Singers, do you know how to care for your voice? Ignoring your overall health may lead to vocal cord problems and more. Here, Hayward, CA teacher Molly R. offers her easy tips to start practicing today…
We singers have it easy in some ways. For one, we don’t have to go out and buy a pricey instrument! However, since we ARE our instrument, we have to take extra precautions every day to make sure things work! Here are some easy tricks to help keep that marvelous voice of yours in great shape.
1) Get plenty of rest! A tired body means a tired voice — simple as that. We all lead busy schedules these days, but it’s crucial to do your best to get a reasonable amount of rest, especially before performance and voice lesson days. That doesn’t mean you need a full eight hours every night — everyone’s different and may feel energized and be healthy with less. Know what you need in general to feel ready to go!
2) Stay hydrated. Guzzling tons of water right before a performance or lesson won’t really help you. In fact, you can over-hydrate this way. The rule of thumb is to stay hydrated throughout your day for both general and vocal health. One thing I suggest to my students is to bring an apple (cut into fourths) to their lesson or performance. It’s the perfect ratio of water and enzymes to keep you hydrated as well as break up unpleasant stuff on your vocal folds!
3) Use it… or lose it! Even a little bit of vocalizing goes a long way. Make sure you do a little something for your voice every day, if possible. Even a few minutes of sirens and slides (no piano required, and perhaps the simplest vocal warm-ups of all!) will help you keep everything in shape. Going too long without vocalizing means it will take longer to warm up your voice.
4) Protect yourself from poor speaking habits. It’s not worth it to shout! If you find yourself at a party with lots of background noise, for example, never force your voice in order for someone to hear you. This can cause a lot of vocal cord problems. Try stepping away from the noise to someplace else if you can. If you’re a sports fan, control your emotions at the games! Plenty of people find themselves voiceless the next day due to screaming for their favorite team. Again, it’s not worth it. You just caused phonotrauma (ouch!) — and your favorite players can’t hear you, anyway!
We are only given one voice, so it’s super important that you nurture it. By doing so, you can continue singing for years to come! If you ever have any questions or concerns about good vocal hygiene, do make sure you address them with your voice teacher. He or she will be more than happy to encourage good habits!
Molly R. teaches online and in-person singing lessons in Hayward, CA. Her specialties include teaching beginner vocalists, shy singers, children, teens, lapsed singers, and older beginners. She joined TakeLessons in November 2013. Learn more about Molly here!
Photo by CSUF Photos