Singing As Therapy: How Song Can Help Improve Your Voice

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When you think of singing, you might think of a group choir or maybe your favorite musical artist. But you may not have put a lot of thought into how much singing can help your voice.

Your voice is an important tool for communicating with others. But if your voice is quiet, damaged or difficult for people to understand, it can make it challenging to express yourself or get a point across. For people with voice disorders, this is something they struggle to manage every day. Fortunately, there are therapeutic options out there to help improve vocal coordination.

“Voice therapy teaches people with voice disorders how to use their voice effectively without harm,” says Alice Silbergleit, Ph.D., a certified speech-language pathologist for Henry Ford Health System. “Patients learn how to work on vocal range and flexibility through balance and coordination with breath skills, techniques which can also help enhance your vocal endurance.”

However, the success of voice therapy sessions relies heavily on doing your homework. Following these therapy sessions, your speech-language pathologist will share exercises that can help continue your therapy. When patients don’t continue to use their vocal exercises at home, they might not see any improvement.

That’s why more speech-language pathologists are recommending singing to individuals with neurological or medical conditions as a supplement to traditional voice therapy. Singing allows patients to practice using their voice in a different way.

The Benefits Of Singing

“There are many techniques of singing that can help to target your range of voice, breathing and speaking coordination,” says Dr. Silbergleit. “Many of the ways that singers use their voices are similar practices to what we teach in voice therapy sessions.”

For example, in voice therapy, different exercises help you work on projecting your voice and controlling your breathing. This same practice is used when you sing - there are different parts in songs when you may need to raise or lower the volume of your voice or take a controlled breath between lines.

In addition to learning how to safely support your voice, therapeutic singing can also help improve:

  • Mouth movements
  • Posture
  • Coordination and balance
  • Tension caused by neck strain
  • General stress
  • Mood and mental health
  • Lung function
  • Memory function (for patients with dementia)

Is Therapeutic Singing Right For Me?

“For individuals with Parkinson’s disease or other neurological or medical conditions, group singing may be beneficial to continue practicing voice therapy exercises in an expanded manner,” says Dr. Silbergleit. “There are therapeutic choirs out there, like ours, that emphasize learning new ways to use the voice in a supportive, community environment.”

In fact, research shows that individuals with Parkinson’s disease who were involved in singing groups saw improved respiratory function and overall quality of life. And group singing can have similar effects on individuals with or without any medical conditions.

“Even if you don't have any singing experience, singing as voice therapy is definitely something that we would recommend for voice disorder patients,” says Dr. Silbergleit. “It is a fun way to take traditional voice therapy to the next level with continued practice.”


Want to learn more about singing as a form a voice therapy? Henry Ford’s Motor City Upbeats is a local, therapeutic choir that puts these concepts into practice. The choir is free to participate in and is currently meeting virtually, in light of COVID-19 safety. No prior singing experience is required! To register or learn more, visit henryford.com/upbeats.

Dr. Alice Silbergleit is a certified speech-language pathologist and the director of Speech-Language Sciences and Disorders with the Henry Ford Neurology department. She sees patients at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.

Categories: FeelWell