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3 Habits To An Unhealty Voice (Vlog)- Sound better now by avoiding these habits!

Do you lose your voice easily?

Often suffer from vocal strain?

And often find your voice sounding scratchy and weak?

Sound better now by avoiding these habits!

Yo! Since I’ve shared quite a lot of vocal tips on singing and vocal techniques that can help you improve your voice, this time I thought I’d share 3 habits to an unhealthy voice. If you’ve been practicing any of these habits, it’s time to put an end to it because if you’ve been doing any these enough, it could cause some vocal damage and the quality of your voice to deteriorate over time. *gasp*

So avoid these habits at all costs! 🙂

1. Throat Clearing

This is a common habit – a lot of people practice this almost every day, without giving it much thought. This throat-clearing business however, is not good for your voice. It causes a lot of unnecessary tension and pressure on your vocal cords and most of the time, many do it out of habit, rather than because they really need to. The next time you feel that tickling sensation in your throat, try to resist the urge to clear your throat. Instead, swallow or drink some water. Most of the time it’s not phlegm that’s caught in our vocal cords. Most of the time it’s just the feeling that we need to clear the throat, and once we get that started, it drags us into a vicious cycle of keep having to clear our throats, over and over again. So if you’re having phlegm in your throat the next time, it might be better to cough it out VERY gently (not to the extent where you feel like you’re coughing out your lungs or blood), or let it take its time to get out or dissolve on its own.

2. Whisper

If you find yourself whispering pretty often – STOP! Whispering also causes unnecessary tension on the vocal cords. If you find yourself constantly in an environment (at work or even at school) where you always have to whisper just to communicate with others – it’s bad for your voice, especially if you do it often enough. Just imagine, putting all these unnecessary tension on your vocal cords, on your little muscles in your voice box every – the constant tension can eventually lead to inflammation of the vocal cords and even vocal damage as a result of the formation of vocal nodules from too much inflammation. We don’t want that!

So instead of whispering the next time, try speaking quietly (or softer) instead. And there is a difference to whispering and speaking quietly! When we whisper, there’s a lot of air exhaled as we speak, and a lot of tension on our vocal cords when we whisper. However, when we speak quietly, the vocal cords are phonating as we’d normally do when we speak, with less pressure and tension. So, differentiate the two for yourself – determine if you are whispering, or if you’re speaking softly the next time, and always chose to speak softly rather than whisper. This is important especially at times when you are ill. If you’re already unwell, your having a sore throat, or you’ve been having a cold/flu and your vocal cords are already inflamed, or you’re losing your voice – the worst thing you can do, is to whisper. If you see an ENT (Ear, nose & throat) specialist, he/she would tell you the same.

The best thing to do when you are losing your voice or when your vocal cords are down (inflamed), is to KEEP QUIET ENTIRELY. Get yourself a writing board or a writing pad and communicate with others by writing on it instead of speaking. It sounds silly, but at times like that, if you want a speedy recovery,  you need to do whatever it takes to shut your voice down and just allow it to rest completely – NO SPEAKING OR SINGING, and definitely no whispering. Just by muting yourself completely for a few days,  your voice would be able to recover more swiftly than you can imagine.

3. Vocal Abuse

There are many ways that vocal abuse can happen.

Bad Technique

Most of the time, vocal abuse is caused by bad vocal technique practiced over a period of time. When people think about vocal techniques, most would assume it concerns only the techniques that we’re using in singing. However, the vocal techniques that we use as we speak is equally important, if not even more. This is because we spend more time speaking then singing through out the day, and if we’re practising bad vocal technique when we’re speaking, the effects on the voice could be tremendously negative.

Take whispering for example – someone who whispers often throughout the day would find his/her voice deteriorating and tiring out much faster throughout the day as compared to another who speaks with good vocal projection and good engagement of his/her vocal mask.

Of course the question is, how do we know if we’re practicing bad vocal technique? It’s simple.

If you find yourself experiencing vocal fatigue (your throat feels dry no matter how much water you’ve been drinking or strained and hoarse) even though you’ve only been speaking for a couple of hours, they are signs that you’re practising bad vocal technique. When we use good vocal technique, the voice is able to sustain for hours without fatique, strain or loss of tone quality.

Diet

This one’s a little tricky because every individual is different.

For some of us, taking a lot of spicey food could be the trigger for a lot of phelgm in our throats. For others, it could be dairy products and more. Only you would know exactly what sort of consumables can trigger such a reaction in you – excessive amounts of mucous/phelgm to be produced in your nasal cavity or your vocal tract. If there are foods and/or drinks that causes such reaction for you (and for most of us, it could be alcohol), avoid overconsuming any of such foods and/or drinks, especially when you’ve got a presentation or vocal performance coming up. You want to make sure that your voice is in its top form and its performance and/or delivery is not disrupted by the production of excessive mucous/phelgm.

