends and pineapple juice, I can attest to that.
I have to yell constantly as part of my job as a street performer.
Another thing that tends to help is not smoking, I smoke socially and it generally means I have some voice difficulty, paticularly with falsetto voices, the following day.
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2012, 02:28:30 pm »

I'm a singer (rock and theatre) and do occasional vocal coaching. 

Here are some tips:
1. Don't clear your throat with closed coughing sounds.  It may loosen phlegm or feel soothing, but it actually irritates your vocal cords.
2. Don't use Chloraseptic or other numbing sprays/lozenges.  They only give you a false sense comfort which allows to cause more damage in the long run.
3. Try Throat Coat or Throat Comfort tea.  Or sprays like Singer's Saving Grace or Vocal-eze.  Similar ingredients in all.  Helps moisten your throat and vocal cords.  Check your local Asian market for a bottle of loquat honey called Pei Pa Koa.  Also has similar ingredients, but in a honey/syrup base.
4. Steam!  Either in the shower or with a vaporizer.
5. Hum.  It's soothing and restful, but keeps you loose.
6. Yes and no to citrus.  Yes when resting, no when close to performance time.  It can dry your mouth and throat.
7. Resonate from other areas of your head.  Voice doesn't just come from your vocal chords.  You resonate from everywhere from the chest up.  It won't affect your character voice if you find the right placement.  It will just relieve the excess strain to your throat.
8. Breath. Often straining occurs because we don't have enough breath support or don't breath enough.
9. Use a neti-pot.  It's odd and it's awkward but it helps.  With your sinuses clear, your head is open to resonate more... again, leaving less work for your vocal cords.

PM me if you have any other vocal issues or questions.
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2012, 02:32:54 pm »

Oh... one more...

DON'T WHISPER!  Whispering means your tightening everything which doesn't help with strain and soreness.
Nikole H.
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2012, 12:36:22 am »

I had the same problem last week while getting over a bad flu.  I had eight performances in one day (each performance being no longer than 20 minutes).  My voice was GONE by the fourth show.  Luckily I had an hour break until the next four consecutive shows.  I drowned my throat with warm tea and lots of honey.  It got me through the rest of my performance....just squeaking by (pun intended).  But my voice was completely gone by the end of the day.  The only thing that I found as a cure was like everyone else said...REST!  I talked as little as possible for the next few days which is REALLY hard if you knew me.  I love to talk. :D  I also felt it was soothing to wrap my neck in a scarf to keep warm.  I don't know if that helped but it felt nice.  I also periodically wrapped my neck with an herbal warming pad.  I think the scent of lavender is always soothing to me...not for everyone. Wink  So, REST....REST...and REST some more.

Now, if your voice is continued to be strained after resting and some time has passed, I suggest you see a doctor.  You could develop nodules on your vocal chords.  That is a very bad thing.  A lot of professional singers develop them.  Julie Andrews experienced this and tragically had surgery that ultimately ruined her singing voice for good.  I am still saddened by this and I am always thinking of this incident when I lose my voice.  It frightens me.  I always try to go for a healthy voice (as my singing coach reminds me).  It's very important to take good care of your voice.  Perhaps thinking of a different voice for your puppet that is less straining is something you should think about.  You know, Elmo didn't have the original voice that he has now.  However, I can't imagine the current voice is a healthy voice choice for the vocal chords...lol.

Hope you feel better soon.

Nikole H.
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2012, 12:41:37 am »

One more thing....I don't do voices for my puppets so when I lost my voice, it was just from narrating the story.  So who knows if the real problem is your puppet voice that you are using or if it is just that you are using your voice more than usual.  It could just be like if you don't exercise for awhile but then go out and do a half marathon...although I don't know why someone would do that in the first place....SEE I LOVE TO TALK! lol

Anyways...GOOD LUCK!  Hey you know one other thing that I have found that hurts after a lot of shows...MY THIGHS!  Does this happen to anyone else?  It's probably doing all the actions in my show but I tell everyone now that my new form of exercising is PUPPETRY! Smiley

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