What a beautiful article written about the legendary Joan Rivers!
When I came to Canada almost 35 years ago I was trying to watch as much TV as I could to learn the language. Although I didn’t fully understand her humour at the time, I was impressed by comedian Joan Rivers. Joan had beautiful energy and a very animated personality, and she spoke very loudly with huge command and conviction in her voice. However, being a voice specialist, I immediately noted that she was using her voice incorrectly, as her voice was obviously coming out from the back of her neck and the very bottom of her throat.
In all honesty, I am amazed that her voice lasted as long as it did!
That said, it is evident that, genetically, she was a very strong woman with a very strong personality. In a general sense, no human voice could withstand such pressure applied onto the vocal box for a prolonged period of time. However, you could clearly hear in her performances in recent years that her voice was getting raspier and quite often she simply sounded hoarse.
When that happens to a human being, especially one whose livelihood depends on his or her voice, that individual, quite often, emotionally disagrees with the situation. However, most of the time, that person intellectually understands that something has to be done about it, as there is no change without a change, so to speak. While disagreeing, however, they are trying to continuously push that voice out on the surface when, by that time, the voice has usually already been drowned deep inside in their throat.
So by pushing it vigorously, they are, unfortunately, accomplishing the opposite result, as by drowning and straining that voice exponentially could bring it to the stage of no return. However, like you are stating in your article, people with voice challenges should notice the change sooner rather than later and first try to conquer it non-surgically—by finding a qualified voice specialist who knows how to conduct the voice repair in a holistic manner.
We live in a very fast-paced world and to accomplish something we have to move pretty fast.
So the thoughts of people like John Rivers and even just of ordinary people are “Let’s do it now, and let’s do it fast.” She was probably thinking about her next upcoming performance and, nevertheless, wanted to sound nice, clean, and crisp. However, she did not realize that surgery is not necessarily the solution. The “instrument” might be tuned and fixed, but the “player” is still applying the wrong technique, trying to extract the sound from said instrument. If the greatest pianist of all time, Liberace, had been hammering his beautiful pink Grand Piano he would have broken it to pieces and would have no instrument to show his best piano skills.
It takes two—the instrument and the player.
The instrument has to be sound and the player has to be adequate. The player also must be able to extract the maximum capacity of that given instrument. So in the case of the voice, the speaker or singer has to be able also to extract the maximum capacity of their voice and with no pain or strain on the vocal anatomy. I always say, work smart, not hard, and with minimum effort accomplish the maximum result. Also, work upon the design and do not play it by ear.
That said, be professional on every level.
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