By Angela Cortez
Learning how to sing well will indeed improve your voice, but sometimes even good singing technique cannot save you from a dreadful cold ruining your vocal folds. Here are some vocal health tips for you to keep your voice in tip-top shape:
- Hydrate regularly – This is probably THE most important tip in keeping your voice healthy for singers. You should always be carrying around a bottle of room temperature water with you at all times, especially if you have to sing for 1-2 hours a day. This also applies to people who have jobs which involve talking to a lot of people, and giving speeches and presentations. The prescribed 8 glasses a day of water is certainly not enough for those who use their voice a lot. You should be drinking lots of water, followed by fresh juices and non-caffeinated tea. Try not to drink too much alcohol or caffeine as these beverages will dehydrate your vocal cords.
- Get enough sleep – This is probably the second most important tip to keep the voice healthy for singers, and only ‘second most’ because we know that sometimes you might be too busy or travelling to get a full 8 hours of sleep. But as much as possible, try to sleep for as long as you can – 6 hours should be the minimum. The vocal folds work best when you have enough energy to support to rest of your body. Having enough sleep also keeps your immune system in check, and you will find that if you sleep at proper lengths regularly, you won’t be falling ill often.
- Eat healthy – certain foods are optimum for maintaining vocal health, while others will surely give your vocal cords an unpleasant feeling. Good foods to eat are soups with clear broths, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats (for protein), and fibrous carbohydrates such as brown rice and wholegrain bread, as they keep your energy going for longer. Bad foods for singing include dairy products and foods that contain too much acid such as chocolate and spicy foods, as they can contribute to creating more phlegm in your throat. Foods with too much salt, sugar, and caffeine are also not ideal because they dehydrate your throat and make you have dips in energy. Most importantly, know your food allergies, as an allergic reaction may constrict your throat or make it feel very itchy.
- Avoid cold, dry places – Air-conditioning dries up the throat. If you can’t help but be in an air-conditioned room, try to ensure that the temperature is not too low. Cold temperatures constrict the vocal cords, making them stiff. Try to wear a scarf to protect your throat from the cold. At night, if you’re a very serious singer, try not to sleep with air-conditioning – an electric fan will suffice. If it’s too hot outside, try to invest in a humidifier so that your bedroom isn’t too dry due to the air-conditioning.
- Try to avoid speaking too loudly or talking too much – If you have a concert or performance, it’s best not to use your voice if you don’t need to in the hours leading up to the show. In the long run, it’s also best for your vocal health to not strain your voice by talking too much or too loudly, as you will be using the same throat muscles when you sing.
- Try to keep your workplace and bedroom clean – This might seem like a no-brainer, but this is a very important in keeping your voice healthy. Try to keep your environment dust-free, as dust can really tickle your vocal folds and cause allergies or colds.
In conclusion, maintaining your vocal health is almost exactly the same as maintaining your overall health. Keeping healthy as a singer means that your muscles will work at an optimum state – much like how athletes are kept on a special regimen. Singing well is a combination of good health and good technique – any voice teacher will tell you that. If you’d like to find out more from a qualified voice teacher on how to improve your voice for singing, you check out more information on our vocal classes !
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