Take care of your singing voice – Keep your vocal cords healthy

Your voice is your own instrument, no one else can use it, nor take care of it. You have to protect your singing voice and keep your vocal cords healthy so that you never lose this precious gift you own. In order to do that, I’ve made you a little list of things that you could use to prevent damaging your voice.

Hydration and food

  • Drink as much water (room temperature) as you can (around 8 glasses of water per day). Staying hydrated is crucial. You should aim for a non-yellowish urine.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol. In fact, alcoholic beverages can dehydrate you and tighten your throat muscles.
  • Limit caffeine intake: drinking coffee, coke, etc… dehydrates your body quicker than other drinks, which makes your vocal cords dry. To avoid this, when consuming caffeine, drink the same amount of water with it.
  • Avoid drinking fizzy drinks, especially when you’re about to perform, because it dehydrates the body, and causes acid reflux, which will make it harder for you.
  • Don’t consume milk or butter before singing, the high fat in dairy products thickens your mucous, which stops you from hitting high notes. So basically, you could use low fat dairy products.
  • Don’t eat late at night. This would cause acid reflux, which is bad for your vocal cords.
  • Avoid spicy, acidic and fried food.
  • Have fruits and vegetables.
  • Have non-fried chicken and fish (because they’re filled with protein, which gives you energy).
  • Have natural peanut butter, it boosts your energy!
  • Have a little spoon of honey in your water, it kind of heals sore throats.

NO SMOKING

Smoking is the worst thing you can do to your voice. Even if you’re not the one smoking, inhaling smoke affects you badly as well.

  • It lowers your pitch.
  • It irritates and dries your throat tissues.
  • It can cause vocal nodules, which lead to vocal changes.
  • It can also cause acid reflux, which is bad for your vocal cords.
  • It’s really bad for you lungs. If your lungs are not functioning properly, how will you breathe properly? Furthermore, how will you sing properly?
  • The worst thing of all is that it highers the risks of developing throat cancer.

Please force yourself to stop smoking, even if you’ve been doing it for a long time, you’d be doing yourself and your voice a huge favor by staying away from this unhealthy habit. It’s never too late! Save your voice, save yourself!

Exercise

Exercising will definitely help you sing better since it increases your stamina and your endurance. But you should know what exercises are good for you and when you should do them.

1. Weather:

  • If it’s very cold, it’s probably better not to exercise outdoors, especially if you’re performing on that day. Cold weather can dry out your throat and lungs.
  • If it’s really hot, hydrate yourself as much as possible (like 10-11 glasses of water per day). It’s better to limit your outdoor exercises on a hot day.
  • The best times to exercise would be: in the early morning and in the evening. This way it wouldn’t be too hot, and pollution would be at its lowest point.

2. Exercises you should do:

  • Cardiovascular exercises: running, swimming, dancing, rowing, jumping,
  • walking, cycling, tennis, etc…, are great exercises for breathing and for lungs capacity (so basically, you’ll be able to fill your lungs with air more naturally, take deeper breaths, and control your breath). This way, you’ll have more stamina and a more powerful singing voice.
  • Combine these cardio exercises with breathing exercises.
  • Pilates: these exercises will help you have a better control over your muscles. It helps you to release tension from your body. You will be able to use your whole core to sing, which will give you a much larger range and a more powerful singing voice.

3. Exercises you shouldn’t do:

  • Weight lifting exercises: these kinds of sports make your muscles shorter and tighter by contracting them, which isn’t really what you want as a singer because the tight muscles resulting from weight lifting put pressure on the muscles of your larynx, which makes your vocal cords feel strained. You might also hold your breath while lifting weights and grunt, this would thicken you vocal cords and make it harder for you to hit high notes. Ok, it’s good to do them to get a stronger core, and eventually a stronger voice, but if you overdo them, they will damage your voice. What you could do is Pilates, especially for strengthening your abdominal muscles, and wall push ups.

REST

  • Get enough sleep. Without a good night sleep, you’ll be tired, weaker, basically not at your optimal state. Your core wouldn’t be in its best shape, so your voice won’t be as powerful as it can be. Everything will feel harder and weaker, lacking support and openness. Sleeping is crucial for singers, since singers are vocal athletes.
  • Take breaks from speaking, because your voice needs to rest.
  • When you’re sick, don’t sing and try as much as possible not to speak because sickness puts tension on your vocal cords.
  • Stay relaxed while singing. Don’t let stress and tension control you. Stay in a relaxed position, don’t let your head go upwards when you’re aiming to those high notes, nor go downwards when you’re singing in the lower register, this would only cause harm, and your voice wouldn’t be as powerful and free as it can be.

Conclusion

Staying fit, without overdoing weight training, combined with breathing exercises and a healthy diet will help you take a deeper breath, hold it longer, and control all your muscles so that you can support better while singing and have a much higher energy while performing. Staying hydrated is one of the main keys to have an amazing voice, accompanied by sleeping, which combats tension, tiredness and weakness. Avoid consuming alcohol, fizzy drinks, caffeine, spicy food, fast food, and tobacco, since all of these products harm your voice and stop you from reaching your full potential. Stay relaxed as much as you can, try not to scream nor whisper. And most importantly, warm up before singing. Enjoy Your Singing!

 

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below, and I will be more than happy to help you out! Thank you! 🙂