Lost Your Voice? Ideas For Surviving Your Sessions!

The first year I was a music therapist, I lost my voice for an entire week. The second year I was a music therapist, I lost my voice for another week. The third year I was a music therapist, yes you guessed it, I LOST MY VOICE FOR A WEEK! Chronic laryngitis was a yearly battle that I dreaded and it produced so. much. anxiety!
Fortunately, I’ve been much more intentional about vocal health and haven’t had a bout of laryngitis in a couple of years (hoping I don’t jinx that!). At my current position, we’ve been talking about what to do when you’re sick and here are a few things that can help.

Vocal Health Tips

  1. If you are starting to feel sick, STOP NOW. Taking care of yourself ahead of time does so much for your body and I’ve had to take half the amount of time off when I am proactive about my health. Go get that Throat Coat tea, take some vocal rest, and get some extra sleep!
  2. If you’re voice feels tired at the end of the day, listen to it. Your voice is LITERALLY your job, you can’t afford to lose it for a week, let alone develop something scary like vocal nodes.
  3. You are creative enough to come up with ideas to have music therapy sessions without your voice! The ideas below are a few of my favorite, but I can’t wait to hear what you come up with!

Voiceless Interventions

  • Rock ‘n Stop by Eric Chapelle. This is such a fun song that you could use creative dance, instrument playing, etc. One of my favorites! Also, the whole album is great to explore with clients!
  • Stop/Go Sign– Make yourself a large cardboard sign that has stop on one side and go on the other. A great way to give clients the opportunity to lead and/or to use instruments.
  • Follow the Leader– Desk bells/games/dancing etc. Clients can take turns being the leader and/or following along with various sequences. 
  • Guess my Feeling– Straight up miming! Use a deck of emotion cards and each person pulls one, and tries to show the others that feeling by facial expression, movement, etc. 
  • Relaxation paired with art– Have clients choose relaxing music they like, maybe try a few different types of music to see what resonates with them. Give them the opportunity to do a variety of art activities, mandalas, coloring books, slime, clay, etc. 
  • Dalcroze Eurythmics— Use a primary instrument to create musical excerpts and have clients move their body to match the sound. This is easy with guitar and no voice, because you can teach it by example (play quiet, short fingerpicked notes while tip-toeing). 
  • Conducting (shared by lashelb on Instagram!)- Have students conduct to a variety of songs. This would be a lot of fun with music that changes quickly!
  • The Syncopated Clock by LeRoy Anderson (sent in by bluskymt on Instagram). Such a fun song! This is a great one for movement with scarves, parachute, stretchy band, or with someone as the leader of a marching group.

Hope these help you during this time of year and remember to take care of your voice!

Kate

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