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Review: 50 Ways To Abuse Your Voice

50 Ways to Abuse Your Voice book cover
This book could be the reality check you’ve been needing.

Item: 50 Ways to Abuse Your Voice: A Singer’s Guide to a Short Career, by Robert T. Sataloff, Mary J. Hawkshaw, Jaime Eaglin Moore and Amy L. Rutt, published by Compton Publishing.

Price: Amazon (US): 19.95 USD | Amazon (UK): from 13.46 GBP

Mic rating: 4.5/5


At a glance: This provocatively titled mini-book warns singers of all the hidden dangers and perilous challenges they might face throughout their career – from choosing the wrong singing teacher to not protecting your hearing. The format is ‘at-a-glance’ which allows the reader to skip straight to their pressing matters. The team of authors are internationally renowned voice scientists and surgeons, all of which are at the forefront of voice research. The caliber doesn’t get much higher than this. Leading author Sataloff has created a library of works on voice science and the contemporary commercial voice.

High notes: They really did think of every possible pitfall! The contents list is exhaustive; some of the ways to abuse your voice include ‘prescribe your own medicines’ and ‘don’t treat oral cavity disease’. This really drives home the point that you are your instrument, and you need to care for it every day of your life.

Off pitch: Although there are many ways to abuse the voice, each one is a sound bite more than a chapter. This book could easily be fleshed out to more than 100 pages. Perhaps case studies provided by singing teachers would help paint the picture better – 2nd edition idea?

A VoiceCouncil reviewer says: The tone of this book says ‘don’t say we didn’t tell you so’! A mild shock tactic, but probably more effective than a conservative lecture on the damages of drinking, smoking (or even having fun for that matter!) The book is a wake-up call for anyone who thought they could just sing a few scales and triumph on stage or in the audition room. Rather than prescribing vocal technique exercises, this book argues that lifestyle choices have just as much impact, and even have the power to undo all your hard work.