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Care For Your Voice!. How to protect and make the most of your voice in Language Teaching!. TALK, Chatter, gossip,. Everyone All things to all people All day long, every day Whether you feel like it or not!! Amounting to a lot of…. VOICE WORK!. Common Vocal Challenges in LanguageTeaching.

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Care For Your Voice!

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Care for your voice

Care For Your Voice!

How to protect and make the most of your voice in Language Teaching!

Talk chatter gossip

TALK, Chatter, gossip,

  • Everyone

  • All things to all people

  • All day long, every day

  • Whether you feel like it or not!!

  • Amounting to a lot of….

Voice work


Common vocal challenges in languageteaching

Common Vocal Challenges in LanguageTeaching

  • Variety of interactions

  • Problem spaces

  • Challenging situations

  • Learners’ needs

  • The need to keep on top of everything

  • Very little voice training

Fundamental resource




Over worked




Poor reception by student

Poor reception by student!

  • Lack of clarity

  • Weak carrying power

  • Restricted vocal variety

  • Reduced tonal quality

Personal stress leading to

PERSONAL STRESS!!!!!!!!!! Leading to..




M O R E S T R E S S!

How stress affects the voice

How stress affects the voice

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Aching neck

  • Backache & muscle tension

  • Fatigue

  • Frequent urination & diarrhoea

  • Immune system reduced

  • Indigestion

  • Clarity problems

Professional stress leading to

PROFESSIONAL STRESS!!!!!!!!!! Leading to..

Over preparation and over work

Lack of effectiveness

Confidence problems

M O R E S T R E S S!

Left unchecked this can lead to

Left unchecked this can lead to..

  • Vocal strain

  • Vocal problems

  • Voice Loss

The vocal tract

The Vocal Tract

What do vocal folds look like

What do vocal folds look like?


Vocal cords close and vibrate


Vocal Cords are Open

Vocal folds opening and closing

Vocal Folds Opening and Closing

Many times

Many Times!

Vocal cord nodules

Vocal Cord Nodules

Drink to your health


  • Keep the vocal folds moist!

  • Sip of water for ever 15 – 20 mins speaking!!

  • Rest whenever possible!!!

For clear speech we need

For clear speech we need……..

Power +

Vibration +






  • Clarity

  • Intent

  • Focus

Posture make an entrance

Posture - make an entrance!

  • Are you in control?

  • Are you relaxed?

  • Ready for action?

    What are my bad habits?!

Posture points


  • Open

  • Balanced

  • Free unrestricted

Vocal restriction

Vocal Restriction?




Prepare the body for speech

Prepare the body for speech

  • Stretching

  • Moving

  • Opening the chest

  • Relaxing the shoulders,head and neck

  • Jaws!

  • Face

Be prepared


Warm up!

Tune in!!

Calm down!!

Before you begin


Unrestricted clothing

Drop the heavy clutter

Free the body – free the voice!

A warmed voice means warm tones

- A warmed voice means warm tones!

  • Yawn with an ah to open the throat

  • Breathe out to a ‘sh;

    Hum up and down a scale

  • Me ma mo may me

  • Many men, many men etc

  • All I want is a proper cup of coffee made in a proper copper coffee pot .

Are my breaths big enough

Are my breaths big enough?!

  • Freeing the voice

  • Big Sound/volume

  • Balancing our thinking

  • Breath for speech

  • Breath for Life!

Easy breathing

Easy Breathing

  • Sit with back to chair elbows on knees, chin on hands – breathe in

  • Breath and out on fff, vvvv, zzzzz

  • Stand in star position, breathe out on an s, as you do bend over to touch floor(allow knees to bend) pause until you feel the need to breathe.

  • Say the months of the year (in English or Welsh) on one even breath!

Work those consonants

Work those consonants

Where do you perceive the consonants are formed?

Which articulators are connecting?

  • Both lips?

  • Top teeth and bottom lip?

  • Tongue and teeth?

  • Tongue to gum ridge?

