My name is Lynn, and I’m an online English tutor and voice artist; and today I’m going to show you how I take care of my voice.
At one point or another, if we talk for a living, we’re going to struggle with voice care. It’s a natural byproduct of talking so much!
Aside from getting that Costco-size bag of throat lozenges, how can we take care of our voices?
Here are some tips for how to take care of your voice as an English tutor:
Tip #1. Stop talking!
The first thing that helps us protect our voice is actually not using it as much.
There’s a reason why Celine Dion doesn’t talk to anyone before a concert; she’s saving her voice for showtime!
Luckily, we should be letting our students talk about 50% (or more) of the time anyway.
Enjoy those moments when your student is reading or telling you a story about their day! Take the opportunity to rest your voice.
Type corrections you can discuss later if it’s okay with your student.
Tip #2. Try Vocal Warm-Ups
Before you start your teaching day, try a vocal warm-up just like your favourite singer does.
Break out your la-la-la-la-la, talk out loud, sing your favourite song, do neck and shoulder stretches, hum, or glide from a low tone to a high tone using different vowel sounds.
You wouldn’t just jump into your gym routine without warming up first, right? The same goes for your voice.
Tip #3. Be Mindful of Your Breathing
Pay attention to your breathing. You’ll want to take nice, deep breaths from your chest so that they support your voice.
If you live in a dry climate, you may notice you struggle more with sore throats and staying hydrated.
A humidifier might make your environment more comfortable. Dry air can cause a hoarse voice and coughing, which may irritate the throat.
Tip #4. Stay Hydrated
You might be tempted to skip those 6-8 glasses of water a day, especially if you can’t just get up and take a break whenever you need to.
But it’s essential to drink water throughout the day, not just a few sips here and there between classes.
Did you know that your vocal cords are separate from your oesophagus?
Hydration—not just soothing a dry throat– is key when you’re talking for hours at a time.
So drink that water!
Herbal teas are great too. Room temperature is best, as super cold or hot drinks can stress your vocal muscles.
Pro tip: Throat Coat Tea is a serious lifesaver!
Now that we’ve talked about how to help your voice let’s talk about things you should avoid for better voice care.
Top things to avoid for optimum voice care:
- Excessive caffeine
- Spicy food
Things like smoke, alcohol, and caffeine can dry out your vocal cords, so you may want to consider how your habits are impacting your voice.
It can also be helpful to avoid dairy, sugar and spicy foods. You might not think your overall diet and health have much to do with your voice, but they do!
These foods can create phlegm or trigger acid reflux which affect the throat and voice.
Not a pretty image, but that’s the reality—something to think about if you’re constantly clearing your throat.
Take advantage of technology
Many of us tend to shout when talking to someone online or on speaker.
I’m talking to all of those people who yell their Starbucks order in the drive-thru! 😉
Get your microphone to do the work for you. Talk at a normal volume and adjust the mic levels if your student can’t hear you well.
There’s no need to strain your voice when we have the technology to do the heavy lifting.
And remember, take breaks! Every part of your body needs a break, including your voice.
Thanks for reading, and happy tutoring! We hope these tips are helpful! Let us know what some of your best vocal tips are in the comments below.
About the Writer
Lynn is an educator and voice-over artist for radio and tv commercials as well as recorded educational courses. She is the author of the children’s book Fatty McButterpants and the Magic Peanut and has a new book in The Adventures of Fatty McButterpants series coming out in September 2021. If Lynn could bring 3 things to a deserted island, she’d bring her family (including her dog and the squirrels), her favourite book and George Clooney. George and her husband could stay on opposite ends of the island.