Does the whistling affect the pitch of your chest

The healthy voice in the teaching profession. Suggestions for voice prophylaxis and effects of voice disorders

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of abbreviations

1 Introduction

2 The voice
2.1 Voice generation
2.2 Sound shaping
2.3 breathing
2.3.1 Types of breath
2.3.2 Breath types
2.3.3 Breathing support

3 The voice in the teaching profession
3.1 Vocal requirements in class
3.2 Voice performance of a healthy voice
3.3 Training conditions
3.4 "Speech training in the teaching profession" initiative

4 voice disorders
4.1 Organic voice disorders
4.2 Hormonal voice disorders
4.3 Functional voice disorders
4.3.1 Phonoponoses
4.3.2 Phononeuroses
4.3.3 Dysody

5 Teachers' voice disorders
5.1 Causes
5.2 Impact
5.3 Prophylaxis
5.3.1 Before the lesson Preventive voting Voice hygiene Exercises Breathing exercises Voice exercises Exercises for the articulation muscles Singing exercises Physical exercises
5.3.2 During the lesson Posture Strategies for sparing the voice during the speaking situation
5.3.3 After class
5.4 Treatment options
5.4.1 First aid kit
5.4.2 Functional Voice Treatment Methods

6 Burn-out and voice disorders?
6.1 Development and causes of burnout
6.2 Possibilities for prevention
6.3 Self-help in stressful situations
6.4 Associations with voice disorders

7 Conclusion


1st chapter
Special forms of voice
Fig. 5, Fig. 6
Chapter 3 - hoarseness
4th chapter
Contact Person
Service addresses
Facts About Teachers' Voice Disorders
Fig. 9
5th chapter
Burn-out facts
Short list of links
Fig. 13

List of figures

Figure 1: Diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing (Gutzeit, 2013, p. 18)

Figure 2: The octave ranges (Ziegenrücker, 2009, p. 35)

Figure 3: Average vocal range values ​​(Nawka & Wirth, 2008, p. 90)

Figure 4: Exercise for peripheral vibration of the vocal folds (Bergen, 2012, p. 51)

Figure 5: Extension pipe (Lemke, 2012, p. 56)

Figure 6: Structure of the larynx (Seidner, 2007, p. 32)

Figure 7: Do you feel a change in your voice after a day of class? (Raab, 2012, p. 73)

Figure 8: When are the changes noticeable? (Raab, 2012, p. 74)

Figure 9: Internal and external disruptive factors (according to Gundermann, 1995) (Wendler & Seidner, 2005, p. 152)

Figure 10: Exercise for the middle voice (Bergen, 2012, p. 53)

Figure 11: Extension of the previous exercise (Bergen, 2012, p. 53)

Figure 12: Exercise for height (Bergen, 2012, p. 55)

Figure 13: Fatigue characteristics of information processing (Richter & Hacker, 2012, p. 78)

List of abbreviations:

Figure not included in this excerpt


“We reveal ourselves completely through the voice. It relentlessly reveals our actual state of health, [...] in the broadest sense our emotional mood ”(p. 26f.). This is what Ingrid Amon wrote in her book in 2011 The power of the voice about the connection between voice and personality. I share your view. Even if we smile skillfully without feeling like it, the sound of the voice at the latest shows how we are really doing. So it's not only interesting, but for future teachers1 It is very important to know how your own voice works and how to keep it healthy. Even on weak days, the teacher must be able to sweep his students away with his voice and presence. This is only possible if he knows how the former can be warmed up for class through specific exercises and voice hygiene and how he can recover from the voice-intensive profession of teacher in his free time. Furthermore, an educator should have an overview of significant voice disorders in order to also be able to assess where he needs help and whom he can best turn to. The voice as a relevant tool of the teacher must never be neglected, because in the case of long-term loss of voice it is not possible to practice the profession.

As a student of music I had to deal with my voice several times. B. in speech training or singing lessons. It was interesting when my singing teacher was discussing what my vocal folds or larynx could do if I did the singing exercise correctly and when she explained what my voice was doing in contrast to that at that moment. I became aware of the importance of a healthy voice in the teaching profession not only through music as a subject, but also through practical school exercises and various other class visits. In these one could specifically observe other fellow students or teachers with regard to their use of the voice. In some students, gross deficiencies could already be recognized (e.g. larynx-heavy speech styles) that could have far-reaching consequences in professional life. As a result, my interest grew to deal more concretely with the voice phenomenon, especially with regard to the teaching profession.

In this thesis, I will not only consider vocalization or the vocal requirements of the teaching profession, but also the multitude of voice disorders and what effects these have on the speaker. Accordingly, suggestions for voice prophylaxis and options for help with voice diseases should be given.

The aim of the work is to stimulate the reader to deal more intensively with his or her voice. This is not only used for communication or singing, but also for practicing a speaking profession such as B. teacher or actor. Problems with the voice quickly affect the whole of life, settle down on the psyche, make the job unbearable and influence the relationships of the person with a voice disorder. They can also lead to other illnesses or excessive demands, which is why another point of investigation is the connection between voice disorders and the widespread disease burnout. In the course of my thesis I will answer the following questions:

- Which organs play a role in the speech process?
- What are the requirements for a healthy voice?
- What are the causes and risk factors of voice disorders?
- How can a voice disorder be prevented?
- To what extent can voice disorders lead to burnout?

