This question is a very important issue for all teachers but especially elementary music teachers who use their voices constantly, all day, every day.
How do I save my voice?Because of the nature of what you do, you will strain your voice, especially at the beginning of every year and also, right after any lengthy breaks. Even though I usually lost my voice at least once every year, there were several things I did that kept the loss to a minimum.
- Keep a large cup of water beside your chair all day. And drink it! Refill and drink some more!
- Use recordings to help you teach, rehearse, and review songs. No matter what anyone says about how important it is for your students to sing along with you and to hear you sing (and it is), if you lose your voice because of over-use, that becomes irrelevant. Just be sure the recordings you use have top quality children's voices and your children will be just fine. They actually benefit from singing along with children who are using their voices correctly.
- Use a recorder to give starting pitch. That's the next best thing to using your voice. It has the soft quality and flute-like sound that you want your students to have.
- Pace yourself and your lessons by distributing movement, listening, small-group, and partner activities in-between the singing activities.
- When (not "if") you lose your voice, gargle with apple cider vinegar. It's nasty, but it works better than anything I tried. Your voice comes back quicker.