7 Necessary Tips to Keep Your Singing Voice Healthy
When scouring through music blogs, we read a lot of information about how to repair and maintain our musical instruments - proper cleaning techniques, handling instructions, a timeline for maintenance, etc. However, vocalists often get overlooked in this category. But what do you do when your voice is your instrument?
Here at Music House, we understand that vocalists need help with upkeep as well. That is why we have compiled a list of seven necessary tips that you will need to keep your singing voice healthy. Keep reading to learn more!
1.) Don’t Skip Warmups (or Cool Downs!)
Having your instrument be an extension of your body can be both a curse and a blessing. While some people write off vocal warm ups since our voices are used all day long, this shouldn’t be the case. As you will learn while taking voice lessons in Kansas City, warm ups are essential regardless of the age or skill level of the singer.
First, begin by warming up your facial muscles. While it may seem silly, start by blowing a few raspberries to get your lips warmed up. Then, stick out your tongue as far as it will go a time or two. Follow this up by massaging your cheeks and jaw.
While warming up, don’t be afraid to make some noises! Try to run through your range, from the very top to the bottom-most portion. Including humming, tongue rolls, and lip trills. Once this is complete, you can try moving on to singing actual notes. The whole process should take about 10-15 minutes in total.
Once you are done with your practice, lesson, or performance, don’t forget to cool down as well. Take about 10 minutes to do some gentle lip rolls, lower your soft palate, yawn and even stretch your arms and legs. This should help you relax and return your voice to its normal speaking range.
2.) Properly Hydrate
If there is one thing you need to be doing for your vocal health, it’s drinking more water. Sure, a good herbal tea is soothing after a long day of performances, but consistently drinking water throughout the day will serve as a preemptive measure. After all, your vocal folds work best when they are properly lubricated, and the best way to do that is to keep them hydrated.
While there is no way to directly hydrate or moisten your vocal cords - which is for the best, otherwise we’d constantly be choking - keeping the vocal folds hydrated will do this for us. Keep a water bottle near you at all times while taking voice lessons in Kansas City or while practicing at home. Take drinks between sets and remember to keep up the water intake even after you’re done! This is one of the key ways to boost your overall performance as well.
3.) Invest in a Humidifier
Here in the Midwest, we are no strangers to how dry the air can get. Winter, summer, spring, or fall - it doesn’t matter, the weather is going to do whatever it wants. That is why it is vital to invest in a good humidifier! Exposure to dry air over a steady period of time can be taxing to your voice.
If you are currently working on a concert series or a production, it is good practice to run the humidifier while you are at home to stay in peak condition. Humidifiers are also great for respiratory health in general, especially if you have a condition such as asthma.
4.) Take Rest Days
Just like athletes who are training their bodies, rest days are important to singers. Despite the lack of dumbbells in your training space, your voice is still doing some heavy lifting, especially if you are prepping for a concert or a competition. Just like any other part of your body, your vocal cords are prone to wear and tear and need to be adequately rested in order to recover and stay healthy.
That being said, be sure to take days off! While it isn’t really possible or practical to be completely mute for an entire day or two in a row, try to take breaks where you can. Minimize talking when possible, and definitely no singing or whispering. (In case you didn't know, whispering is bad on your vocal cords!). Plan for rest days on a regular basis to stay in your best vocal health.
5.) Don’t Smoke
It is no secret that smoking and vaping is extremely detrimental to your health. In fact, it’s easily the quickest way to permanently damage your voice. When you inhale smoke, as well as other particles, such as pollen and pollutants, everything passes through your vocal folds. These stick to them, permeating them in toxins. Over time, this can add up and leave behind some irreparable damage. It is best to kick the habit for good - your vocal cords, and body, will thank you!
6.) Use Breath Support
As you have probably learned while taking voice lessons in Kansas City, you should never sing from your throat. Doing so will damage your vocal cords and leave your throat irritated and raw. Focus instead on using proper breath support. The sound should come from your core rather than your throat. The power in your breath and diaphragm will not only sound better, but will be better for your singing voice in the long run. If you struggle in this area, be sure to communicate that with your vocal coach. It is a concept that takes a lot of practice and patience to master!
7.) Stop If It Hurts
We feel pain for a reason! It’s our body’s way of alerting us to any issues that might be happening and should be an immediate sign to stop. If your throat hurts, whether it be due to allergies, illness, or something else, make sure to rest. If the pain persists, it might be time to check in with your doctor to make sure you don’t have any sort of chronic issue. Whatever you do, don’t push past the pain.