Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

We Are Vocally Challenged: You Can Say That Again

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

We Are Vocally Challenged: You Can Say That Again

Article excerpt

UM-HMM.

Say it again -- out loud this time -- with your lips closed.

Um-hmm. Um-hmm. Notice anything, like your voice emanating from somewhere near your nose instead of in your throat? Being able to re-create that sensation when you speak real words could be the key that unlocks your natural - and more powerful - voice. Learning to speak properly may also help preserve your voice for later use: say, you get older and want to share your favorite anecdotes with your family (even if they've heard them a hundred times). Or so you can tell your spouse "I love you": clearly, without scratches and scrapes to mar the meaning of the words. According to Morton Cooper, celebrity voice coach and author of "Stop Committing Voice Suicide," millions of people - children and adults alike - do not know how to use their voice. His book outlines an approach to improving the voice by finding the proper focus (where that "um-hmm" came from), as well as correcting pitch and learning good breath support. In a time when everyone's looking for a cure-all pill, Cooper is critical of a medical community he calls well-intentioned but complains "they're simply not competent in treating a misused voice." His most obvious example of someone receiving poor treatment for vocal problems is President Bill Clinton. "He is hoarse," says Cooper, noting one of the several symptoms associated with incorrect voice usage. Other symptoms include sore throats, throat clearing, deep throat voice, throat tension and nasality. "It is my view that (the president) is going to lose his voice," he says, explaining that the president talks in his lower throat - not in the "mask" of the nose and mouth (say "um-hmm" again). And while the president's doctors say it's diet, allergies and acid reflux that are causing the president's hoarseness, Cooper disagrees - vehemently. "The problem is that the medical community insists his problem is medical," he says, adding that in his opinion the president's vocal woes stem from simple misuse and should not be treated with medication. "I'm not a very friendly soul to the medical treatment of voice," he says. …

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