Notes from Anne
Vocal health is something we as singers are acutely aware of, especially if we’ve experienced the challenges that come with a change in vocal production when health is less than ideal. Though many of us know the basics of vocal health I wanted to share a quick reminder to help keep your voice healthy this singing season.
Vocal hydration and keeping the vocal folds moist – We all know that singers need water but often the “why” is misunderstood. Drinking water moistens the vocal on a cellular level from inside the body. When the cells are hydrated and plump they are able to be agile, create your best sound, and protect themselves from damage during regular use. If you don’t love drinking water, try flavored waters, caffeine free teas, and add fruits and veggies full of water to your diet. It goes without saying that foods and drinks that strip the body of water such as salts and alcohol should be used in moderation. Running a steamer also help keep the folds hydrated- especially in our dry and windy climate.
Avoid vocal misuse or overuse – this includes the following:
- Yelling, screaming, and hollering
- Throat clearing and coughing
- Loud talking
- Talking in noisy situations (sporting events, restaurants, bars, parties, social gatherings, industrial settings)
- Singing without warming up the voice or without singing training
A few more special tips for singers!
- Warm up your voice before singing; cool down your voice after singing.
- Consider taking voice lessons to learn how to sing without hurting your voice.
- Learn to use your speaking voice in a healthy way by consulting a voice trainer or speech pathologist.
- Know your vocal limits and stay within them (pitch, loudness, and endurance).
- Rest your voice before and after a big singing day.
- Plan your voice use and pace your voice, especially during times of increased vocal demands.
- Stop singing before you get tired. If you feel tired, you may have already done too much.
- Try not to “spend” your voice on learning the music. You can also learn the music by listening rather than by singing.