The work is divided into five chapters. First of all, the voice - voice generation, sound shaping and breathing - are considered. The focus here is on how the voice works. The organs involved in the voice process as well as different types and types of breathing are taken into account with regard to their activities. This is followed by a consideration of the voice in the teaching profession. The focus here is on the vocal performance of a healthy voice, which should be achieved by every teacher if possible. This chapter also presents a project that deals with the phenomenon of the voice in teacher training. This is followed by a section on voice disorders, which is intended to give an insight into the multitude of possible voice disorders, starting with the question of what is meant by voice disorders and ending with the disorder of the singing voice (dysody). Based on this, the analysis of voice disorders in teachers is carried out. Here not only causes and effects are considered, but also possibilities of prophylaxis and help. In addition, there are a number of exercises for the voice, breathing and the whole body, which are presented under prophylaxis. In the last section, the connection between voice disorders and the widespread disease burnout is established. Finally, there is a conclusion to summarize my findings.

The voice

Everyone needs them to communicate. Whether it is talking on the phone with your girlfriend, shopping in town or talking to the doctor, without a voice many things familiar to us would be more complicated.

I use this introductory chapter to explain how the voice phenomenon works. In the appendix there is a short excursus on special vocal forms.

If the subject of the voice is turned to, it should be of interest how sound is formed at all and so the question is - Which organs play a role in the speech process? - inevitable.

Voice generation

"Voice tools [...] are the muscles of the entire vocal apparatus" (Brunsing, 2010, p. 20). The basic organ for sound generation is the larynx. This forms the top of the windpipe and consists of several cartilages that are connected with ligaments and membranes as well as a large number of muscles (cf. Amon, 2011, p. 80f.). The primary function of the larynx is to breathe and to close the windpipe when swallowing; Voting is only secondary to this (cf. Gutzeit, 2013, p. 21). The finest of the almost 60 muscles and muscle groups around the larynx is the vocal fold muscles, which are arranged like a braid and enable the fine tension of the vocal folds during sound production (cf. Amon, 2011, p. 81). “The vocal folds are folds of the mucous membrane that surround the vocal muscle” (Thömmes, 2011, p. 48).

The larynx uses the principle of organ pipes to generate sound. The glottis, that is the space between the vocal folds, also called the glottis, is set into periodic vibrations by breathing air (cf. Amon, 2011, p. 81). To do this, air flows from the lungs through the windpipe to the loosely closed vocal folds. Due to the pressure created, these are blown open like a seal. The constant alternation of pressure and negative pressure creates rhythmic puffs of air that the human ear perceives as sound (cf. Thömmes, 2011, p. 50). The sound form is determined by the interaction of lips, teeth, tongue and palate.

The shape of the glottis changes whenever the vocal folds change their position. With noiseless breathing, the glottis has the shape of a narrow and elongated triangle. When vocalizing, however, the vocal folds are parallel to each other, so that the glottis can only be seen as a small longitudinal gap. The glottis z. B. when coughing (cf. ibid., P. 49).

The vocal cords, the elastic edges of the glottis, are controlled by the muscles of the larynx and, in conjunction with expelled air, determine the height and intensity of a sound produced (cf. Amon, 2011, p. 81). The pitch of a voice depends on the length of the vocal folds, writes Thömmes (2011). The longer these are, the deeper the tone. Men have vocal folds that are on average a quarter longer than those of women (see p. 50). The length of the vocal folds does not only depend on gender, but also on age. Children have shorter vocal folds than adults, so they have higher voices. In boys, this changes during puberty. When the larynx and vocal folds grow, the voice breaks after a while (see Gutzeit, 2013, p. 22f.).

It can therefore be seen that the speech process involves the interaction of different organs, with the larynx at the center.

Sound shaping

“Conscious deformations of the attachment spaces form the basis for sound formation” (Seidner, 2007, p. 50). Colloquially referred to as an attachment tube, these create the entirety of all spaces above the level of the vocal folds (cf. ibid., P. 42f.). The entrance to the larynx is one of the attachment spaces. The pharynx, oral cavity and main nasal cavities form the sound spaces, which are located above the larynx, whereby the lining of the mucous membrane has a significant influence on the sound formation (cf. ibid., P. 43). The pharynx is divided into three sections: the lower section, the pharynx, extends from the entrance of the esophagus to the root of the tongue. The pharynx extends from this to the level of the soft palate and the nasopharynx from the level of the soft palate to the base of the skull. There are connections from the pharynx to the main nasal cavities and the oral cavity as well as via the larynx entrance to the inside of the larynx. The oral cavity is the most important area for sound formation in the attachment spaces because it is made up of a large number of feathered muscles2 is most changeable and contains only movable walls except for the hard palate. The two main nasal cavities, which are separated by the nasal septum, called the septum, play a role as resonance spaces for the vocal sound and also for the formation of nasal sounds (cf. ibid., P. 43f.).

Changes in the attachment spaces in terms of their shape are achieved through the movable parts, the articulators. These include the soft palate, larynx, jaw, lips and tongue, which are considered in the following (cf. ibid., P. 44). The soft palate can be used in many ways for the formation of sounds in the nasopharynx and the main nasal cavities by lifting and tensing it through various muscles (cf. ibid., P. 43f.).

Lips and cheeks are part of the facial muscles, which enable very varied and well-coordinated movements. The lower jaw and teeth are also important prerequisites for sound formation, especially with regard to articulation (cf. ibid., P. 44).

A special mobility and malleability of the tongue is made possible by the tongue muscles, which are arranged in different directions (cf. ibid.). "The resulting different designs of the oral cavity form the basis for the generation of different vowels" (ibid.).

