The Voice Book: Caring For, Protecting, & Improving Your Voice by Kate DeVore & Starr Cookman

My Copy: 9781556528293 (image from

I’m trying to remember exactly why I bought this book, but I think it was to help me out when I was starting out as a tour guide and teaching. I have a loud voice, annoyingly loud to me most of the time, but I don’t have much strength in it. I get going too long and my voice starts to crack.

Unfortunately, life did that pesky-intervening thing, so instead of learning from it years ago, it sat on my shelf. But I’m putting what I’m learning to good, practical use as best I can this month. I’m still reading and learning, because this is more of a course-in-a-book than a simple read-through. Tons of exercises and points of interest to work with.

The Voice Book is about 200 pages long and has a lot in it, mostly revolving around the basics of how your voice works and tips and exercises to work with. I was a bit skeptical at first when looking through this book because the first few chapters are like an anatomy lesson, talking about the different muscles and bones in the neck area. That might be a bit much for some people if they just want to do some basic improvements, but I think there’s something to it.

I had to set aside my skepticism (and will do more re-reading) on these areas. It’s technical, but also explains why some people have difficulty with their voices and breathing in general, the different areas of the neck that get tense can really throw you off. Also, posture is a big deal, and lower lung breathing.

I myself have problems with articulation, too. It’s like I get excitable about a subject and my tongue trips over itself trying to get the info out (and then it just sounds wrong and I waste time correcting my speech–ugh). I blame an overbite and years of braces for my tongue-twisters, having to compensate for all that crap in my mouth and not cut my tongue. Bad habits developed and I haven’t learned the tools to get over them. Articulation awareness would help, and there’s much on proper articulation in this book that I’m still working with.

There’s an audio CD to use with the book. Now, admittedly, I wish it was a DVD (maybe later editions will have that) and that it had demonstrations about displaying proper alignment beyond the pictures of the book and how to correct problems in addition to vocal examples contained on the disc.

I have bad posture myself. I’ve had it so long I don’t recognize or know what good posture is (or how to find it in myself–I’ll probably need some physical help with that, not just observation. But maybe I can help release tension in my neck at the very least.

Anyhoo, the book is a great resource for those who want to be better, clearer speakers, actors/actresses, singers, speech therapists…pretty much anyone who deals with prolonged use of the voice. I have some students with speech issues and will see if I can teach them some of the techniques in this book as time goes on (with permission, of course), but I’d want to see how they work with me, first. I’m not a speech therapist, but I’d like to see if any of this is familiar to parents whose students have issues with speech.

It might be a bit technical for some, but it’s pretty concise considering how often the voice is used and in various capacities. I’d recommend at least a look-through.

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