National Opera Week – Voice Tip #4 – The effect of stress on the voice
As part of National Opera Week we got some great tips from The National Center for Voice and Speech to keep your voice in tip-top shape. Check back all week for new tips!
Tip #4. Stress can lead to forceful voice production resulting in possible tissue damage.
It may not be entirely intuitive that being stressed would have a significant negative effect on one’s voice. However, stress often leads to excess muscle tension in the neck and shoulders, which can understandably impact the quality of the voice. Relaxation and stress management techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises can significantly reduce that detrimental excess tension, allowing the voice to function as it should. Additionally, just as you stretch your neck or shoulders, you can stretch your voice. The pitch range in which most people speak is only a small fraction of the range in which they are physically capable of producing sound. Performing glides or glissandos from low pitches to high pitches can stretch the voice outside of the normal speaking range, which can reduce the risk of developing a voice disorder. For added benefit, perform your pitch glides through a small straw. It helps relieve “pressing” of the voice and it’s just goofy enough that it might relieve some stress while you are at it!