In the opinion of the majority of all speaking teachers, it is possible for everyone to achieve a good and sonorous speaking voice by making optimal use of the resonance spaces. Exceptions are organic malformations such as B. Polyps or a curved nasal septum. When speaking of a radiant singing voice, the situation is somewhat different, here we are talking about an innate nature of the resonance spaces (cf. Amon, 2011, p. 86).


“Just as no life is possible without breathing, there is also no voice without breathing” (Thömmes, 2011, p. 32). Accordingly, breathing has two important functions for humans. The gas exchange is essential for life, during which oxygen is absorbed into the body during the inhalation or inspiration phase and, vaguely, carbon dioxide is released during exhalation or expiration. After exhaling, there is a short pause in each case, during which the muscles involved in breathing can loosen (cf. ibid.).

The secondary function of breathing should play a bigger role at this point; this is the generation of voice. In the following sections, different types and types of breathing are presented, as well as the term breathing support to clarify the connection between voice generation and breathing.

Types of breath

There are two ways to breathe, silent breathing and vocal breathing. The former occurs once during rest and performance breathing.

When breathing at rest, breathing is through the nose, the vocal folds forming an elongated triangle, called the lateral position (cf. Nawka & Wirth, 2008, p. 11). Inhalation, in which the muscles of the diaphragm are active, is called the active phase. The muscles collapse during exhalation (cf. Amon, 2011, p. 67). The entire exhalation takes place passively. The frequency and volume of breathing depend on age, gender, weight and environmental conditions as well as the psychological situation. Nawka & Wirth (2008) speak of physiologically healthy breathing when the chest is enlarged or reduced in size while breathing. The deepest inhalation is also possible here. The inhalation and exhalation phases are approximately the same length (see p. 11).

Performance breathing, on the other hand, begins with physical exertion. The inspiratory muscles are more stressed here than during periods of rest, which increases the stretching of the lungs (cf. ibid., P. 12).

Voice breathing is divided into speaking and singing breathing. Speech breathing, which is also called phonation breathing, has two tasks. On the one hand, it provides the required volume of air that has been gained through deeper inhalation and, on the other hand, it builds up a suitable subglottic pressure. This means that pressure builds up from below (sub) against the glottis and the vocal folds react by opening. Compared to resting breathing, we have a shorter inhalation and a longer exhalation phase. The inhalation volume is only slightly increased compared to breathing at rest (cf. ibid., P. 19).

In contrast to speech breathing, the exhalation times for sing breathing are considerably longer. The available exhaled air is used to a greater extent through active inhalation, which makes it possible to regulate the subglottic pressure (cf. ibid.). This means the inhalation phase has to be more active and accelerated, whereas the exhalation phase is lengthened and slowed down.

Breath types

We distinguish four different forms of breathing, which are named according to the body parts in which the strongest breathing movement occurs.

In abdominal breathing, the diaphragm lowers during the inhalation phase, which is why the abdominal viscera are pushed downwards. This has the consequence that the abdominal wall is pushed outwards. This creates space for the lungs to expand.During the exhalation phase, the diaphragm then bulges upwards. The air is expelled from the lungs and there is space again for the intestines, which is why the abdominal wall flattens out as a result (see Fig. 1). This form of breathing is the most economical. On the one hand, it ensures good digestion and helps to relax the body. The exhalation phase here is about twice as long as the inhalation (cf. Gutzeit, 2013, p. 18f.).

Figure not included in this excerpt

Fig. 1: Diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing

Chest or rib breathing is perhaps the most popular type of breathing, but it is less economical compared to abdominal breathing. There is a lateral expansion of the lungs during inhalation. In doing so, the shoulders are usually pulled up as well. Movement can only be felt in the chest and possibly also in the shoulder girdle area. This breathing often occurs in situations of fear, exertion or stress, and it is also very shallow. The chest and abdomen are not used sufficiently as breathing spaces (cf. ibid., P. 19).

Shoulder or collarbone breathing is rib breathing, also known as costal breathing. During the inhalation phase, the entire shoulder girdle rises. This type of breathing is pathological (abnormal) breathing because it can lead to voice disorders and occurs e.g. B. in asthma patients (cf. Nawka & Wirth, 2008, p. 12).

The abdominal-diaphragm-flank breathing is, as the name suggests, a mixed breathing. Inhalation, combined with an expansion of the chest, is primarily made possible by contraction, i.e. contraction of the muscles, and stepping down the diaphragm. The second point is the active lifting of the ribs. This form of breathing is called natural or physiological (cf. ibid.).

Breathing support

“Support is the hold that the inhalation muscles provide to the collapse of the chest and lungs” (Nawka & Wirth, 2008, p. 103). The aim of the breathing support is a prolonged exhalation phase and the conscious guidance of the exhaled air flow. While speaking, an attempt should be made not to let the abdominal wall fall, but to consciously guide it and thus maintain the inhalation tension of the diaphragm (see Thömmes, 2011, p. 43).

A tendency to inhale is maintained in the back and sides while speaking or singing, so that breath pressure and vocal cord closure remain in balance. The diaphragmatic activity takes place in the depths and the larynx also remains in a lower and thus relaxed position (cf. Bergen, 2012, p. 29). The lower position of the diaphragm should be maintained for as long as possible in order to build up air pressure below the glottis, which is necessary to generate sounds. The breathing support ensures a longer speaking period and those who master this can make their voice sound stronger and more resonant (see Thömmes, 2011, p. 43f.).

