By Joanne Nesbit, U-M News and Information
Michigan vs University of Utah
Official Game Program
September 21, 2002
The Michigan Marching Band works at getting
in shape months before an appearance at
the season's first football game - a lot
of hard work in hot weather to avoid the
risk of injury to feet and ankles.
Members of the Wolverine football team
work all year to keep in top physical shape
and concentrate on grueling workouts for
22 days before the season opener.
But how about the fans? Can they work out
and avoid injury, especially to their vocal
cords as they cheer on the Wolverines? Yes
they can, say the experts at U-M's Vocal
Health Center who recommend some healthy
vocal habits for U-M football fans.
The center offers comprehensive care for
the voice and voice disorders experienced
by both the professional and non-professional
voice user. Clients include internationally
renowned performers, athletic coaches, teachers,
clergy, corporate executives, salespeople,
attorneys, politicians, radio and television
professionals, actors, telephone operators,
and public speakers.
The first step toward being able to produce
a strong voice at a football game is to
be well-hydrated. That means drinking plenty
of water before, during, and after the game.
And it doesn't mean alcoholic beverages
or those that contain caffeine.
While heading to Michigan Stadium, let
out some lip or tongue trills, and do some
slow glides up and down the scale. To get
in the true Wolverine spirit, run the scale
with: Goooooooooooo Blue!
U-M Experts suggest that you take in a
good breath and use plenty of airflow. Let
just a slight sensation of breath escape
with the voice when you give out those cheers.
Once you've led the team to victory, don't
forget a cool-down for your voice. Treat
it gently by doing some soft humming on
the way home. "The Victors" will work well
for this, but keep the volume on medium.
Once home, rest your voice for the next
24 hours. Don't yell at the kids, the dog,
your spouse, or a rival team on TV.
If you lost control of this vocal health
program while at the game and are experiencing
some vocal distress, U-M experts recommend
lozenges, but warn to avoid those with eucalyptus,
menthol, or peppermint. One Wolverine fan
who suffered professionally by abusing his
voice while cheering on the team is Rev.
Tom Firestone, pastor at St. Mary's Student
Parish in Ann Arbor.
"I yell plenty," he says. "I used to lose
myself at games."
That yelling at Saturday football games
led to trouble when he went to work at Sunday
mass. The strain on his voice led him to
Leslie Guinn at the Vocal Health Center
. Now he does vocal exercises to strengthen
his voice even while driving.
So the former high school and Xavier University
defensive back didn't have to relinquish
cheering the Wolverines at home and away
games to keep his job. He is successful
at both because he uses the plan for maintaining
a healthy voice.
U-M's Vocal Health Center is headed by
Dr. Norman D. Hogikyan, surgeon and associate
professor of otolaryngology at U-M. Working
with Hogikyan is Marc Haxer, a senior speech
and language pathologist, and Leslie Guinn,
professor emeritus of music, a professional
bass baritone and prize-winning recording
artist who has collaborated with otolaryngologists
in the rehabilitation of the injured voice
for the past 25 years.
For more information about vocal health
and the center, call (734) 432-7666 or visit