FAQ8: How long should I practice daily in order to get proficient with my TEP voice?
Answer provided by Paul Galioni, Susanville, CA
(A laryngectomee and ex-paramedic)
In Education we learn that practice only makes Permanent - not Perfect.
So before you do things wrong to the point that you have a horrid time unlearning them -- make sure you are doing it right. As others have pointed out - the biggest cause of early frustration and failure is trying too hard.
When you try too hard, you tense up -- your entire Self gets into the act - and it doesn't need to. The only thing you need to do is pass air through the prosthesis - and curling your toes or pressing harder on your stoma isn't going to make any more or less air go through your prosthesis.
So, practice for a few minutes at a time several times a day -- and take a break when you begin to feel yourself tense up.
While most people believe that the more time you spend the more you learn, it isn't true in the real world. Everyone know what 'burn-out' is - especially when studying. You cannot read an entire text book overnight and learn the material. Most all experts say - take a break every couple of hours.
And so it is when you try too hard. the harder you try, the less you get done. And all the while you are forming habits which may or may not be healthy or productive.
So, practice each day with someone, and when you feel yourself begin to tense up - take a break and use your EL. Then when you are feeling a little more relaxed, go back to trying to use your prosthesis.
And it doesn't hurt to be, in the beginning, hyper aware of the tenseness in your neck and shoulders and arms and hand. And like I say - when you find yourself leaning forward with your toes curled up - you are probably too tense - so make a conscious decision to relax - lean back, take a couple of deep breaths, and consciously tell yourself to relax muscles and uncurl your toes, and then give it another shot - and then switch to the EL and really relax.
By learning that way you can learn more faster than if you just keep plugging away - remember that practice does not make perfect - practice makes Permanent.