Not only in singing it is difficult to imagine what is meant by breathing support. This is why people often speak of breath control or breathing guidance. Strengthened intercostal muscles are important for the breathing support, as this keeps the chest open and prevents it from collapsing quickly. A resilient and elastic alternation between inhalation and exhalation is sought (cf. Bengtson-Opitz, 2008, p. 55).

If the support process is not carried out naturally, it can lead to over-support or support. The result of over-leaning are braced, force-generated tones. The consequences of this are voice damage. When supporting, the voice is soft or breathy. Singing high or low notes is made more difficult (cf. Nawka & Wirth, 2008, p. 104f.).

The first chapter provided an overview of how the voice works and answered the question: Which organs play a role in the speech process? Voice generation occurs through cooperation between different organs. The larynx is associated with a large number of muscles and muscle groups, among which are the muscles of the vocal cords. To generate sound, air from the lungs is set in vibration, which then travels through the windpipe to the vocal folds. Rhythmic puffs of air, which open and close the vocal folds, are perceived by humans as sounds.

The actual sound shaping is generated by attachment spaces that include all spaces above the vocal folds. The oral cavity has the greatest influence on the sounds formed, as it is the most changeable and contains moving parts. The so-called articulators include the soft palate, the larynx as well as lips and cheeks as part of the facial muscles, lower jaw and teeth. It is only through the muscles of the tongue that it is possible to generate different vowels.

Breathing also contributes to the creation of the voice. We speak while we breathe. In so-called vocal breathing, a distinction is made between speaking and singing breathing. In contrast to silent breathing, here the exhalation phase is much longer than the inspiration. A distinction is also made according to the part of the body in which breathing occurs most strongly. Physiological breathing is understood to be abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing, as this promotes digestion and relaxes the body.

Anyone who frequently actively uses their voice should aim for a successful breathing aid, as this enables the exhaled air to be guided and the expiration phase to be lengthened.

The following chapter is about the voice in the teaching profession. To illustrate that the teaching profession is voice-intensive, the following explanations start with the voice requirements. This includes, inter alia. Vocal performance of a healthy voice and training conditions.

The voice in the teaching profession

Teachers and educators belong to a professional group whose voice is constantly strained and which has to do with changing speaking environments. There are big differences for the voice, because whether the teacher gives swimming or school garden lessons, depending on the room this is to be used differently. The greater the distance between teacher and student, the more effort has to be made to communicate with one another (cf. Aich, 2009, p. 145).

What are the requirements for a healthy voice? There are many vocal requirements in the teaching profession. In this chapter, the vocal performance of a healthy voice will be considered. The training conditions and a current project on the teacher's voice are also dealt with.

Vocal requirements in class

The vocal requirements are influenced by the space. The more sound a room carries, the louder it is. The students' conversations are heard much more strongly. What can the teacher do about it? If he tries to always use his voice to counter this, the noise level will only increase and the teacher will also harm himself. The aim should be to lower the volume. This will probably not work for the entire lesson but for individual sections (cf. ibid., Pp. 145f.).

The attention of the students should not only be drawn to the teacher with the help of the voice, but also through a good learning and working atmosphere. Students definitely notice whether the teacher likes his job, to what extent he is experienced in dealing with students or whether he can be provoked by them quickly. It is important to enter the classroom with an active presence, to breathe in calmly and to announce the topic of the lesson calmly and slowly on the exhalation stream. Also, the teacher should always give students time to answer when questions are asked. He has to be able to endure the silence in the classroom. It is important to make eye contact with the students while he is speaking and when the students speak up. Silent signs or the use of acoustic signals can help to protect the voice. Schoolchildren are quite resourceful in devising different signal signs (cf. ibid., P. 146f.).

The following is a closer look at the voice requirements. People who do a speaking job are more prone to voice disorders. To a certain extent, teachers practice competitive sport with their voice. For example, they have more frequent colds or hoarseness. Many educators are not aware of this. Practical voice training would therefore be necessary during the studies in order to work off bad habits with regard to the voice and to offer opportunities for recreation and regeneration (cf. Knie, 2008, p. 70).

Teachers act as role models for their students, this must also be related to the use of the voice. How can a student learn to articulate himself clearly when his teacher is always mumbling? Or how should he listen to his teacher for 90 minutes when his voice has a drowsy effect? That is why the good comprehensibility of the subject matter is an essential point in the teaching-learning process (cf. ibid., P. 71). “Children and adolescents develop a physiologically economic use of the voice more easily if they have suitable role models for it” (ibid.).

In order to make it easier for the students to listen, it is important to have a pleasant sound in the teacher's voice, deep and full of the stomach, which is adapted to the size of the room and acoustics. Vowels and consonants should be well articulated and sound at a slow pace. The voice must be heard clearly and distinctly up to the last row of the bench, which is why it is advisable to speak slowly rather than quickly. If the teacher succeeds in convincing with language, the body language also adapts and he feels comfortable in his field of activity. Before a lesson is given, the teacher has the opportunity to warm his voice through various actions. A simple song can be sung or hummed on the drive to school and the voice can be stimulated by yawning or sighing before the doorbell rings. A comparison to competitive athletes can be drawn here. As in this area, a warm-up must take place before strenuous activities so that the sport can then be actively pursued (cf. ibid.).

