It’s back-to-school time and before you know it, you’re losing your voice!! It happens to all of us at some point or another. Sometimes it’s due to illness, sometimes it’s due to overuse or misuse. Either way, here are some great tips from experienced teachers that may help you save your singing voice!

We’ve all heard this one before: drink a lot of water and stay hydrated to maintain a healthy voice. It’s true. What’s also true is that you should stay away from caffeine! (I know, I know, easier said than done!) Lauren Summa of Rhythm and Glues also avoids acidic foods such as orange juice and tomato-based products to keep her voice healthy. These foods can cause acid reflux problems, a major source of throat and voice irritation.

Besides a healthy diet, it’s important to remember general throat health. As Jane Lee of SillyOMusic recalls from a vocal health presentation, you should avoid clearing your throat since it is similar to slamming your vocal cords together. Instead, drink some water or swallow. When you are experiencing that tickle or soreness in your voice, pay attention! Take a vocal rest. Avoid talking on your breaks and communicate only when necessary. However, fight the urge to whisper…talk in a softer voice to avoid further damage. Of course, the opposite applies as well; no yelling or shouting! Whether your voice is feeling fine or on the edge of being gone, don’t risk hurting yourself by shouting over students in the classroom or during bus duty. Come up with non-verbal cues and attention-getters, such as clapping, turning off the lights, ringing a bell or playing an instrument, or playing a silent copy-cat motions game.

Speaking of the classroom, it’s easy to get lost in all the singing and playing of the day’s lesson. When you have reluctant singers, you feel as if you have to sing with them. Start on day one telling yourself that it’s your job to sing for them, not with them! Model the song appropriately and make it clear that you expect them to sing back for you. It saves your voice and strengthens them and their independence! Another huge helper in the classroom is a personal amplification system. Chrissy Hutzel of Hutzel House of Music swears by hers! She says that everyone in her building uses one to not only help their voice but to positively impact learning. And here’s a great tip from Sandra Hendrickson of Sing Play Create: let the kids do the teaching! Let them repeat familiar directions or lead familiar songs.

If you really want to get creative, try a text-to-speech app! I don’t recommend it for full lessons, but it might help you with planned directions. Try Text to Speech, free for iOS.

What to do if you have already lost your voice? Lori Sweet of Sweet Sounds says the key is steam and salt. Take a steamy shower or use a humidifier and gargle warm salt water several times a day. Add in some baking soda for greater impact. And again, vocal rest. Do what I did last week when my voice was starting to get scratchy…take advantage of texting and text your family in the same room as you! It’s ridiculous, but it works and it saves your voice.

If you absolutely can’t stay home and stay on complete vocal rest, here’s some great lesson plans from Teachers Pay Teachers that you can try:

Musical Instrument Bingo ~ Quiet Review Game by Hutzel House of Music

Orchestra Connection {An Instrument Identification Game} by Ginny’s Music Space

Nursery Rhyme Bingo by Ginny’s Music Space

Don’t Eat Pete – No Prep Music Symbols Game by Floating Down the River

Composition Squares by Rhythmically Yours

Rhythm Clap Backs Complete Pac by Music Educator Resources

Dog E Doggie Emoji Wars by Sweet Sounds

Music Class Bean Bag Games by Sing Play Create

Music Match Ups by The Rested Musician


What do you do when you are losing or have lost your voice? What do you do to save your voice? Let us know in the comment section!

Rhythmically Yours, Kelly

Kelly Parish

My name is Kelly Parrish and I've been teaching elementary music for over 16 years. I have a Bachelor's of Music, a Piano Pedagogy Certificate and Kodály Certification. In addition to teaching music, I enjoy spending time with my son, crafting, sewing and learning about technology. I also have an Etsy store that keeps me busy!