Friday, September 30, 2011

My Merry Mom Made Marmelade

Progress! I just had my third voice rehabilitation session. I am pleased to report that my voice is... improving! Jennifer Keyges, my therapist, noted that my voice is less scratchy and I am able to sustain notes longer and with better quality. She deemed me ready to go to the next level. This is the tool to help me get there.

Yes,  a kazoo!

The exercises I have been doing thus far centered around the middle of the body stack that we use to speak and sing.  At the bottom is respiration (diaphragm and lungs). In the middle is phonation (the vocal folds)  and at the top is resonance (mouth, nose).

We've been mostly working on phonation because of the damage to my vocal chords. As I've been working to sustain sounds, there has been some breath work involved and there will be more as I progress.  But now I am ready for resonance work.

Which brings me to the kazoo. As I was focused on taking a deep breath to sustain the sounds in the first set of exercises, I had some trouble switching from the gentle expelling of air to the "hum" necessary now. To play a kazoo, you don't blow, you hum. So these exercises start with a hum of the sound on the kazoo for about two or three seconds and then flow into chanting voiced "m" or "n" exercises. It begins with molm, molm, molm and goes to meem, meem, meem, and then moom, moom, moom. If I didn't feel silly enough doing that... we moved to sentences.


Mary made me mad.
My mom may marry Marv.
My merry mom made marmalade.

None know nothing now.
Nine knew nothing.
Name nine new names now.

I am becoming more and more aware of how I produce sound and where in my body the sound travels.

My assignment for the next few weeks is to continue the original exercises and add resonance chanting three to five times a day. I am happy to do this. My voice feels stronger and I find myself singing in the car a bit. I'm not ready for singing publicly but now believe it will happen one day. I'm so grateful.

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