Sports and music teachers have special requirements with regard to the voice. In physical education, the students are often divided into different parts of the hall and the acoustics do not match the voice well. To protect them, important things should be discussed before entering a sports hall or swimming pool so that the teacher has to speak as little as possible in the hall. Furthermore, shouting should be avoided throughout the room, speeches to the students can be better given in front of the entire group. In order to admonish individuals, the teacher can assert himself with aids such as a whistle without having to use his voice (cf. ibid., Pp. 71f.).

In music lessons, the teacher is exposed to a double burden. Like the other educators, he has to ensure that his voice in the classroom is easy to understand and interesting for all students. There is also singing, with the whole class. Care must be taken that the teacher's singing voice does not get louder as the volume increases, as it is even more susceptible to voice damage than the speaking voice. "Singing is a much more complex process than speaking and therefore requires more muscle activity" (ibid., P. 73). In order to be able to sing high notes clearly and distinctly, the teacher must be sung in before the lesson, otherwise a physiological use of the voice is not possible. A warm-up session with the students can also take place. You should also drink enough between lessons to keep the vocal folds moist.

Voice performance of a healthy voice

A healthy voice can do many things with ease, but it is just as easy to cause disturbances or impairments through incorrect use of it. This section contains a detailed description of all voice performances in order to show at the same time the demands placed on the voice.

“The pitch depends on the number of vocal folds vibrations per second” (Nawka & Wirth, 2008, p. 87). 440 vibrations per second correspond to z. B. the concert pitch a1, this is the common tone to which instruments of a musical group are tuned. The highest attainable tone for humans is e4 and the lowest achievable C1 (cf. ibid.).3 Increasing the pitch requires an increase in vocal cord tension, which a healthy voice can easily muster. A decrease in tension leads accordingly to a lowering of the pitch (cf. Schutte & Seidner, 2005, p. 85). In contrast, in people with functional voice disorders, pitch fluctuations occur, which are also referred to as flutter (cf. Nawka & Wirth, 2008, p. 89).

Figure not included in this excerpt

Fig. 2: The octave ranges

The range of a voice is limited by the lowest and highest note that a person can sing. The physiological or absolute range refers to "from the lowest, softly and loosely sounding or humming tone to the highest tone" (Seidner, 2007, p. 112). This range, which is to be regarded as extreme, is interesting as a performance limit with regard to the vocal training, but should not be overstimulated. If the musical range, the area that is immediately available for singing, is often exceeded, the voice can be permanently damaged by chronic overexertion (ibid.). The musical vocal range is less than two octaves for average voices, whereas the physiological range can be up to four octaves. An absolute vocal range of less than 1.5 octaves is to be regarded as pathological. The largest vocal ranges are found in the soprano and bass voices. An average mezzo-soprano can play the notes from g to f2 singing, a trained voice in the same pitch can range from g to c3 to sing. There are also significant differences between the average voice and the singing voice in the other vocal ranges (cf. Nawka & Wirth, 2008, p. 89ff.). Figure 3 shows the average range of voices in adults. The volume, also referred to here as voice strength, is measured in decibels

(dB) and corresponds to the sound pressure level. It is a function of the subglottic pressure. If the volume is varied while singing or speaking, the course of the vibrations of the vocal cords changes. With inexperienced voices, when the pitch rises, there is often an increase in volume, even if this is not absolutely wanted (cf. Schutte & Seidner, 2005, p. 85). A voice is said to be healthy in terms of its vocal strength if it allows an even modulation (variation) between forte (loud) and piano (soft) and the balanced register mix is ​​retained. Voice sounds that are described as harsh and loud, or as fearful and quiet, are to be viewed as misconduct (cf. Kasper, 2005, p. 51). If the speaking voice is used very softly, its vocal strength can drop to 45 dB, with the calling voice having a value of around 90 to 110 dB.

Figure not included in this excerpt

Fig. 3: Average vocal range values

The results of a model test at the Humboldt School in Kiel, where the volume was measured in different situations, are interesting. During a class test it was 45 dB, in the school yard 80 dB and when addressing the loudest teacher it was even 100 dB (see Eberhart & Hinderer, 2014, p. 69f.). The maximum level is 126 dB (see Nawka & Wirth, 2008, p. 92).

The phonation time (tone holding time) also serves as a measure of the performance of a voice. The maximum duration of the tone depends on various factors, including: Closure of the vocal folds, volume, type of speech sound, age and gender and emotional state. A tone holding time of 26 seconds is considered normal for men and 21 seconds for women. Due to voice disorders, the phonation time can be shortened due to excessive air consumption. In men, less than 8 seconds are considered pathological, in women less than 7 seconds. The teacher can easily determine the length of the phonation by himself by adding on the vowel after maximum inhalation a is exhaled in a whisper. The result can be recorded with the help of a stopwatch (cf. ibid., P. 94).

