In private practice since 1995, Dr. Michelle Yagoda is an Otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor) who provides professional voice care to entertainers on- and off-Broadway, performers of the New York City and Metropolitan Operas, professional and recreational singers of all genres, disc jockeys, screen actors, vocal coaches, voice students, radio and television announcers, accent coaches, traveling theater groups, clergy members, politicians, trial lawyers and all professions where one’s voice is crucial to one’s livelihood. A member of the New York Singing Teachers’ Association and Medical Director for the Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy, Dr. Yagoda has been hailed as one of the best and most comprehensive vocal health experts in New York, NYC, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.
What makes Dr. Yagoda’s approach so novel? Chiefly, it’s that she proposes a multidisciplinary approach to vocal health—comprised of a team of professionals including an ENT physician, voice coach, singing teacher, and speech pathologist. Prior to her efforts, those involved in voice care each operated independently and spoke a “different language.” The team approach allows all voice professionals to communicate effectively with one another, enabling them to provide a level of care that is higher than the sum of their individual parts.
Always a perfectionist and firm believer of an integrative approach, Dr. Yagoda of New York/NYC/Manhattan also recommends lifestyle changes that may include stress reduction, breathing and postural training, pain relief, strength and flexibility training, nutritional counseling, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, physical therapy, chiropractic care and massage. She believes these services will maximize performance and enhance overall vocal vitality. In addition, she is a proponent of the Cross-Choral Training Technique that allows singers to safely train in all non-classical genres of music. The Cross-Choral Training Technique also enables boys to sing safely through the voice changes associated with puberty.
Evaluations are by appointment only at Dr. Yagoda’s New York, NYC, Manhattan office. Evening hours and private theater visits can be arranged.
Dr. Yagoda’s Tips for a Healthy Voice:
- Do drink 6-8 eight ounce glasses of water daily
- Do treat allergies and infections promptly
- Do rest your voice in times of illness
- Do keep background noise to a minimum
- Do find a vocal coach – classically trained singers have less vocal tension and can produce a clearer, stronger voice, versus non-trained singers who are consequently more likely to injure their voices
- Do stay relaxed – release stress with yoga, aerobics and meditation
- Don’t clear your throat – sip water or take a deep breath instead
- Don’t cough if you can avoid it – it will become a bad habit
- Don’t sing after drinking alcohol – the alcohol may numb your vocal cords and you may be unable to feel their fatigue
- Don’t accept roles out of your vocal range to “gain experience” – the price of injury can be quite high
- Don’t clench your teeth – this will cause tension in your jaw muscles
- Don’t raise your voice when you are angry – yelling may injure your cords – take some deep breaths through your mouth and let the air out with a soft sigh
- Avoid caffeinated, alcoholic, and acidic beverages
- Avoid smoky environments
- Avoid excessive yawning – this may strain the muscles of your throat and voice
- Avoid frequent aspirin use – it may contribute to vocal cord hemorrhage
- Avoid unnatural uses of the voice such as imitating machine noises, sirens and animals, etc.
- Avoid excessive loud talking – this may lead to vocal strain