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Laryngeal Massage: or, “Why would I let anyone put their hands around my throat?”

   “Vocal Massage”/ “Manual Therapy for Laryngeal Muscle Tension”/ “Circumlaryngeal Massage”/ “Myofascial Release for Speech Pathologists”/ “Voice Massage”/ “Hands-on Voice Therapy”/ “Musicians’ and Vocalists’ Massage”/”Adjusting the Voice Box”/ “Manual Laryngeal Musculoskeletal Tension Reduction.” There are lots of names for this kind of voice work, and it’s getting a lot of buzz. All of these labels generally […]

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Winterize Your Voice

I’ve always loved the winter solstice. As a child spending holidays in Maine, I was awed by the clear, cold, stillness in the air, the moon reflecting on icicles and snow. The music in that house was Beethoven, not folk. But when the sun hung low for shortening days, and then stopped and turned around, […]

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Singers’ Guide to Yoga

Protect your chords and harmonize your practice Meditation teachers in orange and white, clergy robed entirely in orange, and hundreds of devotees in summer pastels crowded the tropical pavilion in front of the mic where I was about to lead songs. Behind me was a flower-drenched stage from which our guru would soon bless and […]

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Lawrence, Kate, and Lilith: Looking Back at the Women’s Music Movement

first published in FolkWorks, March-April 2005; revised 2014 Ross Altman’s recent Folkworks article on the music of the IWW featured the 1912 “Bread and Roses” strike by women textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts and the now-famous song that the young strikers inspired. In the same issue, alongside Larry Wines’s cover story on present-day songwriters, all […]

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The Vocal Martial Art: Help for Extreme VO Performers

Everyone knows that video gaming is big business, and a sizeable proportion of games are categorized as “fighting,” “shooter,” or “action.” As the gaming industry grows—it’s already larger than movies and music and expanding faster than both—more and more actors are getting hired to voice characters who are engaged in some kind of combat or danger. […]

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All About Vocal Fry

I’m cross-posting this excellent piece from a national speech therapy journal- jc Totally Fried What do you need to know about vocal fry? Speech-language pathologists and a linguist weigh in on where cultural influence ends and clinical intervention begins. Haley Blum The ASHA Leader, February 2016, Vol. 21, 50-56.  doi:10.1044/leader.FTR2.21022016.50 Vocal fry: Maybe you hate […]

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Voice and music—some favorite quotes

“If all my possessions were taken from me with one exception, I would choose to keep the power of communication, for by it I would soon regain all the rest.” —Daniel Webster “The best communications technology is the ear.”— Esther Dyson “A voice that is free, that feels its inherent right to speak, will have no fear of calling […]

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The Next “Voice Science”

[What public health, ethnology, and neuroscience have to do with it] In the mid-20th century, people started to understand how the vocal cords actually work. Nineteenth century singing teacher Manuel Garcia had famously arranged a mirror and candle to SEE his voice, but until technologies arrived to capture moving images of the cords as they […]

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