Your voice is an instrument that is located inside your body, as singers, so much of what we do to our bodies effects our singing voice. The voice is not the same kind of instrument as a guitar or a piano, if something isn’t working with a guitar or it sounds out of tune, we can fix it manually and even when we have a bad day or we might feel sick, we know the guitar will still work the way it is supposed to as it is external from our bodies and we can completley control how the guitar performs when we use it. The voice, however is not like that, it is internal, it is reliant on our health and well being and it is vulnerable.
By working on technique in lessons, we create a voice that we can depend upon even when we are sick or having an off day, but we also need to take care of our voices by treating our bodies with care.
Here are some simple tips for keeping your voice in good shape and ready for singing:
Hydration – Keep the voice moist and hydrated by sipping room tempurature water, try to avoid coffee, and tea (mint tea is quite good for the voice), try to also avoid drinking fizzy soft drinks such as Coke and Pepsi, these drinks are very acidic and will dry out your vocal cords. Try to avoid lots of dairy drinks as they can often cause phlegm build up.
Vocalising – For a beginner singer it is important to practice your scales at least for 10 to 15 minutes per day 6 days a week and as an advanced singer you must have a routine of vocal training 6 to 7 days a week for at least 2 hours per day, you can split this time up into an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon.
Rest Time – Vocal training should be followed up by a certain amount of rest, resting the voice inbetween training allows you to absorb what you are working on in lessons and gets the vocal cords ready to train again later on. Getting adequate sleep is also important as when your body is tired, it carries through to your voice making it harder to sing with ease. Also having less stress in your life will also help your voice as when we are stressed and over worked, the voice then succumbs to that feeling of stress, if we are tense and anxious, the voice can clam up and then we tend to push harder to get the notes out, which then causes vocal fatigue and strain. Notice how much easier it is to sing on the days when you feel relaxed and then notice how hard it can feel to sing on the days when you are rushed, tired and anxious. Our state of mind has a big impact on our voices and how they react and perform. Great vocal technique will always carry you through but having less stress and more rest is always good for the voice.
Warming Down the Voice – Something not all singers know to do is to warm down the voice after vocalising for long periods of time. Warming down the voice helps avoid getting a gravelly, thick or weak feel to the voice the next day after training. Gentle humming for around 10 minutes or more depending on how long you have been singing for, helps to return the vocal cords back to their relaxed state and relieves any tension that may have built up in the vocal cords.
Maintaining Overall Good Health and Wellbeing – It is crucial to have a well balanced healthy diet and lifestyle. A diet filled with vitamins and minerals and nutritious food nourishes the body and therefore the voice. When we look after our bodies we look after our voices it is a win win situation. Exercise is also great for keeping the voice strong as we are able to breathe better getting better support for the voice in the long term.