Storytelling Tips For Protecting Your Voice


  1. Healthy Body
    Plenty of Sleep, regular, moderate exercise, nutritious food and vitamins are what a number of tellers do to keep the whole “instrument” in good working condition. Alice Evergreen believes posture to be important to good storytelling. Linda says “Smoking – deadly. Don’t do it and if you are around smokers, drink more water and stick your head out the door until it’s time for you to go on.”
  2. Germs
    Schools are a hotbed of germs. Susan Fulbright suggests avoid touching hands and washing your hands before eating. Washing your hands frequently and avoiding hand to your face contact reduce chance of infection. Most germs are passed by hand to face contact.
  3. Water
    There can never be enough said about H2O. Susan Fulbright believes in hydrating with vitamin C. Linda thinks temperature doesn’t matter, but hot water with lemon is good for fighting congestion. Other tellers say when flying or driving long distances, drink water to keep hydrated in the dry air that is piped in. A good way to stay properly hydrated during dry winters or scorching summers is to drink water after every urination.
  4. Lozenges
    Some Tellers use zinc lozenges, but Linda warns some create a goo in your throat and can turn your tongue unattractive colors your audience can see. Amanda Shelly know of slippery bark products that lubricate without leaving mucus or color.
  5. Vocal Coaching
    Leisure Learning offers vocal coaching, but some warm up can be done with humming, as practiced by Brian Herod, or singing. Linda uses singing not only to warm up her voice, but to get her in the mood for telling. Her favorites are “Friends in Los Places” and songs by Bette Midler. Pick songs with varied range and sing softly to avoid vocal strain before you perform. Alice Evergreen uses yawning to loosen the jaw and stretch the mouth and neck. She also takes a deep breath and exhales before starting her set. “It expels bad air and when you inhale again to start, you have fresh air”, she says. Jeannine Beekman, Long time HSG member and well known storyteller, teaches a workshop on voice care and Linda Befeld says you should participate if you get the change.

Thanks to Linda Befeld and others who contributed to these tips.