Davis Phinney and Kelsey Phinney Practice Vocal Exercises for Parkinson’s

EP 111 - podcast image (1)

Speech and voice impairments are common among those living with Parkinson’s. As many as 90% of people with Parkinson’s experience difficulties such as “hypophonia” (soft speech) or a more monotone, raspy or breathy voice (Duffy, 2005). Speech can become less intelligible and can make communication difficult, especially if paired with decreased facial expressions (facial masking).  It comes as no surprise that speech and voice impairments can impact quality of life.

In this episode, Davis Phinney and his daughter Kelsey practice vocal exercises, and Davis sings a few classic rock songs. You'll notice how Davis's voice gets louder and clearer over the course of the session. Practice singing every day and you and your loved ones will notice changes in the quality of your voice, too.

In this episode, Davis sings:

  • 8 Days a Week by The Beatles
  • Take it Easy by the Eagles
  • Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey


  • Your voice is a muscle; the stronger your vocal muscles are, the better your voice is
  • Singing is a great warm-up if you know you're going to be interacting with others
  • Singing also helps with facial masking
  • Ensuring you maintain a good posture will help with your breathing and ability to sing
  • Davis uses a device called an EMST (Expiratory muscle strength training) that helps him with his breathing, coughing, and swallowing
  • When you do the exercises, remember to relax and resist the temptation to try "hard"
  • Start with basic ohs, ahs, and ees. Hold them for as long as you're able to maintain the sound
  • Keep your mouth open as you do each one
  • Do a range of la la la la la la la la las
  • Then, pick your favorite songs and sing as long as it feels good and fun to you (practice singing flat and expressionless and then add in movement and expressions and notice how it helps you project more loudly)
  • When you're finished, end with some fun rubber ducky motorboat noises


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*The Second Season of the Parkinson’s Podcast is made possible through generous support in honor of Dr. Margaret Hilgartner.

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Comments (3)

Thanks, that was fun! Wish I had a daughter to sing with. Bless you!

Thanks. I loved your singing together so much. I’m sharing this with my boxers. You are so inspiring.

Thank you for listening, Barbara!

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