Protecting Your Vocal Health
Student Information Sheet on Protecting Your Vocal Health from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA).
- Vocal health is important for all musicians and essential to lifelong success for singers.
- Understanding basic care of the voice is essential for musicians who speak, sing, and rehearse or teach others.
- Practicing, rehearsing, and performing music is physically demanding.
- Musicians are susceptible to numerous vocal disorders.
- Many vocal disorders and conditions are preventable and/or treatable.
- Sufficient warm-up time is important.
- Begin warming up mid-range, and then slowly work outward to vocal pitch extremes.
- Good posture, adequate breath support, and correct physical technique are essential.
- Regular breaks during practice and rehearsal are vital in order to prevent undue physical or vocal stress and strain.
- It is important to set a reasonable time limit on the amount of time that you will practice in a day.
- Avoid sudden increases in practice times.
- Know your voice and its limits, and avoid overdoing it or misusing it.
- Maintain healthy habits. Safeguard your physical and mental health.
- Drink plenty of water in order to keep your vocal folds adequately lubricated.
- Limit your use of alcohol and avoid smoking.
- Day-to-day decisions can impact your vocal health, both now and in the future. Since vocal strain and a myriad of other injuries can occur in and out of school, you also need to take care of your own vocal health on a daily basis. Avoid shouting, screaming, or other strenuous vocal use.
- If you are concerned about your personal vocal health, talk with a medical professional.
- If you are concerned about your vocal health in relationship to your program of study, consult the appropriate contact person at your institution.
Adapted from: Protecting Your Vocal Health: Student Information Sheet – NASM/PAMA: July 2013 DRAFT
Community Resources: Vocal Health
Duke Voice Care Center:
Leda Scearce, MM, MS, CCC-SLP
Performing Voice Specialist
Director of Performing Voice Programs and Development
Duke Voice Care Center
Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
David L. Witsell, MD, MHS
Assoc. Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Department of Surgery
Duke Clinical Research Institute