The Newsletter
June 1st, 2008                                                                  Find your natural dynamic speaking voice and maintain it!
Vocal Tip of the Month!
Cheering and Crowd Encouragements

A few weeks ago, I got to see my favourite music band in concert.  I was lucky enough to sneak my way through the crowd to find a nice spot by the rail right in front of the stage.  I was so happy to be there and excited to hear the music I love.  I sang the lyrics to every song and I cheered the band quite often, clearly getting carried away by my enthusiasm!  After the show, I met the band members and the bassist told me, "Your voice must be a little hoarse right now!"  But I told him it wasn't.  He seemed really surprised...

And so his remark inspired the topic for this month's newsletter.  From all that singing and screaming, most people would get vocal fatigue.  
I didn't because I applied the same strategies when I screamed as when I sing and speak. We must remember that the singing voice, the speaking voice and the screaming voice are the same.  We only have one voice and however it is used, the same voice placement and support techniques are relevant to project it and avoid unnecessary damage to the vocal cords.  

In May and June, many schools hold events in which you are most likely to encourage your students with your screaming voice during their performance. On a track and field day, during a sport game, a music concert or a fun play day, remember the following tips to keep your voice safe:

1) Take a few minutes before you arrive at the event to warm-up your voice.
2) Don't smoke or avoid sitting next to someone who does.
3) Drink plenty of water to keep your vocal cords hydrated.
4) Apply the basis of correct voice projections.  They are:
                        a) Take a deep breath before you yell or sing.
                        b) Use your support applying a downward pressure.
                        c) Open your jaw vertically to allow your larynx to completely                               tilt forward.
                        d) Focus the resonance of your voice high in the mask (around                               your nose, forehead and cheeks).
5) Use an amplification system if you can such as a megaphone or a microphone.
6) Give your voice a little bit of rest by keeping all talking to a minimum the next day to allow any swelling of your vocal cords to come down.  Don't whisper!  Hopefully, staying quiet won't be necessary if you have been using your vocal techniques properly!

Interesting Facts

Singing is a wonderful way to strengthen your speaking voice and it is both healthy for the body and soul.  It improves breath capacity, encourages good posture, oxygenates your blood and energizes the body.  During singing, natural pleasure-giving and pain-killing hormones called endorphins are released making us feel happier and less stressed.  Higher thinking, analytical skills, emotional intelligence and memory are also stimulated through the actions of synchronizing and interpreting lyrics, melody and rhythm in a song.  The simple act of singing brings a magical intuitive awareness that allows people to connect with their inner voice, higher powers and with each other.  Dare to sing with the people you love.  Here are some fun places to sing now or this summer:

a) In your classroom with your students
b) Around a campfire  
c) In the shower
d) In your car
e) During a music concert
f) In a karaoke bar 
g) At home with your family and friends

Visit the following website to download a FREE karaoke software and find an unlimited source of .kar and .midi files to sing along to:

Challenge yourself and sing your heart out!

What's Happening?
Only one month to go before the summer break.  I can't believe the school year has gone by so fast.  "Voice Yourself: The Newsletter" will be taking the summer off so I can better concentrate on finishing my book and record a few of my songs.  I shall be back in September with some fresh info on the speaking and singing voice.  I hope my newsletter as been helpful to you this year.  Thank you for taking the time to read me and sending me your kind words.  I really appreciated it!  Have a fun, restful and safe summer; see you in September!
Relevant Links

Voice Yourself in the Classroom

Valerie Bastien

The Voice Connection
Inspiring Quotes and Stories...
Just like we expect our students to be active participants in our classroom, next time you attend a sport event or a music concert (unless it's a classical music concert which would then be inappropriate), I'd like to encourage you to put yourself out there and take part in cheering your team or favourite musicians.  Don't be afraid to make a fool of yourself giggling and screaming like a little girl!  Most artists and athletes feed off the energy they receive from the crowd. Too often have I attended such events where spectators watched the performance passively.  No cheering creates an impersonal and boring concert or game atmosphere that distances audiences from the performers and disinterests them completely.  So please don't be a passive observer; verbal and physical participation makes an event more of an experience.  Plus, cheering helps releasing stress as long as it is kept positive.  Crowd participation is fun.  Now, get those hands in the air and show your love!
Things to Note
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Have a wonderful month!

-Valerie Bastien