As a singer, you probably know how important it is to take care of your voice — it is your instrument, after all! If you’re already staying hydrated and doing your daily warm-ups, take it a step further by trying these strange (but effective) strategies in this guest post by Ann Arbor, MI voice teacher Elaina R...
Most people know that water and rest are good for the voice. Warming up properly and engaging in physical activity like yoga can also keep you healthy and happy.
But beyond that, did you know there are lots of bizarre things you can do to keep your voice healthy, even when you aren’t singing? As a professional singer, I’ve acquired lots of little eccentric ways to keep my cords happy while those around me go hoarse.
If you’re like most people, you take your voice for granted. But if you use your voice all day in class, then you know how important it is to take care of it!
Here are some strange (but effective) ways to keep your singing voice healthy. But who knows – one of them might work for you!
What Do Singers Do to Protect Their Voice?
The voice is an instrument, and like any other instrument, it needs to be taken care of in order to be used effectively. Here are some exercises:
- Do the “wooo” warm-up
- Pretend to scream
- Avoid belting all the time
- Lip sync
- Pick quiet restaurants
- Mouth words in loud environments
Singers have to take special precautions to protect their voice, since they use it so much. Not sure how to go about caring for your voice? Be sure to ask your singing instructor for tips – and always warm up. Here are some fun warm ups you can do during your next singing practice routine:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhAarbtu9mI
Ways to Keep Your Voice Healthy for Singing
Here are the top seven strange ways to keep your voice healthy.
1. The Concert/Sports Game “Wooo”
The biggest culprit of vocal health problems is vocal abuse. We use our voices constantly, and if we do it wrong, the voice suffers. One place where we tend to abuse our voices is at big events like concerts and sports games, where everyone spends hours hollering at the top of their lungs.
So, what’s the solution? The concert/sports game “wooo” allows you to enjoy the thrill of yelling without killing your cords. Some people naturally do this: think of the times you’ve heard a long, high “WOOOO!” at a concert.
This head voice “wooo” is also a popular vocal warm-up. To master this, simply practice gently saying “wooo” in head voice (falsetto for men) with adequate breath support. As you get better at this, you will be able to make a lot of noise — more than the screaming, overenthusiastic fan who won’t be able to talk the next day.
Here’s a good example (skip to 1:02):
If you need help with this, ask your voice teacher.
2. Pretend to Scream on Roller Coasters
While I do enjoy healthy whooping at concerts and sports games, I choose to stay mute on roller coasters. Why? The ups and downs aren’t exactly conducive to proper vocal technique, and no one is listening to you anyway. I just open my mouth so it looks like I’m screaming and enjoy the ride. I promise it doesn’t take away from the fun, and you’ll be able to sing beautifully even after a full day at the amusement park.
3. Don’t Sing Only Christina Aguilera at Karaoke Night
Vocal health for singers is important to keep in mind, even while you’re out at karaoke! Yes, it’s fun to belt along to your favorite tunes at karaoke night (or in the car, shower, or wherever). But overdoing it can lead to serious vocal problems.
To avoid hurting yourself, limit the number of super-high belting songs you sing and try mixing in some head voice-dominant songs (Beyoncé’s “Naughty Girl“, Ellie Goulding’s “Lights”, and pretty much anything Justin Timberlake sings are good, low-impact choices).
If you find yourself belting all the time for fun, please, please, please take voice lessons. Belting is not inherently unhealthy, and you can learn how to do it right — but it can injure your voice if you do it wrong (trust me, I know from experience).
4. Lip Sync at Concerts
Concerts are bad for voices. Not only do we scream at them, we also sing along — loudly and badly — to our favorite songs. Doing this is fun, but if you don’t want to wave goodbye to your voice, try lip syncing. No one will notice, and you’ll still have a great time (as well as showing everyone that you know all of the lyrics).
5. Support Your Speaking Voice
Did you know that voice therapists treat people who talk a lot (actors, reporters, lecturers, etc.) just as often as they treat singers? You probably talk more than you sing, and talking too loudly or with lots of tension can harm your voice.
If you have a voice teacher, ask him or her to devote a lesson to healthy, supported speaking. Your voice teacher can help you apply breath support, throat relaxation, and other vocal techniques to your speaking.
If you don’t have a teacher, consider getting one! But in the meantime, try speaking while thinking about breath support and resonance concepts. If you get the hang of it, your speaking voice will have more range (no monotone here) and be louder with less physical effort.
