Wanna know what goes on during voice surgery in all it’s gory glory?
Item: The Owner’s Manual to the Voice by Rachael Gates, L. Arick Forrest and Kerrie Obert, published by Oxford University Press.
Mic rating: 5/5
At a glance: It does what it says on the cover! This book is a matter-of-fact guide for your voice. It explains how it works, how you should look after it, and how to deal with vocal health issues should they arise. It demystifies a whole range of vocal disorders and explains exactly what happens during laryngeal surgery. It is also relevant on daily matters such as diet, exercises and medication.
High notes: To my knowledge there isn’t another singing book that delves so deeply into surgical details. Every singer who is paranoid about nodules would benefit from reading this factual, no-nonsense chapter. But beware, it is not for the squeamish – expect lots of anatomical and surgical photography!
Off pitch: The content is thorough and precise, so it is difficult to find flaws. However, from a visual point of view, the photographs would be much more understandable if they were in color. Many readers may not be familiar with what the insides of their voice look like, so an injection of color would make the information more digestible and tangible.
Review: A reoccurring theme in this book is the gentle correction of prevalent myths and outdated methods pertaining to the singing voice. The authors have collected the most frequently asked questions in each of their teaching studios with the aim of finally setting the record straight. However, these ingrained neuroses and traditions are difficult to change, even in a robust and friendly book such as this. It was a delight to see a chapter dedicated to medications, since singers often panic during the cold months and treat their coughs and colds with every pill and potion imaginable. Although this book is scientific in its approach, you can tell the authors are on your side and want your voice to be in the best shape possible. Know the facts, and stop stressing and start singing!