the british voice association


World Voice Day 2021


World Voice Day (branding)

The British Voice Association's contribution to World Voice Day 2021


Virtual Voice (leaflet cover)

World Voice Day is on April 16th and the British Voice Association has added further to its collection of information leaflets in honour of the occasion. The title of the 2021 leaflet is 'The Virtual Voice: How to maintain a healthy voice online'. Video meetings are now an integral part of life during the pandemic, but they can be vocally challenging due to inadequate visual and auditory reception, issues caused by latency, and the increased effort required to process elements of non-verbal communication.

This new leaflet will be circulated to our membership and is available for the public to download from our 'Free resources' page.



How BVA members supported World Voice Day 2021

Aline Camenzind
SingStimmZentrum, Switzerland

As a speech and voice therapist as well as a classical singer/singing teacher, I work for SingStimmZentrum Zürich, Switzerland (www.sszz.ch). We are a medical center for the interdisciplinary diagnosis and treatment of voice disorders, consisting of the medical specialist in phoniatrics Dr. Salome Zwicky (director), several ENT specialists, singing teachers (classical, chanson, pop, musical), speech/voice therapists, a psychologist and two of the team offering manual therapy of the larynx according to Jacob Lieberman.

For World Voice Day 2021 we recorded a video (see links below) featuring all of us saying, in Swiss German: “All of us from SingStimmZentrum Zürich say hello from Switzerland” (phonetically written: “Meer fom Sing Shtim Tsentrum Tsury gruessed us de Shweets!”) – and then singing to the Happy Birthday tune: “Happy World Voice Day!”. The video is meant to show the variety of voices according to this year’s WVD motto: “One World – Many Voices.” And, of course, it wants the viewer to remember the importance of a healthy voice. It is a call to celebrate the miracle of voice.
longer version (36 sec.)

Philip Salmon
England, Spain, Argentina

A collaboration between Santa Fe Lirica, (Susana Caligaris) and BRAVI (the British-Argentine Voice Initiative – Philip Salmon).

On World Voice Day we took the opportunity to hold an international seminar (virtually, of course) reflecting on the many and various aspects of the singing voice. The objective was specifically not to talk about technique, or to give 'tips', but to promote a wider-ranging conversation. Short talks were given by Prof. Begonya Torres Gallado from the Faculdad de Medicina, Barcelona University; Prof Nicolás Alessandroni, Madrid University; Prof. Camila Beltramone, La Plata University; speech therapist Virginia Zangroniz; Luchi de Gyldenfeldt, Argentine University of the Arts; and Prof. Susana Caligaris, University of the Litoral, Santa Fe. The subjects, beginning with the corporeal integration of the physical act of singing, moved through the cognitive effects of, and on, singing and the importance of an interdisciplinary approach, to reminders that the voice is something we are, not just something we do, and to take time to study and inform ourselves - no short cuts!

My own talk concerned a singer's quest for authenticity, in their own voice and in performance.

The 40 attendees included other heads of department in Argentina and singers of all levels, and the discussion that emerged centred on the importance of the role of the voice in identity, including (or perhaps especially) for the trans singer, as performer and as human individual. There was the discovery of much shared ground.

There were a lot of laughs along the way, and the final conclusion of a fascinating and motivating seminar acknowledged the importance of having such a space in which to be able to exchange ideas, especially under present conditions. 

Annie Elias
Kent, UK

I put an announcement of the day onto our Kent Community Health NHS Trust intranet which went to all community staff across most of Kent. We also added The Virtual Voice leaflet from the BVA. The communication we put out encouraged any member of staff who was having difficulty with their voice, especially since working online, to contact us for some support.
We have had some enquiries and will be able to offer advice and access to our Voice Clinics and to therapy.

Vetta Wise and Rebecca Moseley-Morgan
The Leaders were in Suffolk and Oxfordshire respectively, and participants were from the UK, Italy and South Africa

Celebratory masterclasses: Two full afternoons (on World Voice Day - the Friday- and on the Sunday of the weekend) on Zoom.   We had 16 singers at each, and we celebrated their voices, commenting briefly on each. We also had a listening “audience”, who participated in the group sessions. We did a warm up and cool down at each, and two other sessions of practical vocal group work interspersed through each afternoon.  The collaboration and conversations between two teachers of singing seem to have been particularly productive and enjoyed by the diverse group. (We had everyone from people singing solo for the first time to experienced singers.) We raised a glass to the phenomenon of the human voice, and it was wonderful to be able to have an international flavour in each group.

Emma Winscom
Worcestershire, UK

On World Voice Day 2021, as last year, I posted the BVA leaflets and poster on my Voiceblog. You can find the blog at https://emmawinscomsinging.com

I started it last year to help lift the spirits of singing colleagues and clients - and as a means for people to feel connected.

I hope there is something in it for everyone.

Michelle Meikle
Speech and Language Therapist, Isle of Man

Although the Community Health Centre was quieter than usual, I did manage to talk with some interested members of the public and provide handouts. The remainder of the handouts are now in our speech therapy waiting room, which will be extremely useful.
It was a great opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of looking after our voices as well as the SLT’s role in voice care!

Jane Oakshott MBE
Leeds, Yorkshire, UK

Contributors: Louise Gibbs, Jane Oakshott

"Voice - and in particular finding an authentic voice – is central to our work and we are proud to be associated with World Voice Day and the BVA" : Peter Spafford, Director of Words at Chapel FM, a  forward-thinking arts centre and community radio station with both a local focus and global audience.

Peter interviewed Louise Gibbs jazz singer, teacher and President-elect of the BVA), and me (Jane Oakshott, actor, director and newest recruit to the BVA Council) for Chapel FM's popular "Love the Words" programme. This was just one part of Chapel FM's World Voice Day celebrations.

The focus of our joint contribution was on keeping the voice healthy - physically and mentally. Our voice identifies us as much as our face or body:  but most people don't think about their voice until  something goes wrong.  That's fine, as Louise made clear “If your voice is doing what it needs to for you, then blissful ignorance is where we all need to be."

But as many of us know, we can be anxious about speaking publicly, or feel self-conscious and unhappy with the sound of our voice, especially at a time when many of us are working so much online.

It wasn't all theorising - there was practical help too.  Louise emphasized keeping the voice hydrated, and offered an essential 2-step warm up: running on the spot for 30 seconds, and humming sensuously “thinking of something nice but naughty ‐ like chocolate”! Her musical demo of vowels from round the world (a Yorkshire ‘e’, an Italian ‘i’, a Nigerian ‘o’) was a piece of fun, playing between speaking and singing to increase vocal resonance and dynamic range.

I suggested Consonant Rap as an ultra simple clarity exercise that will work for anyone:  "Take any consonant, say it extra firmly, make it into a rhythm, have fun." A case of Do-do-be-Do try this at home!

Singing and spoken voice specialists naturally have different takes on exact approach and focus of voice work:  but we were in lively agreement on the importance of voice for mental health: on the value of different accents; and on the sheer physical pleasure to be found in articulating words. 

Websites: https://louisegibbs.co.uk, https://www.janeoakshott.co.uk

Chapel FM Radio "Listen Again"  https://www.chapelfm.co.uk/elfm-player/archive/2021/04/lovethewords-139/




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