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Posted by Lara Minges on May 21, 2000 at 02:33:05:

In Reply to: Voice lessons for adult with CP posted by Jennifer Watkins on January 05, 2000 at 20:04:00:

Hi. My name is Laura. I am not sure when this message was posted, but wanted to add my opinion nonetheless. I have CP, use a wheelchair, and have sung in various choirs and done limited soloing since the second grade. If there is anything I can add here, it is indeed that CP is very individual, but if a person's speaking pitch, tone, and enunciation are unaffected, their singing voice should be as well. Specific considerations one must be aware of in working with ppl who happen to have CP are:
1. The relative strength of the diaphragm. Cp often affects these muscles.
2. Quality of breath control- may be good one day, fair the next, but I've found it to be greatly improved by consciously breathing before reaching high notes, and doing regular deep breathing exercises.
3. Quality of speaking voice- Does the person pause for breath in the middle of sentences? (A certain amount of this is common, much of it poses a challenge) Are pitch and volume within acceptable levels? Does pitch rise sharply without warning?
4. Projection- Some people with CP, myself included, can have difficulty projecting and thus inconsistent success.
All these are issues. However, all but number 3 are also issues for nondisabled singers to various degrees. Basically, if the person shows no noticeable speech involvement (except, perhaps, when very tired or excited) they may be a good candidate for voice training. If not, speech therapy may be a better solution.

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