There Is No Weakness in Admitting Weakness: Some News to Help You Stop Feeding the Shame Spiral

August 15, 2018

 

When I was performing consistently, I felt like the theatre finding out I was have voice problems was the end of the world.  I remember hearing whispers of how you won’t get hired again if They find out because They want singers who can sing strong 8 shows a week; once They know you’ve been injured, They’ll just expect it to happen again and so won’t hire you.  This only added to the stress of having voice challenges, which only fed the voice challenges…

 

Ninety two percent of singers have mild dysphonia each year, at least once a year.  That’s almost EVERYBODY. Moderate dysphonia? That’s 68% of you annually. Severe dysphonia--as in you can’t hold a note, the sound doesn’t come out when you try to start phonating, you can’t transition between your registers-- is 27%.  That is more than one in every four singers. My point is, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. So do something and stop suffering in silence.

 

One study found that musical theatre singers sought treatment an average of 38 hours prior to performance whereas opera singers did so with an average of 69 hours prior.  That’s almost twice as early! Let’s set aside the question of whether or not a musical theatre singer is ever more than 38 hours prior to performance when they are able to seek treatment (Monday morning at 8am is 36 hours prior to Tuesday night at 8.  Just sayin’). But maybe you’re only singing 5 shows a week, or you don’t have a Tuesday night show… There’s no reason to tough it out, to wait and see if your voice gets better on its own. Opera singers see an ENT as soon as they feel something is up..  Musical theatre singers can do this, too! Do it when you can.  What’s stopping you?

 

Sources: 

 

Mishra, S., Rosen, C. A., Murry, T. (2000). 24 hours prior to curtain.  Journal of Voice, 14, p 92-98.

 

Thomas, T, Balthazar, C., Bonner, J. (thesis… hopefully will be published in the next year or so, cross your fingers). Dysphonia Treatment Seeking and Hygiene Practices of Professional Singers: a Descriptive Study.

 

 

 

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