For singers, our voice is our instrument, and we must take proper care of it! You wouldn’t go canoeing on your double bass or use a piano as a planter – your vocal health needs to be suitably looked after too, so you can always sing at your best. Here are 10 simple tips for maintaining your vocal health.
Professional athletes always warm up their bodies to prevent injury or strain. Your warmup, as a vocalist, is an important part of your singing routine and must be included whether you are practicing or performing. This is a great way to assess your vocal health too – sometimes, you might notice slight changes in your vocal range or delivery and that’s totally fine. You can use that information to structure the rest of your session.
Warming up will not only help to prevent damage to your vocal cords. It’ll also help you perform at your best by waking up your full range, properly engaging all the body parts we use to produce sound.
Reduce Alcohol And Caffeine Consumption
Frequently consuming alcohol and caffeine can dry up your vocal cords, making them more vulnerable to straining and injury. Now, we are not saying you should avoid nights out with your friends or your morning cup of java. Just be mindful how this will affect your body and pay extra attention to how much water you drink throughout the day, especially, after a heavy night out. This will help to keep your vocal cords nice and supple.
Maintaining optimum vocal health is closely tied to our vocal technique. That is why it’s so important to engage our diaphragm and proper breathing techniques. This will prevent ‘singing from your throat’, which can be harmful and damaging to your voice long term. Without proper support, singing can feel much like shouting and have similar negative effects.
Look After Your Body
Your body is your instrument, so keeping it healthy will allow your voice to thrive! Eating a wholesome, nourishing diet, getting plenty of sleep will give you the stamina and energy required for achieving your vocal goals. Adding some exercise into your daily routine will also improve your breathing, which is crucial for a powerful, strong voice.
Learn The Proper Singing Techniques
All professional vocalists have received coaching at one point or another, if not regularly. This is because we need to know the proper vocal techniques to maintain our vocal health. It becomes especially crucial if you are performing and recording regularly, for long periods of time and your voice needs to keep up with a busy schedule. So don’t neglect proper vocal training if you are looking to sustainably maintain and improve your voice for years to come!
If It Hurts, Stop!
Always listen to your body! Don’t keep pushing if you feel pain or pinching in the back of your throat. If singing feels strained, pay attention to when and why this might be happening – are you running out of breath or struggling to support your voice? Is this an uncomfortable range for your voice? Maybe you’re dehydrated, haven’t slept well or are simply a little tired? All these factors will affect your sound, so pay attention to them and don’t keep pushing if you feel pain or discomfort.
This goes without saying – smoking is extremely harmful, not just for your vocal cords, but also your overall health. Speak to your doctor on ways they can help you quit smoking for good. Your voice will thank you!
Constant talking, singing, and generally overusing your voice can be very tiring and even lead to vocal damage. Make sure you take plenty of breaks and ‘vocal naps’ – this means avoiding talking or singing for a period of time. This is especially important for touring and gigging musicians. Give your voice the time it needs to rest and recover.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Just like reducing alcohol and caffeine intake will keep your vocal cords hydrated, making sure you drink plenty of fluids throughout the day is crucial for optimum vocal health! Always have a bottle of water with you when you are practicing or performing and keep sipping on water or herbal teas throughout the day.
Avoid Clearing Your Throat
Frequently clearing your throat and coughing causes excess wear and tear, which leads to vocal damage. Instead, try sipping some water or having lozenges to help clear your throat. If you have a cold, flu or cough, you may want to avoid singing altogether to give yourself the proper time to recover and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your body.
How Do You Know If Your Vocal Health Might Be At Risk?
Breathiness, hoarseness and pain can all indicate some vocal damage and are usually signs that you need to rest your voice. If these signs are ignored, you may struggle with your pitch, projection and, if you carry on straining, you could temporarily lose your voice. Most of the time, these symptoms can be relieved by taking some time to rest and recover. However, if you notice they are prolonged and vocal damage is starting to affect your pitch, tone and range, always consult with a specialist who can examine you and determine if treatment is necessary. The quicker you can spot signs of vocal damage and take the required action, the better.
Why Is It So Important To Look After Your Vocal Health?
For singers, our bodies are our instruments – so naturally, how well you look after your physical health will have a direct effect on your performance. A healthy diet, regular exercise, proper sleep and staying hydrated will improve your stamina, endurance and get you off to a great start to nail your singing lesson or your next gig. Furthermore, vocal cords, which are the soft tissue folds in your windpipe can be easily damaged with improper technique, wear and tear and dehydration. Look after them by following the above tips and watch your voice sustainably thrive and improve!
Learn World-Class Singing Techniques For Improved Vocal Health
At London Singing Institute, we specialise in providing adult singing lessons in an encouraging, motivating environment. Our experienced vocal coaches will help you tap into your unique voice, teaching you the techniques used by world-class professionals to keep your voice healthy and powerful for years to come. Contact us today to enquire about our singing courses in pop, musical theatre, classical, jazz, blues and rock!
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