6. Pick Quiet Restaurants
If you’re going out for a nice long meal, consider noise levels. Some restaurants are so loud that you have to shout across the table, and by the end of the meal your voice won’t feel so great. Taking noise levels into account will not only protect your vocal cords, it will make the dinner conversation much more audible and enjoyable.
7. Mouth Words at Clubs
Remember tip #4? You can use this at noisy clubs, parties, and other events as well. If people try to talk to you, they aren’t going to be able to hear you unless you shout. But they might actually understand you if you mouth your words clearly. If they don’t, they will lean in and you can speak at a comfortable volume.
How to Improve Your Voice Quality for Singing
The first step to improving your singing voice is to understand how your vocal cords work. The vocal cords are two thin bands of muscle tissue that vibrate when you breathe in and out.
When you exhale, the vocal cords vibrate and produce sound. The quality of your voice depends on a number of factors, including the size and shape of your vocal chords, the amount of air you exhale, and the way you use your mouth and tongue. By learning how to control these factors, you can improve the quality of your singing voice.
One way to improve the quality of your singing voice is to focus on breath control.
Proper breath control allows you to sustain long notes without running out of air. It also helps prevent fatigue, so you can sing for longer periods of time without tiring yourself out.
To improve your breath control, practice breathing deeply from your diaphragm, instead of taking shallow breaths from your chest. Another way to improve your singing voice is to practice vowel modification. Vowel modification involves changing the shape of your mouth to make different vowel sounds.
By doing this, you can refine the sound of your voice and make it more expressive.
Finally, practice enunciation exercises regularly.
How to Protect Your Voice When Singing
As any singer knows, the voice is a delicate instrument. With regular use, it can become hoarse and cracked, making it difficult to hit those high notes. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that singers can take to protect their voices.
First, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This is the best way to keep your voice healthy. This will help to keep the vocal cords lubricated and prevent them from becoming too dry.
Second, avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, as this can irritate the vocal cords.
Third, try not to shout or speak too loudly, as this can put undue strain on the vocal cords.
Finally, take breaks often when singing, and be sure to warm up before practicing or performing. By following these simple tips, singers can help keep their voices in top form.
What Foods Improve Your Voice?
A person’s voice is an important tool, both in personal and professional settings. Whether you’re trying to be heard in a crowded room or deliver a presentation to a group of colleagues, having a strong, clear voice is essential. While there are many factors that can influence the quality of your voice, such as genetics and age, what you eat can also play a role. There are several foods that are known to improve voice quality, including:
- Water: Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining a healthy voice. When you’re dehydrated, your vocal cords can become dry and irritated, which can lead to hoarseness. Aim to drink eight glasses of water per day.
- Honey: Honey has been used traditionally to soothe the throat and help with coughs. It also has antibacterial properties that can help keep your vocal cords healthy. Add a tablespoon of honey to warm tea or water iced water throughout the day.
- Ginger: Ginger has long been used as a remedy for nausea and stomach discomfort. However, it can also help improve voice quality. Ginger root is thought to help reduce inflammation in the throat and larynx (voice box). You can also try adding fresh ginger root to your smoothie.
How Can I Heal My Voice Naturally?
There are many things you can do to heal your voice naturally.
First, drink plenty of fluids. This will help keep your vocal cords moist and prevent them from drying out and becoming irritated.
Second, avoid overusing your voice. If you find yourself needing to speak loudly or for long periods of time, take a break as soon as possible.
Third, practice some simple vocal exercises to keep your voice in good shape. These exercises can help improve your vocal range, flexibility, and breath control.
Finally, get regular checkups with a doctor or speech therapist to ensure that your vocal cords are healthy and function properly. By following these tips, you can help heal your voice and keep it healthy for years to come.
How to Protect Your Voice When Speaking
As you can see, you don’t have to be a hermit to keep your voice healthy. Go to all of the social gatherings, concerts, clubs, restaurants, and sports games you want. If you keep these seven strange ways to keep your voice healthy in mind, your vocal cords will stay as rested as if you had stayed at home and watched Netflix.
Ask your vocal instructor for more tips on how to protect your voice and for ways to keep your voice healthy. The next time you have an important performance, try these tips to protect your voice and sing with confidence. You’ll be glad you did!
Learn More About Vocal Health for Singers
- The Absolute BEST Vocal Exercises for Every Singing Goal [Videos]
- Video: 4 Effective Vocal Warm-Ups to Try When You’re Sick
- Quiz: Do You Treat Your Voice Right? | Vocal Health
Photo by Jeff