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Vocal Rest: AGAIN

Resize  I don't expect many of you to remember my last post 5 MONTH AGO (!!!!!!!!) about the issues I was having with my voice during Picnic.  Basically, I got bronchitis the week before we opened and was unable to do the preview night performance because my chords were so stripped from coughing that I couldn't produce vibration.  At all.

Luckily, we have an amazing Voice and Speech faculty here at UNCSA, and with their guidance and a lot of nursing I was able to perform every show in the run.  I went on full vocal rest for an entire week, only speaking during the warm up and the show.  My steam cup, Throat Coat tea, and slippery elm became my besties.

Right after Picnic closed, we started working on Two Gentlemen of Verona: The Musical.  It's a rock musical with a lot of mixing and belting, which I love and is my strength in singing.  Naturally, I wanted to give it my all throughout the process...only problem:  I had never regained my upper resonators.

I still haven't.  5 MONTHS LATER!

This is a huge wake up call for me.  It's scary and incredibly frustrating to be unable to use your full voice as an almost-professional voice-user.  We closed the musical on Saturday and my voice (even the mid range) is incredibly weak.  I could blame this on a lot of things:  The fact that we were told repeatedly during the musical that marking vocally in rehearsal was unacceptable, that I'm at a conservatory with a very busy schedule and without the time to rest my voice and my body properly, the plague being passed back and forth between my class that has been infecting us for months, and more.  But the real issue here is that I need to take better care of my voice.

25194_1211230886312_1394948329_30488615_5746487_n  Sure, I've been drinking copious amounts of tea and using a steam cup pretty regularly for the past few months.  But have I stopped when I knew I'd reached my limit over and over this term?  No.  It is my instinct to come through, even if that meant I had to push through.  No one likes being on vocal rest (especially when everyone you love can only be reached through the phone), but should I have been more selective about when and how I was using my voice for the last half of the year?  Yes.  And that isn't on anyone except for me.  I've realized that taking care of my instrument and knowing when to stop is 'professional'; pushing your way through something that may cause long term damage is not.

I feel like I should've had the wake up call that I needed to be on vocal rest before now, but part of me realizes that sometimes lessons have to be learned the hard way in life.  I have been fed invaluable information on how to care for my voice throughout my four years here, but there had never been a situation that called for putting that information to practice.  It's easy to think, "Oh, I'll be fine".  Especially when you want to be so badly.

I am the one putting myself on vocal rest, and I will listen to my body and start using my voice again when it tells me it's okay.  I'm so serious about this that I'm even putting off making some phone calls about wedding planning that I was supposed to make today until tomorrow!

Keep your fingers crossed that I make progress in healing quickly...also keep your fingers crossed that there are lots of friends on Facebook Chat to 'talk' to!

--Jasmine Anne Osborne

Photo by Dave Brown Photography

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Comments

Mariana

Get well soon Jasmine!

Corina

Jasmine,
It's great that you can be so honest about the issues you're facing. Congrats for enforcing vocal rest on yourself, it's impressive when someone knows their body's limits and is willing to stand up for them. Good luck with repairing your voice!

Corina

Jasmine Osborne

Thanks so much! I really appreciate it!

Jeffrey Alani Stanfill

Jasmine, I am so sorry to hear that you have not regained your upper resonators. I have been in your situation and it was only until I found the right voice teacher that I was able to recover my voice in these types of situations. Throat coat tea and steaming only go so far as does vocal rest. I truly believe that until you learn to do vocal exercises that thin out the vocal chords, even when sick, you will continually have this problem. My voice teacher works on getting the vocal folds on the "lean side" first and then the voice begin to phonate freely. Then he uses a lot of lower back expansion to "hold the breath back", keeping the air pressure off the chords which allows the throat muscles to relax. If you want to learn more feel free to write me back>

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