Quiet? Confident? Our voice speaks volumes about who we are. Here’s some tips from Australian Opera singer and founder of The 7 Sopranos, Tarita Botsman-Carbo, to help you make the most of your voice and put your best foot forward in life.
1. Sing everyday – it feels good, reduces stress, releases endorphins and is great training for every part of your voice.
2. Always warm up your voice, particularly before a speech or important phone call where you want to sound warm and engaging. You can do this by humming your favourite tune, or pretending you have a delicious piece of food in your mouth that you are chewing!
3. Practise speaking with plenty of air behind every word. Inhale and take a big breath in place of ‘umms’ and ‘ahhs’. You’ll sound more confident without them.
4. If you are somewhere where it’s hard to talk, pitch your voice higher, not lower, to be heard more easily.
5. If you lose your voice, or it’s feeling tired – inhale steam from a bowl of boiling water and thyme oil to reduce inflammation.
6. Drink lots of water every day – hydrated vocal cords make for a happy voice.
7. Avoid rich food, that can cause reflux, the night before an occasion where you are using your voice a lot.
8. If you find your mouth is dry and in need of saliva, press your tongue behind your top teeth and wriggle it around. You will find instant relief.
9. Try not to cough excessively and clear your throat. Your vocal cords which are two delicate folds of muscle, so if you really need to clear your throat, be sure to take a good breath before to minimize the impact.
10. Record yourself, speak in the mirror, or sing in the shower. Be honest. Do you like how you sound? If you are not happy with some aspect, seek help from a professional singing teacher, vocal coach or speech pathologist.