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I am able to sing for a long time in head voice without any straining and hoarseness. However, in my work as a classroom teacher, I become very hoarse from speaking. What might be the issue here, and how would I treat it? What type of exercises should be used?

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    Since it seems like your musical technique is working for you, this is probably not among the topics covered here, since you’re basically looking for advice on “speaking technique.“ but I suspect you’ll get the most benefit by changing what you do more than how you do it. like, the simplest and best advice is simply to use your voice less. obviously, you can’t just rest your voice in the classroom, but it might be pedagogically interesting to explore ways to ”do less with more,” like hand signals instead of yelling for quiet. May 2, 2023 at 22:12
  • Based on my own experience classroom teaching, you’re probably using much more vocal volume than you’re aware on average, just to talk over the background noise or fill a large space. As far as technique is concerned, you might look into the kinds of approaches to professional actors use, to “project“ without straining their voice. meanwhile, see what you can do to make your environment kinder to your voice, and to rest it wherever you can throughout your life. May 2, 2023 at 22:15
  • @Andy Bonner As it happens, I use a mic in class, so I don't think I'm adding volume, as I have no need to do that... May 2, 2023 at 22:32
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    I’m voting to close this question because this question is not music related.
    – Aaron
    May 3, 2023 at 23:28
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    Counter: I think the core of the question is vocal health, and the principles involved correspond directly to "instrument maintenance" for singers, plus efficient sound production in the vocal mechanism. I'd like this open!
    – user45266
    May 4, 2023 at 4:06

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I'm by no means any expert, but one possibility that comes to mind is that you may be trying to force a louder volume over subconsciously restraining your voice to the "inside voice" you've learned to speak as a child. That's straining.

The way an actor should speak on stage in order to be heard in the theatre has been described to me as "like a toddler", i. e. full volume, don't restrain your voice. Don't force a louder voice, but relax and just let it out. It really is something aspiring actors need to relearn. The same thing should help you even when you aren't an actor, but similarly to them, need to be heard across a larger room where your audience is at much longer distance than conversational.

If that sounds familiar, you may want to channel your inner toddler that didn't worry about being disruptive and would just happily talk loud. We're capable of talking loud like that all life long, we've just been taught not to do it, and many of us have forgotten how to switch our atenuator off.

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  • Can you please elaborate on what you mean by 'restraining to inner voice'? May 3, 2023 at 19:56
  • Just the standard everyday practice of speaking in appropriate volume for conversation with a partner right next to you, not disturbing a whole crowd around. That actually requires actively holding the voice down, but we're so used to doing it that we don't even notice.
    – Divizna
    May 3, 2023 at 20:56

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