Academic journal article Journal of Singing

The Vocal Pitstop: Keeping Your Voice on Track

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

The Vocal Pitstop: Keeping Your Voice on Track

Article excerpt

Rubin, Adam D. The Vocal Pitstop: Keeping Your Voice on Track. Oxford: Compton Publishing Ltd., 2014. Paper, xvi, 76 pp., $22.50. ISBN 978-1 -90908213-7 www.comptonpublishing.co.uk

Adam Rubin draws the title for this vade mecum from the world of Formula 1 racing. When drivers of the finely tuned cars of the Gran Prix circuit detect any problem with their vehicles, they make a pitstop. Rubin advises singers and other professional voice users to develop a similar knowledge of how their instrument works, how to care for it, and when to seek assistance from others. Rubin is a laryngologist and singer with professional credits. In this slim volume, consisting of only seven brief sections, he offers valuable counsel on the care of the voice. The purpose of the book is to offer information to those who use the voice either as a career or as an avocation.

That the book is intended as a practical handbook is evident from the first chapter, entitled "How do I know if something is wrong with my voice?" The author recognizes that voice users are concerned with practical matters, and accordingly, he begins the book with this critical issue. The subsequent chapter, "Should I stop working?," poses important questions that the performer must consider, including weighing if the performance will exacerbate the vocal problem. If the voice user determines that the show must go on (to borrow a Broadway term), Rubin offers advice in voice care and performance modification.

He underlines that hoarseness is not necessarily laryngitis; a raspy voice can indicate myriad other conditions. While laryngitis is a common cause for voice alteration, other pathologies, such as lesions, hemorrhages, or vocal fold tears, may be present. Moreover, any change in voice quality is a cause for concern, and should not be ignored. Rubin explains the role of voice care professionals such as laryngologists and speech-language pathologists, when they should be consulted, and what tools they use to evaluate the voice. …

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