The vocal sound is ideally “noble, brilliant, round, soft, rich in overtones and clear” (Kasper, 2005, p. 50). Everyone has an individual timbre. There is misconduct in the case of nasal sounds as well as occupied voices (cf. ibid.). The tone color also depends on the number and strength of the overtones contained in the sound. A distinction is made between different forms of vocal sound. A light timbre arises, for example, when the attachment tube is open, a dark tone when the mouth opening is narrowed and the attachment tube is elongated. Furthermore, a distinction is made between nasal, pressed or double-tone voices. The latter is to be understood as the simultaneous presence of two different basic frequencies. One reason for this vocal sound can be excessive or uneven tension in the vocal folds (cf. Nawka & Wirth, 2008, p. 75f.). Regarding voice quality, all sounds with pathological noise components can be summarized under hoarseness (cf. Schutte & Seidner, 2005, p. 124). A physiological voice is able to chant a note of a certain pitch.In technical language this is described as intonation security. This ability is i.a. depending on the musicality of a person, his support, breathing, hearing or sound imagination. The tone memory can be checked by singing different tones. We speak of perfect pitch when the tones heard are not only correctly sung, but can also be described. Repeating (repeating) individual tones is much easier than different intervals4 to be repeated (see Nawka & Wirth, 2008, p. 109). Stability of a voice is the ability to hold a certain pitch without the tone becoming unclean or breaking off. Pitch fluctuations are increased in people with functional voice disorders. Healthy voices show only 1-2 semitones deviation when holding a tone, which corresponds to 7-10 Hertz. These fluctuations are caused by activity variations in the larynx muscles (cf. ibid.).

The carrying capacity of the voice is required in large or acoustically unfavorable rooms. People often find it difficult to assert themselves or to be consistent when they have problems with their voice. It is important for the teacher to be noticed. In addition to an assertive voice, the person must be steadfast in their demeanor. Carrying capacity does not necessarily just mean the volume, but rather a vocal sound that can be easily perceived by the audience through certain sound components (cf. Nollmeyer, 2012, p. 50f.). The more stable, the lower the energy required by a voice to communicate information. That is why the aim of every voice therapy or voice training is to improve the voice's carrying capacity (cf. Nawka & Wirth, 2008, p. 111).

The mean speaking voice range is in the lower third of the individual vocal range of a person, it depends on age, ambient noise and mood. This is assessed according to two criteria: the distance to the lower voice limit and the comparison with the statistically determined normal range, called the indifference position (cf. ibid., P. 78). "The middle speaking pitch (speaking pitch) is determined on the basis of the fundamental tone that occurs most frequently in the speech melody" (ibid., P. 79). The days of the week or numbers can be counted for determination and the pitch of the voice is then compared with the piano or keyboard. The indifference position of women lies between g- c1 and those of the men between G-c. In this position it is possible to speak effortlessly and without great effort (cf. ibid.). The larynx is in a relaxed low position, resulting in an extension of the attachment tube. The voice response is optimal. A low breath pressure is enough to make the vocal folds vibrate. In the indifference position, the voice is also more expressive and more capable of modulation, which makes it easier for the listener to grasp the content and less causes fatigue and boredom. On the other hand, a permanent deviation of the mean speaking voice range from the indifference position means a great strain on the voice and has harmful effects on the voice. These include Coughing force, feelings of dryness and unwillingness to speak as well as vocal fatigue. Listening here is perceived as uncomfortable and exhausting, which is why concentration quickly wanes, which is unfavorable for the teacher in school (cf. Lemke, 2012, p. 53ff.).

The high and low voices of men and women can be found under vocal genres. In the order from high to low, the names are: soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto (female voices); Tenor, baritone and bass (male voices). In choral singing, the individual genres are usually subdivided into two voices, e. B. Soprano 1 and Soprano 2. These terms are rigid. Often there are transitions between the high and low registers. Voice disorders can also be caused by a person singing in the choir in the wrong pitch for years. A certain type of voice does not have to apply to the singer for his whole life. Voices change and it may well be that an original alto can sing the soprano part (cf. Seidner, 2007, p. 119). The classification of the vocal genre is determined according to many criteria: On the one hand, according to the range of voices and according to the register distribution (the voting register will be informed next) as well as according to the average speaking pitch and tone of voice, whereby other criteria can play a role (see Nawka & Wirth, 2008, pp. 100f.). Kasper (2005) is of the opinion that the different types of voices can be explained by the different anatomical conditions of the body and the vocal organ. High voices, including soprano and tenor, have broad and muscular vocal cords, these can build up high tensions and therefore also produce high tones. Alto and bass, on the other hand, have rather long and narrow vocal cords, which produce a rich and deep sound (see p. 34f.).

Furthermore, a distinction is made according to voice types within the voice genres. This classification is based on the structure of the voice (strength, timbre, flexibility, temperament, expression, etc.), with different requirements being placed on the individual voice types. A lyric tenor must e.g. B. in the amount of c2 to d2 can sing, whereas a heavy hero tenor can only sing up to b1 sings (see Nawka & Wirth, 2008, p. 103).

The voice consists of three registers, which are designated the same for women and men. The chest register uses the chest cavity as a resonance space. The middle register, on the other hand, needs the lower and middle pharynx and the oral cavity. With the head register (or upper sound) the nasopharynx, the paranasal sinuses and the frontal sinuses are used for good resonance (cf. Kasper, 2005, p. 37). The vocal cords vibrate in full length and width only with the full voice function. It takes up the lower third of the vocal range, i.e. the chest register (cf. ibid., P. 31). “As the pitch of the tones increases, the vocal cords become more tense and elongate” (ibid., P. 33). The vibration is now stronger in the middle parts of the vocal cords and shifts to the edges of the vocal cords (middle vocal function). The edge tuning function is used when only the vocal cord edges vibrate, the upper third of the vocal range is favored. There is a connection to the header register (cf. ibid.).

