Voice production and Voice Care information

Voice Diagram

How is Voice Produced

There are three main systems to voice production: Power, Source, and Filter. Each system is equally important. The main goal in voice training is to work on all these systems to improve coordination and maintain a balance between all three systems.

The systems are described briefly below.

Power (Respiration)

Our lungs provide the in and out air flow needed for voice. We breathe air in to expand our lungs. As we breathe out, this air is pushed from the lungs back up through the voice box (larynx) and out through our mouth/nose.

There are correct and incorrect ways to breathe, and it is important we have strong breath support as a good foundation for voice production. We will work on breathing to make sure you have good control and support for your voice.

Source (Phonation)

The air pushed up by our lungs travels through the windpipe to the voice box (larynx). The voice box is a system of cartilages, muscles, ligaments and mucous membranes whose main purpose is to control the vocal cords. This is where the sound is produced.

We will work on exercises and education to support you with good vocal health, and specific exercises to increase the range, flexibility, efficiency and stamina of your voice.

Filter (Resonance)

The sound then travels up to the filter which is made up of the bony spaces in our throat and head, such as the mouth and the nasal cavity. The teeth, tongue and lips, then shape the air and sound to vibrate in different ways. This is what makes our voice sound unique.

We may work on your resonance by altering how you shape the air and sound you are producing to achieve goals around voice change.

Voice Care

Vocal health is extremely important to a healthy voice. Lifestyle, diet, exercise and vocal habits that maximise vocal health will result in a healthier voice, ensuring a good base for your ongoing voice training.

Please review the list below to learn some great ways to improve and maintain your vocal health prior to coming in for training in the clinic. Good vocal health will provide a stable base for the voice training required to meet your goals.

Voice Care suggestions:

  • Stay hydrated – try to drink around 2 litres of water every day to support internal hydration
  • Try to reduce caffeine intake. If you do have a caffeinated drink, match it with a glass of water
  • Try to minimise time spent in dusty or dry environments where possible
  • Limit or try to eliminate throat clearing. You can try to replace this behaviour with a firm swallow or sip of water
  • Avoid excessive yelling or use compensatory strategies, such as moving closer to your conversation partner, to avoid yelling
  • Avoid excessive whispering
  • Try to avoid coughing, and when necessary, cough gently and sip water after coughing
  • Rest the voice when it feels tired and if you can, try alternating talking time with quiet time to adjust voice usage levels
  • Take actions to prevent reflux e.g. avoid triggering foods  and avoid eating immediately before lying down. If reflux persists it may be worth talking to your GP to address options to reduce presentation
  • Be aware that smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke are damaging to your voice and may compromise your vocal quality
  • Avoid menthol-based throat lozenges or inhalations as they can dry the mucous lining of the throat , try sugar free lollies instead.
  • Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including having enough sleep