Looking after your voice presents a different set of challenges to looking after an external instrument. Your vocal cords are a part of your body and as such are subject to all the trials and tribulations our bodies undergo on a daily basis.
It’s no coincidence that just about everything on the list of vocal care tips below could also be considered general health tips. Your voice is your instrument, but it is not separate to your body. Healthy body, healthy voice! Good luck, and take what you can from this list of tips to get started looking after your voice!
Establish a good vocal warm up routine and keep it going. Warming up is important on any instrument, but all the more essential when we’re discussing your voice – an internal instrument. This is the first and most important tip to caring for your voice. Warming up is essential. So do it now, or you’ll regret it later.
Plenty of water is needed to keep your vocal cords healthy and lubricated. The recommended amount of water per day varies depending on your chosen information source, but it’s fair to say most of us don’t drink enough water. As a starting point, if you feel thirsty or dehydrated, you probably are. Listen to your body!
No serious vocalist can afford to also be a smoker. Yes there are examples of famous smoking singers out there, but they’re succeeding in spite of their smoking, not because of it, and often end up with shorter careers, requiring surgery, or of course, contracting serious illnesses. Simply put, inhaling hundreds of toxins several times a day is quite clearly not good for your throat at all.
Rest + Recover
Again, guitarists rest their hands to not develop strain injuries, so why wouldn’t vocalists rest their voices? It is equally, if not more important to do so, as depending on the nature of our jobs and lives we may find ourselves using our voices a lot throughout the day anyway. There needs to be some quiet time for your throat to get some much-needed recuperation.
Don’t strain your voice by talking, shouting or singing too loud or in a strained manner. We’ve all done it by accident, usually from shouting to be heard at a noisy venue, singing excitedly along to something, or whatever it may be. But as a vocalist you have to be aware of when and how this might happen and do whatever you can to avoid it.
Cut Your Alcohol
Alcohol intake causes dehydration (see above!) and irritates membranes in the throat. Again, like the smoking tip above, the good news is that this is kind of just a generalized health tip, so you’re going to also see huge benefits reaching way beyond your singing! If you can’t or don’t want to cut it out altogether, cutting down will still have a great positive impact.
Posture + Positioning
If your posture and positioning is correct, then you’re effectively minimizing the strain on any part of your body (and especially the vocal cords) caused by singing. It’s about creating the least possible resistance between you and singing the note you need to sing. Good posture obviously also has lots of other benefits on your singing too. So it’s one of the basic essentials to take on.
Another vocal tip that has far-reaching positive ramifications for your health and well-being! Regular exercise crucially develops your stamina, and your body’s shape and muscle tone. Really important factors in your posture and positioning which, remember, control everything – from good breathing to not straining your voice.
All these tips for looking after your voice work together to create a healthy singer with a healthy voice!