Lack Of Sleep

If you don’t sleep enough, you’re not doing your voice any favours. Sleep is the best way for the body to rest replenish and recuperate. And this is true for the voice too. It does the same for our vocal cords. When we sleep, we allow the body to do whatever it needs to do help remoisture the vocal cords again, the vocal cords to take a break and etc. That explains why the moment we first wake up, is usually the time when we feel like both our nasal and vocal tracts have most mucous – hence the urge to clear our throats and such.

Sleeping allows the body to recondition the voice back to it’s healthy (and moist) form, so that we can produce good vocal phonation again the very next day. To put it simply, getting enough sleep is a great way to keep your voice healthy. How much sleep is enough? It varies from individual to another, but generally 7 – 8 hours of sleep is good, but should you not be able to get those full 7 or 8 hours at all, it’s best to steal some sleep whenever you can. It’s better than not sleeping at all, for sure!

If you know you’ve got a presentation or singing performance coming up, make sure you get good sleep not just the night before, but nights before if possible 🙂

Keep these 3 habits in mind the next time you use your voice – run away from them as far as possible!

If you want your voice to perform at its top form, at its 100% best, you’ve gotta keep it healthy.

There’s no better person to do this than you.

By admin

Speaking at Toastmasters’ Annual Conference – “Shine!”

The last two weeks have been crazy – been working around the clock, more than 12 hours out and running about most days, making my brain and fingers simply too tired to blog about anything by the time I got home! Haha…

But I’m not complaining. I always think having work to do is fantastic, especially when it’s work that you love to do 🙂

Part of the reason why I’ve been so busy is because I’ve been working on a new project lately, of which I can’t wait to share with the world! Muahahaha….I’ll blog about that another day. That, coupled with the events, talks and vocal lessons I have to conduct recently have rendered me completely lifeless by the time I got home. My poor hubby and Fergie (my alaskan malamute) have been very much neglected 😛

Thought I’d just drop a quick one here since the photos are out from my talk at the Toastmasters’ Annual Conference, “Shine”. It was a district conference, so quite a number of Toastmasters (both experienced and new) turned up and I did a “Voice Out!” Session with them 🙂

Despite it being a brief session, I’m happy to say that with their amazing particpation, we managed to achieve the “3 components of A Powerful Sound” in their voices! We worked on improving their vocal projection, intonation and expression using specific vocal techniques to help them project their voices more effortlessly, increase their vocal range and flexibility in intonation and having more character to their voices.

Needless to say, by the end of the session, everyone (every single person in the hall) was not only speaking back to me on stage with a better projected voice and better vocal range, but even singing high notes that they didn’t think they could reach! 😀 The smiles and satisfactions on their faces having accomplished these were priceless. I am so happy whenever I’ve helped another realise their true vocal potential.

The pursuit of a great sounding voice always starts by one first realising their true vocal potential – the seeds have been planted and I’m sure they’ll grow.

We all had a good time and we owe it to Selina, Kay & Kingston from Toastmasters to have put this together. And of course, also to Moon & Adam from our UYV Team, who’s been working alongside them to make this happen.

If it wasn’t for them, I would have had less time to breathe…so thank you, guys! 🙂









 

 

By admin

A Quick Remedy for Nasal Congestions, Sore Throats & Inflamed Vocal Cords

Hello!

I know it’s been a while since I dropped my vocal tips on Youtube – it’s because I’ve been doing so via Facebook instead every Tuesday or Thursday (what I call “Talk Tuesdays/Thursdays”).  I’ve been going on live on Facebook to answer all the vocal questions you’ve been sending me (some related to Public Speaking, mostly Singing) and also doing demonstrations on how to solve some of the vocal problems and challenges you’re going through there. It’s a live vocal Q&A sessino I’ve been trying to have every week.

When exactly will be the nect Facebook Live Q&A session? Stay tuned to Facebook.com/JaniceYapFB and I’ll keep you posted there. I’ve been meaning to keep this a weekly at thing. However, so far I haven’t been able to make it every single week because of my busy schedule. Nonetheless, I’ll come on as often as I can! Thanks for joining me in every session thus far 😀

Alright, so what do I have lined up for you today, literally?

The Euky Bear Steam Inhaler!

I found this while I was just strolling around at a Pharmacy the other day, and when I did, I thought to myself, “My dream has finally come true!”.

I’ve been seaching for a steam inhaler for ages. I know you can find them online, but I always prefered to buy a steam inhaler like this one – simple, portable and reusable. This is what every speaker or singer should have, especially if you’re the sort of person who always find that you’re often down with nasal congestions, prone to sorethroats, inflammed throats or dry throats. This will be perfect for you! For me, this is really handy because due to allergies, I have a lot of ongoing sinusitis problems. This is why I love anything that can give me a quick relief or clearance of nasal congestion.

