Wednesday, June 12, 2013


This makes me know that I am doing something worthwhile and was unsolicited:

Success Story from
Chuck Stewart's Singer Training

A professional singer friend of mine noticed that I was unsuccessfully trying to sing without pain in my throat and she recommended that I work with her friend Chuck. She set it up for us to meet in Skype session. 

Chuck asked me what was going on. 18 years ago I lost my voice completely after speaking for 2 days to a steady stream of prospects at an art festival. I couldn't even whisper for the following 2 days and couldn't call anyone for another 2 days. Then 13 years ago I was in a choir singing soprano for 2 years but had to numb my throat by sucking on ginger to keep it from hurting. Then 7 years ago I needed to do a bit of public speaking but couldn't speak loudly enough and developed pain quickly so I went to an Ear Nose & Throat doctor who examined and told me I had 
Muscle Tension Dysphonia”  [dys < Gk bad + phone < Gk voice, sound ] which is “a voice disorder characterized by strained, effortful phonation (utterance) using a type of vocalizing or speaking in which the muscles in the neck are tense”.
He gave me a prescription to get Speech Therapy at the local hospital which I did for 9 months. There I learned exercises to project sound from the front of my mouth (which was explained to me is normal) instead of from my throat (which was explained as putting a strain on it that it was not intended for). By doing that I was able to do some public speaking on a limited basis. Then when I wanted to join a choir 2 years ago I found couldn't sing in my natural Soprano range so I switched to Alto which was easier on the throat and even then I had to do what I could to protect my throat by not singing strongly and by spacing out the days when I sang. Also, for years and years I have not been able to yell to a person a distance away and my dogs only know my call of "whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa."

Chuck explained to me that the voice box in the throat is the source point of sound, no matter what else you might try to do as far as projecting your voice. He told me: 

"If you are feeling pain that means that you are getting some friction and that the lubrication of your vocal cords, or vocal folds as the doctors are calling it these days, isn’t sufficient to keep you from having pain. It sounds also like what I call hyper-adduction: the vocal cords or folds are coming together too hard when they vibrate."
He said that we can't just tell these cords to relax, we have to change the way that we use them and also do some exercises to train them not to come together so hard.

He told me the way to change the way I use them and gave me 2 exercises to do  and I've been doing these for a few weeks now. During this time I have noticed that I can sing for longer periods without pain and I am gradually singing more and more strongly. 

Then 2 days ago I gave an audition to get into a showcase choir and shocked my socks off with the strength of my voice! I found myself belting out lyrics—something I haven't been able to do since I was a kid—and I didn't go home with a sore throat! And—I passed the audition—I could not have done that 2 months ago!

Thank you so much, Chuck—from the bottom of my heart!!! You have performed a miracle for me. I know that what you did is backed up by science—but who knew it? Not anyone that I have run into. My hat is definitely off to you, and I want more!

Jessica Rockwell.