If you are a singer or someone else with an interest in problems affecting the singing voice, you may like to know about VoxOp, a new support group founded by a singer with a history of voice problems and two voice professionals.
VoxOp is intended to be a forum to offer practical information and emotional support to professional singers who have vocal difficulties requiring surgical intervention. The idea was developed predominantly due to the enthusiasm and energy of Sophie Garner, a professional singer, who has experienced vocal problems herself. She has been supported through her rehabilitation journey and in setting up the group by Mark Meylan, singing teacher and Claire Wells, speech & language therapist.
The aim of VoxOp is to provide singers with a space where they can share all aspects of their vocal trauma. Many singers with vocal injuries have times of sadness, anger and regret amongst other feelings. The impact of the vocal difficulties is a form of loss that many singers have described to be like bereavement. The group can provide an outlet and support for these feelings. In addition, it is anticipated that guest speakers will be invited to offer advice in their expert field related to vocal production.
Between the group members, there will be a wealth of knowledge and experience that they can share to continue their healing process and to help get their voices to the best possible place.
Of course, it is recognised that the group members will be under a vocal rehabilitation team and this support group is intended to offer additional support for this group of clients and their unique issues.
Interested people can access the group at any time in their vocal rehabilitation journey.
I had a vocal operation in April of 2010. I have been a professional singer for most of my working life and the thought of an operation was terrifying. My operation was a success and after a considerable break from being able to work, I have now returned to singing.
During this recovery period, Mark and I came up with the idea of creating VoxOp. We both felt there was a total lack of support for singers who have experienced severe vocal issues that require surgery. VoxOp was formed with the intention of providing that support, both pre and post op, and in a wider sense, to serve as a focal point for vocal teachers, healthcare professionals and most importantly the singer.
Over the years I have had many singers referred to me post-op, and while many of their problems have fallen into categories: vocal cyst, sulcus vocalis, Reinke's oedema, all of their rehab journeys have been unique.
Singers have a need and desire to return to singing as this is often a major part of their identity, they need to return to singing not only for their sanity but also for the income.
Any singer in difficulty will be dependent on their 'team' for advice, help and support. A basic team may consist of a laryngologist and speech and language therapist with possibly a manual voice therapist, singing teacher and voice teacher. Sadly, damaged singers are a small group in the workload of any voice professional.
Patient support groups have been established in many areas of medicine and a professional singers’ support group seems to be well overdue. In my experience, singers with vocal problems often feel very isolated. I hope that this group will provide singers with a place to talk to others in a similar situation to them.