Working Wednesday: Warm-Ups to Relieve Vocal Tension

vocal tensionThe biggest obstacle I’ve faced in my voice-over career is something I never would have considered: tension. I was worried about the usual things like learning my audio editing software, making sure my home studio was up to par, finding my unique delivery, etc. Those are all great things to focus on! But then I started getting weird pains and aches in my neck and throat. I couldn’t get a full breath when I was recording. It was making for choppy deliveries.  Vocal tension and fatigue seemed to be setting in really quickly. I tried not to panic, but this was really bad, right?

First of all, if you’re experiencing any of these things, don’t be stubborn like me. Go to an ENT immediately. I put it off for way too long, which only made my stress levels go through the roof. I was so convinced they were going to tell me I had to stop working that I just avoided it. Yeah, I know, pretty dumb.

I finally decided I couldn’t put it off any longer. I scheduled my appointment. Really long story short, I had this very common vocal disorder called Muscle Tension Dysphonia. I’ll let you do some internet research on that, but the bottom line is, I was speaking with so much tension the muscles around my larynx were acting like a cage. I learned this way of speaking somewhere along the way. Likely a combination of speaking to huge groups of people at my last job and, interestingly enough, emotional distress. Your emotions can have a huge impact on your voice. So, yay therapy!

I’ve now been going to a speech therapist regularly to resolve this issue. I’ve learned some great massage techniques to release vocal tension before I begin recording and I wanted to pass some of these on to you in this week’s Working Wednesday video.

Here’s the overall lesson: if something doesn’t feel right, get it checked out! No need to suffer in silence.



Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?