Since the different registers require different resonance spaces, the voice has to learn to switch while singing, e.g. B. has reached a certain height. If you try to continue singing with the chest or middle register in this, the voice simply breaks off. Everyone can try out this process on their own voice by slowly singing scales up and down. If the teacher consistently tries to keep the tone of the voice that was predominant in the lower notes, in the higher notes, inexperienced singers may feel a cracking sound before the voice breaks off. Constantly working against the realities of the voice is detrimental to it.

It is also possible to distinguish between different forms of voice input (the way in which the phonation begins). With breathy use, the breath flow already flows while the vocal folds approach each other. These gradually begin to vibrate, only air precedes them. A rubbing 'H' can be heard before the actual vocal sound (cf. Seidner, 2007, p. 106). If the vocal cords are tightly attached to each other, we speak of the glottic stroke insert. They are driven apart by the accumulation of air below the glottis and then begin to vibrate. A distinction is made between the voice-hygienic fixed use with a soft glottic beat and the voice-damaging hard use with a hard glottic beat (cf. ibid.). The physiological variant "arises from only slight tensioning of the vocal folds in the phonation position, so that a slight increase in subglottic pressure is necessary in order to release the lock with a soft cracking sound" (ibid., P. 107). This insert is used for words with a vowel initial sound. From a physiological point of view, the soft vocal insert is best, in which the vocal folds are slightly against each other at the start of phonation. There is only a narrow gap in the form of an ellipse. The vocal folds vibrate evenly and no air is wasted in contrast to breathy use. In addition, there is no loss of strength as with tough use (cf. Nawka & Wirth, 2008, p. 79f.). The last thing to be mentioned is the pressed insert, which occurs in Semitic languages ​​and is also specially marked there in the script. The voice sounds rough and creaky, the vocal folds are pressed together and the larynx is lifted, while breathing pressure is increased. This variant of the voice insert is not to be seen as physiological, soft voice inserts as well as firm ones with a soft glottic beat are optimal (cf. ibid., P. 80).

In contrast to the use of voices, the vocal attachment is formed in the attachment spaces and not in the larynx. It is associated with the ability to find the optimal vocal sound quickly and independently of pitch or register (cf. Seidner, 2007, p. 107). According to Nawka & Wirth (2008), the correct voice approach is achieved through the ability to imagine the tone before the tone is played (see, p. 110).

Vowel equalization often poses a challenge. When changing from a light vowel such as e or i to a dark vowel (o, u) at the same pitch, the aim is to ensure that the sound does not break off and a connection between the two vokas - len is produced (cf. ibid., p. 113). Visually, it should be a narrow and oval mouth setting that occurs with every vowel, so that the throat position and register mix are always the same. It would be wrong to give everyone a different mouth shape, which would result in different throat positions and register mixtures (cf. Kasper, 2005, p. 55).

Training conditions

Hardly anyone dares to deny that the training conditions for prospective teacher training students are not particularly good in terms of speech training or voice training. “The vocal aptitude test, which has been required by law in the GDR since 1974, has been deleted without replacement” (Lemke, 2012, p. 102). In the GDR, this study at least ensured that applicants were given therapy and advice before studying if there were abnormalities in their voice. They were also sensitized and recognized the value of the voice as their future tool for professional life (cf. ibid.).

If students want to check their ability to vote for a speaking occupation, it is important to achieve as comprehensive a description of the respective vocal performance as possible, which can be done with the help of the aspects listed here (cf. Nawka, 2012, p. 40).

A component of the fitness test is the auditory-perceptual voice assessment, the perception of the voice through the environment. Here, the degree of hoarseness (none, low-grade, medium-grade or high-grade) is determined with the aid of a diagram. The main constituents of this are the roughness and breathiness of the voice (cf. ibid., P. 40f.). The voice-forming apparatus has to work. “As a prerequisite for a vocal profession, the laryngoscopic5 Finding a normal respiratory mobility of the vocal folds and a normal anatomical structure ”(ibid., P. 43).

The range of a speaker's voice is also an important aspect. With the help of a vocal range profile, all singable tones and the possible variations in volume are displayed. The area that is then shown in the diagram is called the voice field. For teachers who do not teach music, the speaking voice profile is more important. This shows the volume at which people speak. Numbers must be presented in four vocal intensities (quiet, conversation volume, presentation volume and calling voice). Only when a teacher reaches 90 dB or more with the calling voice is he qualified for his profession. It can thus be seen that a voting reserve is available and the ability to increase the vote is possible (cf. ibid., P. 44f.). A vocal proficiency test also measures how long the person is able to endure a tone. The more air is lost in the vocalizing, the shorter the tone can be sustained. This aspect of the investigation is called the determination of aerodynamics during phonation (cf. ibid., P. 47). Ultimately, self-awareness is crucial. As soon as a patient turns to a doctor through influences from his environment or on the basis of his own experience and states that he feels restricted in his vocal function, his assessment should be taken seriously (cf. ibid.).

There are no vocal aptitude tests at the University of Rostock. During the course of studies, a speaker training course of two hours per week has to be completed, which is also no longer mandatory for the modularized teacher training courses (2012 Teacher Examination Ordinance).

Not only the conditions in Rostock are inadequate. Of all the federal states in Germany, there are no compulsory offers for speaking training lessons in seven, in two federal states there are only offers for students of the German teaching profession and in three federal states there is an obligatory offer of one semester hour per week for the entire course (see Lemke, 2012, p. 102). In Baden-Württemberg, a student is admitted to the first state examination if he has attended a speech training course. There is no further information on the objectives, content and scope of the course in the examination regulations of the teaching offices for elementary and secondary schools, secondary schools and special schools. This point is completely absent from the examination regulations for grammar school teachers. Speech training is not compulsory for these students (see Wagner, 2012, p. 105). But there is one exception. Students who study German as an in-depth subject can use up to four semester hours in their main course to improve their speaking skills (cf. ibid., P. 116).

