Running your voice into the ground? It might be time for a tune up.
Item: The Vocal Pit Stop: Keeping Your Voice on Track, by Adam D. Rubin, published by Compton Publishing.
Mic rating: 4.5/5
At a glance: Self-proclaimed as a ‘light hearted but not light weight’ guide to the ‘voicebox’. This slender book lifts the hood (bonnet) to take a peek at our instrument, and explains in simple terms what is going on, and when to seek help. The author is not only a seasoned performer but a renowned laryngologist, so can be trusted to be sympathetic to both real world pressures and health issues.
High notes: The fact that this book is so casual and succinct in its approach means it will capture the attention of the reader more. Using Formula 1 racing as a framework is a sneaky way of making scientific content applicable. It’s an easy and informative read which doesn’t require much commitment or stamina. I’m always a fan of seeing anatomy pictures – it’s surprising how many singers are unaware of what their instrument looks like!
Off pitch: It’s just so short! I’m sure the author has so much more knowledge he could share. He often mentions that ‘poor breath support’ can cause voice disorders but fully doesn’t drill down into the mechanics of breath support. Many singers get confused over what this means and end up doing quite the opposite.
A VoiceCouncil reviewer says: I’m very glad to see him de-bunking various quick fixes we reach for when our voices are ill or tired. Knowledge is power, and knowledge needn’t be uncool for the rockin’ out singer! Rubin answers real life questions such as ‘when should I stop working?’ and ‘what do I do if I can’t cancel a gig?’ He advises us to be wary of our lifestyle habits, emphasizes the importance of mindful warm ups, and firmly lays the responsibility for our voices at our feet. However, he is careful to note that books can never replace a good teacher.