Vocal health: Reduce muscle tension issues and power up your voice

vocal health

Improve your vocal health, reduce muscle tension and free the innate power your voice with top vocal coach Elissa Weinzimmer.

Have you ever had that experience where you’re singing and suddenly your throat starts feeling progressively tighter and tighter, and it becomes an uphill battle to keep getting sound out?

Or that thing where you have the big gig and you sail through on adrenaline (including the party at the bar afterwards where everyone is shouting at each other over the noise), and then wake up the next morning to realize you’re not going to be able to sing or speak for a few days?

Stories like this don’t have to be happening. But most of us don’t know what to do when we’re having vocal challenges, or suffering poor vocal health, so we operate the only way we know how: we push and then we rest. We push again and then we rest again. The problem is we don’t understand the major damage we could be doing by over-using and abusing our voice. I know this issue personally, which is why I’ve created the Release Your Voice online course to share how to avoid and resolve vocal muscle tension.

My vocal health story

During my early singing career, I experienced vocal strain with way too much regularity. But I ignored it until an extreme episode stopped me in my tracks.

I was 21 years old and it was my final semester of university. I was screlting (yes, scream-belting) What A Feeling from Flashdance in my a cappella group, performing in a production of Angels in America, and drinking alcohol many evenings of the week. Little did I know I was creating the perfect storm.

I clearly remember the Sunday morning that I woke up barely able to talk and feeling like I had shards of glass in my throat. Later that day I spat up blood. As soon as I could, I made an appointment with an otolaryngologist to have my vocal cords scoped.

The doctor told me I had signs of acid reflux, and I’d experienced vocal trauma from over-use. He prescribed a proton pump inhibitor and vocal rest.

After a few weeks of rest and medication, I returned for a check-up. I was surprised and confused when the doctor said: “Great, everything looks fine now!” This didn’t make sense. It still hurt to speak and sing, and my stamina was gone. Something had happened that wasn’t fixed.

It took me years to realise that the experience I’d had was common, and the unexplained factor was something called muscle tension dysphonia. That clinical term is really a fancy way to say that habitual tightness in the neck, larynx, jaw, shoulders, or tongue is preventing you from making a free and easy sound.

It was a total lightbulb moment for me when I realised that my voice wasn’t coming back fully because I was locked in patterns of tension. After years of research into theatre and singing voice pedagogy, vocal health, speech science, yoga, somatics, and meditation, it all finally made sense.

How I can help you

In my work as a vocal coach now, I bring together everything I’ve learned in my years of self-exploration and studies to help students reduce vocal tension and free the innate power of their voices.

The Release Your Voice online course is a 20-week curriculum in which I share how to super-charge your breath support, release tension in the most common problem areas, enhance your resonance for more sound with less work, and apply your new learning to speaking, singing, and your overall health.

It is my sincere wish that more singers and speakers knew this information. I wish less of us were fighting a battle against vocal tension. I’m honoured that my own difficult experience led me on a path to help.

Website: voicebodyconnection.com


Elissa Weinzimmer is a vocal health educator, presence coach, and the founder of Voice Body Connection. After suddenly losing her own voice at age 21, Elissa stopped performing and began studying the mechanics of voice. Over time she developed a unique, concrete approach to coaching that empowers performers, leaders, and speakers to optimise their voices and share them more authentically. Elissa's clients include Broadway stars, television personalities, politicians, and CEOs. She holds an MFA in Theatre Voice Pedagogy from the University of Alberta and a BA from the University of Southern California. She is certified in Fitzmaurice Voicework® and Hatha yoga. She is based in New York.