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Time for a Vocal Massage?

There’s been a freak accident: a member of the cast has broken her foot…I feel terrible for her.

This has now propelled me into an incredibly busy time: I’m now “on” as her for the next six to eight weeks—in addition to continuing to cover for Maria.

How quickly things can change when you’re on the road!

The latest move of our show has been a bit tough on my voice and I’ve had a couple of vocal massages in the last two weeks to release the tension around my larynx and tongue root.
A vocal massage is just what you think it would be; it’s carried out by a professional physiotherapist.

It’s something I found out about from friends and most vocal schools and teachers know about it and recommend it—I would always go to someone who has been personally recommended to you.

When the larynx sits too high in the throat, it can tire your voice and ultimately lead to problems. I wasn’t suffering in any big way; the massage was mostly a precaution.
Having the massage hurts like x#@%&! Afterwards though, the voice is really free. Nice.

In other news…a little self-control appears to have returned to my life: I’m eating well again, apart from stuffing myself with the occasional amazing curry, which Bradford does so well.

Those of you who have castigated me for my wild lifestyle will be happy to hear that I can’t go out as much at the moment because we’re living so far away from the venue.

A tiny cold never really came to anything but I had to be a bit careful with my voice for about a week. Lots of water, not too much talking and making sure that all the important underpinning support was going on (like exercise).

Vocally, however, it’s the busiest it’s been yet— keeps me from getting complacent!
Gotta go – stage call is in ten minutes…

If you have a question for Emma Sewell (who is currently covering for Maria – Connie Fisher – in The Sound of Music) you can email her via the VoiceCouncil editor: editor@voicecouncil.com

  • I know that all the things you 've been doing (bars, pizza, etc) are not recommended to maintain the vocal chords in a good shape, but It was really curious because I have the same habits on the road, and as you did I always managed to perform in great vocal conditions! Although I don't go out to bars to have fun, I have to play in bars so… basically there is the same issues… Loud music, smoke… I'm resting as much as I need, thanks to the professionals from Voice Council, and also to my vocal teacher for their advices… glad to know you're on the right track… thanks for sharing! It really useful to know someone else's experience… I leave a question to anyone reading this blog… Considering I sleep until 4 or 5 pm, what can I eat at that time?
    Have a great weekend everybody!


  • I'm one who is currently struggling vocally and it's driving me nuts! I sing, with lots of belting, at least 3 nights a week not including rehearsals. My voice gets to where I can't near reach my range, sounds raspy, and sometimes goes altogether. I don't know what to do! What are some tricks?

  • Northwinds

    Very interesting.
    I'm constantly overstretching my voice and ending up hoarse after rehearsals and have taken to investing in all sorts of teas that claim to help and soothe the throat – most of them are liquorice based.
    A couple I use are Yogi Tea's Throat Comfort – http://www.yogitea.eu – which has an Ayurvedic Herbal Formula (not sure what this is exactly?) and Dr Stuart's – http://www.drstuarts.com – Throat Relief with cinammon an marshmallow root and including Active Botanicals (again????)
    I take to rehearsals a one and a half litre bottle of water and a smaller half litre bottle with a brew of six of the Dr Stuart's bags with some honey and filled up with filtered water. This I drink during rehearsals along with most of the water. Seems to help. I also have on hand a small bottle of Glycerin which I had been advised on by a couple of singing teachers over the years.
    I know there's another Singer's Tea out there that I intend to try but can't comment on as yet.
    Re keeping the larynx low, Brett Manning's Singing Success course has a bunch of exercises specifically aimed at this – http://www.singingsuccess.com – I invested in it some time back and have used it daily for a couple of years. Part of it is about visualizing a low larynx when singing higher and through your bridge and he has a whole bunch of exercises to help with this in your daily warm up. I find it helps a lot and makes my higher range a lot more accessable.
    Re the vocal massage I am very interested as I am lucky enough that my girlfriend is a trained massage therapist – however not a phsiotherapist as such.
    She does have a great deal of knowledge, experience and training in all aspects of anotomy and physiology but I never thought to ask her on this.
    Is there anywhere I can find out more about the specifics online?
    I trust her knowledge and skills (she has been giving me lymphatic drainage sessions on a wound on my leg after a serious road accident and it has helped the healing enormously!) but when it comes to my throat I really would like to know a bit more before diving in. Anyone?
    Anyway thanks for the tip and good luck on the road!

  • Paco

    Really interesting. I have to search for more info because I had never heard before about larynx massages. I´ve got some literature at home (Vendera, Baxter…) by I have never read nothing beyond warming up massages. I'll try to get one and share what it feels like. But you've frighened me. Does it really hurt that bad?

  • angielynn

    A vocal massage can cover all of the areas of the singing instrument including the diaphragm, the muscles of the neck and the muscles of the ribs to help relax those that may be constrictive to the breathing process, allowing more air to enter the lungs.

    This type of massage can help release muscles around the hyoid bone and neck area as well, often improving the singer's range and singing ability.

    Even a self massage of the face and neck area could be incorporated into the singer's warm-up routine to promote vocal freedom. Also (ok, this may sound awful), another good exercise is one that consists of placing the tips of the fingers under the ribs while pulling them outwards for a few breaths in and out without allowing them to fall back inwards to help massage the diaphragm.

  • johnscott5

    How do you find someone qualified to massage your voice?

  • Rychemaiden

    Jeannie Deva recommends a throat massage as a way to relax the throat muscles, tounge and vocal apparatus!! Thanks for the reminder and insight born of experience!! :)

  • garymckinney

    I'm afraid I'm too big a sissy to handle a painful throat massage. I like Northwind's suggestion about using various teas. They taste wonderful, do indeed soothe the throat and at the very least are a wonderful placebo effect.

  • Massage is absolutely necessary! A singer must be in control 100 percent throughout a performance. Learning to relax while still controlling the direction of your sound in almost unheard of for too many vocalists. Love this idea and I recommend it to my students all the time!

  • The vocal massage is really good as a precaution to give relaxation to tongue root.It is really good for the singers who are on tour of concerts at various places.

  • The vocal massage is really good as a precaution to give relaxation to tongue root.It is really good for the singers who are on tour of concerts at various places.

  • As a sports massage therapist, I've worked with a WIDE variety of clients. I've done some throat work on an opera singer and currently working with a client that has polyps on their vocal cords. They've been doing all the things their voice coach as told them (stretching/water) and we've seen some really great progress from the massage work they're receiving. If you think about how stress can manifest it's self in our body and how massage has been proven to help relief stress AND the affects…..there's no doubt it can help with “vocal health”.

  • Carl


    I work as a vocal therapist- i tour round the country with theatre and tv programmes, and at the moment im the therapist for chess, rocky horror, sound of music, scrooge and hairspray amongst others.

    I get great results from my treatments and my clients find them enourmously beneficial and invaluable.


  • Emilylynnemilylynnemilylynn

    If you are ever in Leeds, please call me, I would love some therapy.

  • Emilylynnemilylynnemilylynn

    Where are you based? I need a massage in Leeds/Manchester area.