I talked about vocal hydration before here. In that Vlog, I also explained how long it actually takes for that cup of water you take to hydrate your vocal cords and what you can do to immediately hydrate your vocal cords. However, the method I provided is a very old-school home remedy, where things can be slightly messier. Now, with this Euyky Bear Steam Inhaler, life is gonna be much simpler!

So what exactly is a Euky Bear? A quick look at the bottle will have you think that it’s a kind of koala bear, but it isn’t (yes, I double-checked if there was such a koala breed). In fact, koalas are not even bears…LOL. I always forget that they are marsupials because they look so cuddly, and on the bottle, because of the word Euky Bear paired with that pic of that koala, it’s so easy to think Euky is indeed a koala.

Euky here is really derived from the word Eucalyptus, which is also provided as part of this steam inhaler. The product is Australian, so I guess that explains the koala. Using the eucalyptus along with this steam inhaler can do wonders to clear your nasal congestion and relief the discomforts of a sore and inflamed throat.

So how do we use this Euky Bear Steam Inhaler?

  1. Fill the bottle with hot water. Note: not boiling hot, just hot. Boiling water usually means boiling hot steam, which can burn your skin.
  2. Drop 2 – 3 drops of the eucalyptus into the bottle.
  3. Cover the bottle and then pop in the suction part at the top.
  4. Inhale!

It’s that simple. And it feels amazeballs.

It feels like you’re breathing in cooling fresh minty air and after steaming your vocal and nasal tract, along with your vocal cords, the nasal congestion clears up and your throat feels moist and less painful/uncomfortable. If you find the smell of the Eucalyptus too strong, you can do without it or drop less of it into the bottle. The fragrance is quite strong, and if you’re wondering what it smells like, it smells like the Vics Vapor Rub! And that’s because it also contains Eucalyptus as one of its key ingredients.

 

You can read up more on Eucalyptus and its benefits here.

To keep it simple though, Eucalyptus has antiseptic, anti-inflamatory and anti-bacterial properties, so it’s great. If you’re allergic to it for any reason, just skip this step of adding the eucalyptus.

So the next time you’re down with a cold or sorethroat, you know what to do. Let Euky Bear to come to the rescue! 😛

In case you’re wondering, this is not an ad, but simply something fantastic that I’ve come across by chance in the pharmacy and I thought is too good not to share with all of you singers, speakers and vocal enthusiasts.

Try it out and let me know how it goes!

By admin

Emceeing for The Encore of Feng Shui & Astrology 2017

Lately it’s getting harder to keep everyone posted on my blog on my whereabouts and uptos.

My schedule’s so packed sometimes I feel like I don’t even have time to think! LOL.

I guess this explains why Facebook Live is pretty handy – I can get on, sing a couple of songs, answer all the questions that have been sent to me through out the week and that’s it! I don’t have to do any production work, na-da. All done, just like that. I only wish I had more time to practice my instruments and songs  before I go on “air”, so to speak. But heck, I’m not there to do a show – it’s more like a casual jam and Q&A session to stay in touch with my subcribers and followers, and it’s simply one of the easiest now if I can squeeze in any time in between the crazy schedule 🙂

Here’s an event I emceed recently… been meaning to post this earlier but just couldn’t get around to it until now.

Every year I emcee the world largest metaphysics event, Joey Yap’s Feng Shui & Astrology, which is normally held just before the new lunar year begins. But due to popular demand, there is now also an encore of the event. Not surprisingly, the turn out is huge, yet again, and as long as the day may be, it’s always nice to play a part in keeping everyone smiley, chirpy and informed through out the day.

A photographer once asked me while hosting one of these sort of events, how do you smile all day? How can you still be smiling after a whole long day of talking and standing around in those heels?

 

The funny thing was, I didn’t even realise I was smiling all day. I think the only time I ever realised I was smiling all day was my wedding day – my face felt like it was about to have a spasm. As for the heels, I sit whenever I can in between. I’ve learnt my lesson the hard way (read about it here) to know for a fact that standing all day or even all night in heels can result in feet paralysis & tremendous back-ache the next day.

So how do I smile all day or all night?

I find a way to enjoy myself.

Some events are pretty fun to start with, so it’s not difficult. Others are tougher.

However, to enjoy anything, I believe it starts with you. It’s always important to take or create an interest in the subject or something. It’s very much like watching UFC (although I’m not a hardcore follower) – you can’t truly enjoy the fights if you don’t know where the fighters are coming from, their journey, their history with each other, their profiles & etc.

Ignorance is often the key to making anything entirely boring.