  • Tongue to hard palate?

  • Back of tongue to soft palate???



  • Clocks ticking, ticking clocks, tick tock,

  • Five from four fives leaves fifteen

  • Charlie chose hunky chicken chips

  • ‘K’ kkkkk, ‘g’ggggg ‘p’ppppp bbbbb

    ‘t’tttt ‘d’dddd

Place and use your vowels

Place and use your vowels

  • Where are they formed?

  • Long or short?

  • Carrying power?



  • as/oo/ay/or/ah make the vowels last as long as you can

  • Ah – chest resonance

  • W – mouth resonance

  • Eat up Arthur I urge you!

  • The five parked cars are mine

  • Ahoy there, Ahoy

Be clear be heard be effective

Be clear! Be Heard! Be Effective!

  • Consonants for:

    • Clarity

    • Audibility

    • Impact (clout!)

  • Vowels

    • Warmth

    • Mood

    • Meaning

  • What do need to say?

  • How do I want to say it??

Establish your vocal territory

Establish your vocal territory

Fix the state of mind

Establish control

Find breath, tone, focus

How do you sound

How do you sound?!

  • Wobbly

  • Tight

  • Nasal

  • High pitched

  • Monotonous

  • Robotic

  • Uncomfortable?

    Change your tune

    Match your ‘music’ to the message

And your tone

And your tone?

  • This is an interesting topic?

    You’re going to enjoy this

    I’m so lucky to be doing this

  • It’s so lovely to see you all



  • Energy in words

  • Vitality of voice

  • Power rather than projection!

Vocal variety increase your personal presence

Vocal Variety – Increase your Personal Presence

  • Pitch

  • Pace

  • Pause

  • Pronunciation

  • Power

Relax breathe and articulate the following

Relax, Breathe and articulate the following

“Oh! But he was a tight-fisted, hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A Squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no spark had ever struck out generous fire; secret and self-contained as an oyster.”

FromA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

What must i do to make it easier

What must I do to make it easier?

  • Breath support

  • Warm ups

  • Effort away from throat!!

  • Anchoring when having to speak loudly

  • Avoid shouting/clearing the throat

  • Not competing with background noise

  • Devising other methods of calling attention

  • Sips of water

  • Relaxed body – safeguarding posture

Each day

Each Day

Keep a check on

  • Posture

  • Breathing

  • Relaxation

  • Articulation

  • Reduce lecturer talking time

  • Increase volume through resonance

  • Use face and gesture, non verbal communication!

Problems and warning signs

Problems and Warning Signs

  • Breaks in the voice

  • Changes in pitch or volume

  • Changes in vocal quality

  • Changes in the body

  • Increased effort

  • Recurring loss of voice

  • Sensation of ‘lump in the throat’



  • Talking or singing at a high or artificially reduced volume levels

  • Talking or singing with cramped neck position, distorted laryngeal position, a clenched jaw, inadequate or excessive mouth opening

  • Throat clearing or coughing

  • Shouting, screaming or yelling

  • Talking or singing with insufficient air



  • Keeping larynx too high in the neck or using too high or low a pitch level.

  • Talking or singing for too long

  • Trying to be heard over the top of other speakers or background noise.

  • Making noises, imitating animal sounds, TV characters.(small children)

  • Tryng to over-compensate for a vocal problem, thereby altering muscle position and tone.

Home help

Home Help

  • Reduce voice use

  • Increase hydration, reduce alcohol, cigarettes

  • Voice and body rest

  • Keep larynx and vocal tract moist – steam the back of the throat

  • Gargle with salty water

  • Always warm the voice before use

  • Avoid medicated throat pastilles that kill pain

Seeking medical help

Seeking medical help

  • Go to GP

  • Referral to ENT

  • ENT takes case history and visualises larynx with endoscope or laryngeal mirror

  • If nothing sinister, refer to SLT for further assessment & advice

  • Individual or group therapy as necessary

  • Voice clinic

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