When a pro athlete has a knee injury, fans don’t jump to the conclusion that they must have poor running technique. Yet when a professional singer gets a vocal cord injury, it’s a different matter. Let’s shed a little light about what a vocal injury does and doesn’t mean.
Singers (like many other types of performers) are vocal athletes. As in sports, the work is strenuous and demanding, and takes untold hours of training. Stamina, peak performance, power, and pacing are equally relevant. But unlike a football player, a singer’s physical work is largely internal.
For some reason — perhaps because many people believe they know how to sing expertly but not play basketball? — many people are quick to assume that an injured singer must be lacking in some way.
Myth: A singer with a vocal injury has poor technique
While this is, of course, possible it is by no means a given. In addition to singing technique, there are many other considerations when determining the origin of an injury to the voice. Is the person ill in some way? Are they dehydrated? Do they have acid reflux? How much talking are they called upon to do? How do they use their speaking voice? Are they getting enough nutrition? How about adequate rest? Are the vocal demands on them simply too much for their human body?
Jumping to a conclusion that it is “their fault” due to technical problems is shortsighted and inaccurate. Victim-blaming is common when people want to feel that a certain problem could never befall them. So they decide it is the fault of the injured party. In this case, there is not always a solid correlation between technique and injury.
So the next time you hear that a singer has had to cancel a show or get therapy or surgery, remember that the injury is not necessarily a reflection of their talent, ability, or skill.
If you’d like to get help for a vocal injury, or address any other voice or speech growth opportunities, reach out to schedule a session.