It’s not often that I lose my voice. Thankfully so, since using my voice to demonstrate good -and bad- singing is my job day in and day out!
The two times I vividly remember losing my voice was first:
My senior year of high school the weekend of our spring musical. I was playing Jo in Little Women The Musical and I got sick and developed a raspy singing voice just in time for opening weekend. What luck!! Thankfully with some help from my Ear Nose and Throat (laryngologist) doctor and my voice teacher who happened to be at the performance opening night, I managed to pull through.
The second was about five years ago. I had an awful nightmare and woke up screaming in the middle of the night (does this ever happen to you?!?!) I probably terrified all the neighbors in a two block radius. I didn’t sleep the rest of the night and the next day- my voice was gone. Completely hoarse. I felt fine, so I made do by miming adjustments in my lessons and apologizing to students that I was completely out of commission!
I know other stories of people losing their voice.
Julie Andrews lost her voice after returning to Broadway in a difficult role inVictor/Victoria, followed by a voice surgery that changed her voice for the worse (by the way, it is extremely rare for a voice surgery to go wrong like this. Most of the time surgery is an important and exceptional treatment plan in voices that need it).
Shania Twain lost her voice for years, she credited it to an emotionally volatile time in her life. You know that expression, “getting choked up”? Emotions can really do a number on our voices and completely close up our sound.
Maybe you’ve never “found” your voice.
Maybe you’ve never allowed yourself to consider yourself a “real” singer. On that topic, check out this inspiring TedTalk by my friend and fellow IVA voice teacher Heather Baker.
Whether it’s lost or yet to be found, your voice is never far away. In most cases, a few days of rest or a few voice lessons can get you on the right track. In more rare circumstances, a few visits with a laryngologist (voice doctor) or Speech Language Pathologist (voice therapist) might be in order. Or, some soul searching to find where your emotions are blocking your communication might be just what’s needed.
Your voice is always within, ready to be found.
Now as for the practical advice…
What to do if you’ve lost your voice and need to sing! Hint, lemon and honey won’t help 😉