So educate yourself on the subject and make it interesting! Create an interest, even if it’s not your interest to begin with. You don’t have to know the subject like a pro, but if you know it enough to follow the “sport” and enjoy the talents of the people involved, it’s gonna make it all so much more interesting and even entertaining.

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? 🙂

That said, the smiling, which is important in Public Speaking and communication, also comes with practice. I know this because I deal with a lot students (including Toastmasters) who often forget to smile enough while speaking. It’s human nature to have somewhat a more serious or less emotional face when speaking in front of a larger audience – maybe because we feel the weight of everyone’s attention on ourselves.

But smiling & smizing (smiling with your eyes) is so important. And this is particular true for those of us who may have the so-called “Resting Bitch Face”. Why? Because you may be sending out all these negative vibes to others without even knowing it!

If this is new to you, read more about it here from CNN & here from Buzzfeed.

I guess the chinese equivalent to the “Resting Bitch Face” is Yong Sui (bad face). I’m not sure which one sounds better. Both labels simply puts you under the somewhat-revolting-face catergory. LOL.

As a Vocal Coach, very often, I’m asked how does one become a better communicator, and a part from all the usual advice I’d give on the voice, body language and etc, I’d say it wouldn’t hurt by starting with more smiles.

A sincere smile doesn’t cost you anything, and yet, it could be priceless to someone who’s having a bad or uneventful day.

Also something my mother once said, rings a hell lot of the truth.

“A woman is not most beautiful when she is all dressed and made-up. 

A woman is most beautiful when she smiles from her heart and her speech reflects the greatness of her heart.” 

I believe this to be true for men too 🙂

So, why not put on your best self as you speak to anyone else?

With that in mind, have a good weekend, keep smiling and speak from your heart!



By admin

“Angelship” by Janice Yap


There was an angel, whose main responsibility was to appear to humans who were close to death and guide them on to the next life.

This angel was a ‘he’.

One day, while waiting to escort to the other world a man who will not survive a heart surgery, this normally emotionally subdued creature was dazzled – by a female doctor who tried desperately to resuscitate the man, her dead patient. Impressed by her sincere anguish in failing to do so, she suddenly became his treasure trove of curiosities.

He began to “stalk” her – he would follow her closely, study her, and even try to make himself visible to her. This left her confused, because as much as she was attracted to him, the more she knew about him, the less there is to know about him – with no human identity, how could the angel tell her exactly who he was? So, she started to see another guy.

This upset the angel. By now, he was completely preoccupied with her. Convinced that he could only be with her if he too, was a human being, he goes out of his way to find a way to leave his “angelship”. Turns out, the only way was to jump off a skyscraper, and should he survive the fall, then only would he become human. So, he did just that. After a whole lot of trouble surviving the fall and locating the girl, he finally gets to her doorstep. She embraces him, and for the first time, they spent their most “romantic” night together. It seemed like a happy ending.

But if something’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Guess what happens the very next day? She dies. Better yet, guess how she dies? She was out cycling, and while rejoicing over the fact that she could spend the rest of her life with this sweet angel who gave up his immortal status to be with her, she closed her eyes and stretched her hands in the air…only to get hit by a truck.

Moral of the story?

Don’t close your eyes while cycling. AND, don’t date anyone who cycles like that.

That pretty much sums up the film, “City of Angels”. As morbidly dumb as I’ve made it sound, I do remember the show being very romantic and I know just why. The music, and particularly, the song, “Angel” sung by Sarah McLachlan in the film, stirred up emotions tremendously. Many cried as a result of it, despite however “dumb” the storyline is in retrospect. Music tells stories in ways words and pictures alone, couldn’t have done better. And, likewise, the voice (the one musical instrument we were born with) has the same effect on the people we speak to everyday.

The first step to improving your voice is to recognise that it is your God-given musical instrument. We belted ourselves into this world with a magnificent cry when we were born – you’ve got a mighty voice to start with. If you don’t like how you sound today, it’s not because you were born with a lousy voice – you simply don’t know yet how to wield this mighty instrument you have! As the owner of your instrument, you can do what musicians do – tune your instrument and learn how to play it properly, so that you can eventually play it well and sound good doing it.

What would you give up your “angelship” for?

A person? A dream? A piece of treasure? Whatever it is, just make sure it won’t cycle to its death stupidly and hurt you in the end. But if it must, remember to keep the music playing in the background.

In other words, after counting all costs in pursuing your dreams, do whatever you want to do excellently, and do so by using your voice excellently!

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3 Habits To An Unhealty Voice (Vlog)- Sound better now by avoiding these habits!
Speaking at Toastmasters’ Annual Conference – “Shine!”
A Quick Remedy for Nasal Congestions, Sore Throats & Inflamed Vocal Cords
Emceeing for The Encore of Feng Shui & Astrology 2017
“Angelship” by Janice Yap