To Rest or Not To Rest?

That is the question – says Kim Chandler

Welcome to the second instalment of my ‘Vocal Coach Residency’.

This week I’ve decided to address the little discussed area of voice rest.

The reason being is that there is a nasty bout of laryngitis doing the rounds at the moment.

I, myself, fell victim to it recently and have had clients cancel lessons because of it.

Leaving aside the medical requirement of voice rest after voice surgery which needs to be done under medical supervision, when should a singer themselves decide to rest their voice?

The Two Types of Voice Rest

Let me establish at the outset that there are two types of voice rest: total voice rest and relative voice rest.

Total voice rest is a period of complete silence. It is usually necessary if your voice is impaired from laryngitis due to infection or overuse.

I’ve found that around 24-48 hours of total silence is one of the quickest ways to recover.

Total voice rest is not easy to do, but here are some tips I’ve found to make it work:

– don’t whisper
– use basic sign language
– mouth silently what you want to say
– use ‘old school’ solutions like a pad and pencil
– use technology such as Skype chat and phone apps like “iSpeak. (There are also settings on some laptops where you can choose from a range of voices to speak the text you type in – I was “Vicky” recently).

Relative voice rest is where you reduce your vocal workload down to the minimum.

Vocal Salvation?

I advise singers to schedule in one day of relative voice rest a week if they’re a heavy voice user, i.e. singing or speaking several hours a day most days a week.

Managing your vocal workload well will save your voice.

My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids

Sabrina – I Do (Cover)

You’ve got a lovely, ‘sunny’, appealing sound (and what a smile!) and I like the fact that you accompany yourself on guitar. I can see that you’re already several frets up, but I think you’ll find you’re still not quite in the right key for you. The lowest notes in the melody are too low but the melody of the choruses sits quite high, so there’s not a lot of room to manoeuvre. However, another key or too higher should solve it.

Tim Ruff – Melt My Heart (Cover)

You’re clearly an accomplished musician as an instrumentalist, singer and writer, with a solid vocal technique and understanding of music. In order to take this song to the next level, I’d encourage you to work a little more on your diction (for rhythmic emphasis) and to find the emotional thread throughout the whole song. In this style of song, the mission is to communicate with the audience as if they’re the only person you’re singing it for.

-Kim Chandler

If you’re signed up to VoiceCouncil’s Peer-Review, you’ll be receiving unique coaching feedback from Kim for the next 6 weeks. You can sign up here

Kim Chandler is one of the UK’s top contemporary vocal coaches. She has a busy private studio in London and her clients include well-known artists, artists in development, professional singers and other vocal coaches. She is a director of the British Voice Association, and is the creator of the popular “Funky ‘n Fun” vocal training series.