woman with stress headache
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Stress Takes Its Toll on Your Voice

A New Student’s Back Ground

In preparation for a recent lesson, my student sent me several audio recordings of her voice before the lesson. I carefully listened to each one and noticed a significant difference between 2014 and 2016. In the 2014 recordings her voice sounded fresh, strong, and the high notes were effortless. In the 2016 recordings she was struggling with breathing, phrasing, and there were also some pitch issues. And the high notes were not what they had been just 2 years ago.

The Truth Revealed

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]If you are going through a difficult time in life – guess what? So is your voice.[/perfectpullquote]

During our Skype session Online I was not surprised to hear that 2016 was an emotional year for her. Her mother’s health was declining and in a matter of months she watched her mother pass away. Her voice was reflecting the stress and emotion that her body, soul, and mind were feeling. Her voice was not performing as effectively as it had just two years earlier.

It’s All Connected

Consider this: The voice is connected to the Central Nervous System. This system regulates the function of our internal organs such as blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, and more. So, if you are going through a difficult time in life – guess what? So is your voice. Be patient. It’s affected by things like stress, lack of sleep, lack of good nutrition, anger, sadness or depression. Recognizing this can be very helpful in understanding what is going on with your voice. Your voice is telling you “Hey, this is a really stressful time for me, too.”

My Own Experience

I think we all know what it’s like to walk through a season of stress. I myself had a very difficult year in recent memory. And on top of it, I was singing weekly, often several times a week. I noticed that my voice would often struggle. It would be tight. I would have to cough often, but I wasn’t sick and it wasn’t allergy season. I just didn’t have my usual, easy high notes. I did not understand at first what was going on with my voice. Well, my voice was feeling the stress I had in many areas of my life. I even felt like the ‘joy’, ‘release’, ‘passion’, and ‘stress reliever’ in my life (singing) was not enjoyable anymore.

Lesson Learned

We may all face circumstances which cause us to lose sleep and find that there are times when we are highly stressed and in emotional pain. It’s recognizing those times, and how they affect the voice, that can be key to vocal health and excellent singing. I’ve learned that in times of stress and high emotion, I need to have patience with my voice and give it time and special care.

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  1. I remember a time you were on complete vocal rest and carried around a chalkboard too. That was a stressful time for you physically.
    I love this blog and miss your worship!

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