How to improve your vocal health
Whether you’re a professional singer or part of a choir, it is imperative that you take care of your voice when at home, so that you don’t over-do it and strain your vocal cords. There are several ways to take care of your vocal cords; these usually consist of warm-up techniques and resting your voice. However, practising the care of your cords in terms of health is often overlooked, even though it is incredibly important.
If you’re unaware of the steps that you should take to look after your voice at home, then carry on reading this blog post so that you too can make the change for the better.
Vocal Health for Singers
As previously mentioned, rest is a must when it comes to taking care of any part of your body, so resting your voice instead of for instance going to a concert and screaming the entire night is pretty self-explanatory in that it is effective for the vocal health of singers. Although, completely resting your voice isn’t often associated with the care of your vocal cords, giving yourself the right amount of sleep revives and restores your voice, just as it would your feet from standing up for hours the day before.
If you’re feeling fatigued, your voice is too. It doesn’t take Einstein to prove to you that your entire body is connected; every muscle, bone and skin cell communicates to one-another, so if you’re tired, your voice also won’t have the energy to sing. Allowing yourself a full 8 hours worth of sleep the night before you perform will prepare your voice for singing at its optimum ability. Opposingly, getting 4-5 hours will result in your voice lacking in clarity, volume, tone quality and it can even go on to cause a more severe effect.
Warming Up Your Vocal Cords
Another element of care that was briefly mentioned above is warming up. Just like you would warm up your muscles in a gym before a big cardio workout, you should also warm up your vocal muscles for a big performance. If you do not take the time to prepare your voice for a performance, it may cause it to sound wispy and then flat in a matter of minutes. The purpose of a warm-up is to loosen your vocal muscles, remove mucus and reduce the risk of straining your cords, and this can be done by level variation in low-key sounds.
A Healthy Lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle is vital for every single person, but in terms of singing, the benefits for your voice are imminent. Being healthy, in black and white, is having a balanced diet while being physically active. If you eat healthily, this can promote your voices abilities as fruit and vegetables have a high water concentrate, resulting in you and your throat staying hydrated.
As mentioned, hydration is such a massive part of keeping your body and voice healthy. Drinking around eight glasses of water a day will prevent your vocal cords from becoming dry and irritated after a short period of singing. We recommend that you do not add ice to your drinks as this can shock your cords, leading them to tighten. In terms of exercise, it can improve your singing as it increases your cardiovascular strength and breath stamina; allowing you to hit higher notes and hold notes for longer.
What you’re breathing in daily can have a significant effect on your vocal cords; cigarette or machine smoke, pollution and even the changes of weather can take its toll on your voice. In regards to the humidity of a room, there are ways around it; for example, breathing in plenty of fresh air, placing bowls of water on your radiators in the winter and keeping your rooms ventilated can help. As we cannot control the weather, during the colder months, we recommend wearing a scarf when it turns chilly as this will give your voice a break from having to adjust from the cold outside into the heat indoors and vice versa.
If you endure a cold that has given you a sore throat (this does not apply to laryngitis), then rest and hydration are again, highly recommended. However, if you have a performance planned and your voice has mostly recovered then simple lozenges can help you for the most part. If a lozenge just doesn’t cut it, a mug full of hot water, lemon, honey and ginger should be your best friend. This natural remedy uses the Vitamin C in the lemon to cleanse your throat and help you to get rid of the phlegm, the ginger helps to reduce inflammation and the honey can soothe and lubricate your vocal cords.
If all else fails, a simple bowl of hot water and a tea towel placed over your head can help you to breathe easier, relieve a sore throat and loosen mucus in the nose so that you can sing comfortably again. Adding Lavender and Thyme to the water can also help to ease a sore throat and eucalyptus is excellent for coughs and colds too.
Even though there are other distinct ways of helping your voice’s health, such as no shouting and giving yourself breaks in between singing, if you were to follow the steps above in order to care for your vocal cords, you would be left with a loose and natural voice that can perform its best.
If you would like to find out more ways that you can take care of your singing voice and improve it, feel free to contact us through our website where a member of our team will be happy to answer any of your questions.
Congleton: 01260 725 195
Northwich: 01606 601 251
Lymm: 01925 568 238
Nantwich: 01270 350988