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Singing a new tune

Man who lost his voice rediscovered it through unusual techniques

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After being diagnosed with muscular tension dysphonia, Bruce Moore tried many treatments to get his voice back, but being coached by Glen Pierce is what finally did the trick.

JORDAN THOMPSON/CANSTAR COMMUNITY NEWS Enlarge Image

After being diagnosed with muscular tension dysphonia, Bruce Moore tried many treatments to get his voice back, but being coached by Glen Pierce is what finally did the trick. Photo Store

Bruce Moore literally sang until he couldn’t sing anymore.

Years ago, Moore, now 45, studied music in university where he used his voice quite heavily. Moore assumed his loss of voice was the result of a combination of three things: heavy strain due to constant singing, issues with his singing technique, and a whiplash injury and cold he had at the time.

"That all came together and my voice blew out one day at school," Moore said.

Twenty years ago, Moore woke up one morning and could barely utter a sound. He couldn’t sing for more than five seconds without experiencing excruciating pain.

A speech therapist told Moore he had muscular tension dysphonia, which is "characterized by a strain of the larynx due to inappropriate use of the muscles above and around the vocal cords," according to the Johns Hopkins Medicine website. "By straining, squeezing, and pushing those muscles inappropriately, the vocal cords are unable to function properly."

"No one knew how to deal with that in the medical profession," Moore said.

So Moore tried other treatments, including swimming, weightlifting, and athletic therapy — then he met voice instructor Glen Pierce.

"He started showing me stuff I never even heard of," Moore said of Pierce, who is now 102-years-old.

Pierce taught Moore to open up and relax his throat. One of the strangest things Pierce had Moore do was lie down on the floor with a heavy rock on his stomach while singing.

"It worked!" Moore chuckled.

Pierce and Moore worked together for two years before Moore could sing again.

"It wasn’t the same voice I started out with. It was a bigger, better one than I had in the beginning," Moore recalled.

Now, Moore teaches vocal training out of his Wolseley home, using some of the techniques gained from his friendship with Pierce.

For more information or to enrol, visit winnipegvocaltraining.com

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