Changes in the numbers mentioned are quite possible, as many teacher training courses were or will be geared towards the bachelor's and master's degree as a result of the Bologna process. But when it is considered that in an entire teacher training course only around 14 times 90 minutes of speaking training lessons, or far less, are given, it is hardly surprising that teachers and students have more voice problems. The physiological handling of the voice was never taught.

"Speech training in the teaching profession" initiative

In 2003, under the direction of Siegrun Lemke, the “Teachers Voice Project” was started at the University of Leipzig. There has been close cooperation between phoniatrics and speech science for years. The project is supported by professional and scientific associations. Two specific goals are connected with this: There should be compulsory speech training for all student teachers in Germany for at least two semester hours per week as well as a review of the vocal suitability for the teaching profession at the beginning of the course (cf. Lemke, 2012, p. 104) .

The “Project Teacher's Voice” is divided into three sub-studies, the first of which recorded vocal abnormalities in student teachers who did not have to undergo a phoniatric aptitude test. In the second part of the study, the proportion of teacher training students was determined who, despite their certified fitness, are vocal in need of treatment, and the third part of the study investigates and questions teachers from different school levels with and without voice disorders (cf. ibid.).

Under the question: "How high is the proportion of vocational and speaking discrepancies in teacher training students?" (Ibid.), Examinations were made based on an observation sheet for the first partial study. Voice abnormalities are only to be understood here as those aspects that impair the proficiency of a teacher. The main areas of investigation were respiration (breathing), phonation (voice) and articulation (pronunciation). In total, the study related to 6,658 students, 5,357 of whom were teacher training students from various schools and subject areas. The study referred to ten federal states in Germany. With regard to the respiratory function, there were abnormalities in 23.9% of the test persons; The results are only related to student teachers. In terms of voice, it was almost 40% with impairment. The focus of the investigation on articulation also recorded almost 40% of inadequacies. Terrifying results that show that the courses offered are insufficient for around a quarter of the students. This was followed by additional support at the respective college or university, which was only possible through the extraordinary commitment of the lecturers. Around 15% of the test persons had an urgent need for therapy due to voice disorders. With the help of the study, considerable deficits were also identified in the areas of reading aloud and free speech. About 9% of the students were noticed, for example, by speaking monotonously and for 5.5% the text to be read could not be reproduced in a meaningful way (cf. ibid., P. 104ff.).The second part of the study now dealt with the question of whether a previous aptitude test of the voice would have reduced the proportion of discrepant students. The data collection was carried out according to the same principle as in the first partial study. There were 3,380 surveys of student teachers. The results in the breathing and voice functional groups were slightly better, but there was no noticeable difference. However, there was hardly any need for therapy among students with a proficiency test during their studies, which is why such examinations are necessary. Serious voice disorders can be recognized and treated in this way. An examination is in no way a substitute for a speaker training course. Rules and exercises for voice hygiene must nonetheless be learned for a speaking profession (cf. ibid., P. 107f.). The third sub-study deals with work-related voice disorders in the teaching profession and is still being implemented in the form of a case-control study. This means that a group of patients with voice disorders is compared with a group of test subjects with healthy voices. Two of the hypotheses to be examined were: Teachers who received speech training lessons are less at risk of voice disorders than those without lessons. Teachers who have been certified are less prone to voice disorders than teachers without a certificate of proficiency. So far 95 people have been examined (as of September 2011), so that no concrete statements can yet be made. However, it has already been deduced that if there is no speech training in the course of study, the risk of developing a functional voice disorder is roughly three times as high as that of subjects with speech training (cf. ibid., P. 108f.). In May 2005, inter alia Siegrun Lemke founded the initiative “Speech training in the teaching profession”. The whole thing is coordinated by the Central German Association for Speech Science and Speech Education e. V. (short MDVS). Since student teachers are not prepared in a future-oriented way for their vocal-intensive profession, the initiative developed basic documents to convince cost and decision-makers of their views (cf. ibid., P. 110).

One of the formulated goals is the demand for at least three semester hours per week in speaker education for all trainee teachers, which should take place in groups of up to 15 people.


1 For the sake of simplicity, the generic masculine is used. This refers explicitly to both genders.

2 Feathering means the arrangement of the muscle fibers of a muscle in relation to its tendon. We speak of feathered muscles when the muscle fibers do not run parallel to their insertion tendon, but at an angle to it (cf. Morgado-Schwarz, Rosalinda: Skelettmuskulatur. Available online at: http://www.rms- Files / anatomy / a273.htm. Accessed on January 14, 2015).

3 The superscript and subscript numbers serve to illustrate the octave in which the tones are located (see Fig. 2). The lowest octave on the piano begins with A2 (subcontra octave). As the pitch rises, the numbers become smaller (A2, H2, C1). After the subscript 1 there is only the capitalized letter (large octave) and then it continues with lowercase letters (small octave). This is followed by superscript numbers in ascending order (c1, c2, c3 etc.) on the keyboard to c5, which is referred to as a five-stroke octave (see Ziegenrücker, 2009, p. 34f.).

4 Distance between two tones that sound simultaneously or one after the other.

5 The laryngoscope is a device for looking closely at the larynx.

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