One of our official partners, the STA, has kindly shared some great advice for us to pass on to our members.
Having trained as a singer, Lisa Smith, STA’s Technical Support Officer certainly knows a thing or two about the voice, and how important it is for swimming teachers to protect their vocal chords.
Lisa Smith, STA Technical Support Officer said:
“It is very common for teachers, lecturers or anyone who is required to speak excessively as part of their job to have, at some stage in their working life a problem with their voice, and especially for swimming teachers who are projecting their voice in a noisy environment. Symptoms such as a lack of voice strength and croakiness are typical of vocal abuse, and permanent damage can be caused to the voice unless good habits are adopted.”
To ensure you keep your vocal cords healthy Lisa offers some great tips:
- Keep the vocal chords hydrated by taking regular sips of water whilst on poolside
- Project your voice, don’t shout, a thumbs up or clapping can motivate learners just as effectively
- Use your voice correctly when speaking, this is aided by good posture, and good breath support
- When speaking to learners, bring them in close enough so that a quiet voice can be used
Warming up your voice with vocal exercises can be very effective, meaning that you can start your day with the strongest vocal production possible.
One great way to do this is through gentle humming. Many health professionals and vocal coach experts advise easy humming to glide up and down on three notes, moving up a note each time. This way you can gently stretch your vocal chords without causing damage. Whilst humming you should be able to notice the vibrations at the front of your face, and remember it is important to keep your throat relaxed as possible. When humming try using a syllable such as “mum” or “num”.
Other voice training practices include relaxation techniques and breathing exercises, as a teacher your voice should have a firm flow by a centred breath and a pitch range that is appropriate to your learners and the individual.
Most importantly, Lisa would advise anyone who suffers from a change in their voice or hoarseness for more than two weeks to visit their GP.
For more advice on effective voice techniques please follow this link.
Image Credit: toronto-services.com