About six months ago, I really started increasing my time on stage.
About four months ago, I started sounding like Janis Joplin.
About two months ago, I couldn't get through a performance without completely losing my voice...and then I was seriously hoarse for two days.
After seeing an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor--and then a Speech Pathologist--I learned that I have very small nodules on my vocal chords. I created these through improper use of my vocal instrument. While I know what a diaphragm IS, I apparently haven't been using it correctly. Working on that...
However, the Speech Pathologist told me I needed to begin my treatment with 5-7 days of Voice Rest. Yep, this big mouth had to try to not speak for at least five days. Heh.
I also found tremendous benefits in this experience. I appreciated the moments of silence, of introspection. I found myself waiting to talk until I actually had something of value to say...talking to express something essential rather than talking just to fill up space. And I now sound like myself again. Yay--my voice is back!
This morning, I came back from our fall break to teach a mini-workshop with my core class of seventh- and eighth-graders. As I've noticed with this class before, their focus is impressive and their commitment level is their greatest challenge. We're still working on this--it'll be our challenge throughout the year. However, I find it's necessary to notice the gifts as well as the difficulties faced by any given group. When I assigned my class 24 hours of silence--beginning this afternoon--I was initially met with incredulous stares and concerned questions. But, by the end of the day, they seemed almost giddy about the idea; they were ready to take on the challenge. Jimi already surprised me with his observation: "I think it will give us a chance to REALLY listen...not just wait for our turn to talk."
What they may lack in enthusiasm and "commitment", they more than make up for in insight. I can't wait to see what they notice after their 24 hours.