singing in the summer

Summer Bummer: 6 Warm-Weather Dangers for Singers

singing in the summer

Are you paying attention to your vocal health? The summer season presents some unique challenges when it comes to caring for your voice. Learn a few summer tips for singers in this guest post by vocal teacher Elaina R

 

Summer is in full-swing! The season of green grass, hot sun, pool parties, and BBQs is my favorite time of year. But as a singer, I also have to watch out for the special hazards that warmer weather brings.

While winter is definitely a singer’s roughest season (zero humidity and the flu are no fun), summer holds some unexpected dangers for your vocal cords. Check out my summer tips for singers below, and have a fantastic and vocally healthy summer!

1. Dehydration

Hotter weather often means sweat and more time outside, so you have to be extra careful to stay hydrated. Vocal cords are made out of the same soft, moist stuff as the inside of your cheek, and when they don’t get enough water, they become more brittle and susceptible to damage. So be sure to drink plenty of water, not just for your vocal cords, but for your whole body!

2. Allergies

Unfortunately, all of the living things that make summer so gorgeous — flowers, trees, grass — can also cause allergies. Allergy symptoms can include coughing, sneezing, congestion, and a bunch of other problems that inhibit breathing and irritate the throat.

One of these issues, post-nasal drip, is particularly damaging to singers because it involves mucus dripping from the sinuses onto the vocal cords, irritating and inflaming them. Many singers (myself included) use OTC medications, nasal sprays, and neti pots to deal with these problems.

3. Amusement Parks

Amusement parks can be lots of fun, but they also encourage lots of vocal abuse: loud talking, yelling, and, of course, SCREAMING on the roller coasters and other rides. Screaming involves slamming your vocal cords together rapidly, and as you might imagine, it isn’t good for you. If you’ve ever found yourself hoarse after visiting an amusement park, you know exactly what I mean.

Luckily, I have a sneaky trick that can completely eliminate vocal damage at amusement parks. When I ride roller coasters and other rides, I open my mouth — but I don’t actually make any noise. No one notices, I have just as much fun, and my voice feels great at the end of the day!

4. Smoke

I love BBQs and bonfires, but smoke can cause coughing, wheezing, and mucus buildup. Avoiding this one is easy — just sit downwind of bonfires, and be careful not to inhale too much smoke while BBQing. You can also volunteer to cut up the watermelon and leave the BBQ to someone else.

5. Concerts

Summer brings a wave of outdoor concerts and music festivals. While these events can be a blast, they often involve singing along (usually loudly and with bad technique) as well as yelling and screaming.

I bet you can guess my antidote for this one! Just like at amusement parks, I don’t actually make much noise at concerts. I mouth all the words and I look like I’m cheering along with everyone else, but I don’t actually use my voice. I have a great time AND my voice feels great the next day.

6. Air Conditioning

While summer air in many climates is nice and moist, air conditioning changes all that. Air conditioning removes moisture from the air, resulting in dry, wintery conditions. This can irritate the respiratory system and cause coughing just like winter air. Air conditioning and fans can also circulate dust, aggravating allergies.

To combat this, try not to crank up the air conditioning too much at home. If you spend a lot of time in a highly air-conditioned environment (like an office), you can protect yourself by staying hydrated and using cough drops or a personal humidifier if your throat feels dry.


By working these tips for singers into your day, you can enjoy summer to the fullest without harming your vocal cords. Your body and your voice teacher will both thank you. Now get out there and enjoy the weather!

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Photo by Roger Blackwell

Post Author: Elaina R.
Elaina R. teaches opera voice and singing in Ypsilanti, MI, as well as through online lessons. She received her Master of Music from the University of Michigan, and she has a B.M. from the University of Southern California. Learn more about Elaina here!

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