Wild Fires and Your Voice

Every year, it seems that California’s wild fires become more frequent, bigger, and closer to our cities. People in evacuation zones naturally face the biggest risks and disruptions. But everyone in the region can see and smell the smoke that turns our sky such an eerie yellow-gray. Vocalists use our airways in special ways, and […]

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Allergy Season Voice Care

Voice Care in Allergy Season I’m not much of a gardener, but this spring I clearly saw the jade plant on my porch plumping out thicker-than-usual green leaves, after our winter of much-higher-than-average rain. Thriving plant life means more air-borne spores springing forth, to which human bodies often react badly. Rather than mutual celebration, the […]

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The Power of Voice – Quotes

“The human voice is the most pure expression coming from your own being. There is nothing between your soul and your ability and your body, and the audience… that’s why it’s so sensitive.” —Bill Maxwell, vocalist contractor, in 2013 documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom. “A defective voice will always preclude an artist from achieving the complete […]

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Singers Go Public

Spring 2018 saw numerous news items about well-known performers managing vocal risks, some more pro-actively than others. From Broadway to stadium shows to the alt-rock world, vocal health is the new ball to toss around! First came Lauren Ambrose, Tony award nominee for playing Eliza Doolittle in the current Broadway revival of My Fair Lady, […]

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Vocal First Aid

Dealing with short-term vocal strain?  Here is your emergency tool-kit (adapted from my book Everyday Voice Care: The Lifestyle Guide for Singers and Talkers (Hal Leonard, 2012.) If you’re often in emergency, of course, something may be wrong with your throat, technique, or work schedule that needs more in-depth attention. So be honest! (1) Vocal rest as […]

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Top Ten for Wellness

My friend Paul Crick, a life-coach, once asked me for my all-around top ten tips for health and wellness: Don’t smoke tobacco, or use other addictive substances known to be life-threateningly dangerous. Especially if you identify as an artist, or otherwise consider yourself to be a rebel against conventional rules: look for ways to express […]

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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 sun hung low for shortening days before the season turned around. People also stop — or slow down — when the winter season […]

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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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