Caring for Your Voice

April 13, 2014

Advice

Our voices are as unique as our fingerprints. That’s why it is important to take care of it. Professional singers, on the other hand, are making a living with their voices. So they have to take great care of their source of living. For example, they avoid eating too much of dairy products, drink a lot of water, avoid alcohol, and other caffeinated drinks, and lastly, they try not to smoke.

Dairy products are harder to digest and as a result the body will produce more mucus. This mucus enters the vocal chords and can negatively affect a singer’s voice. The extra phlegm will irritate the throat causing the singer to cough and sneeze – which can cause trauma to the vocal cords, too. In fact, singers are usually commanded to swallow their phlegm rather than to clear their throats.

A professional singer should drink more than eight glasses of water everyday. (More than the average water intake of a non-singer) She should not drink hot water. Hot water causes the blood vessels in the throat to swell, which will negatively affect her vocal chords. In the same way singers should avoid cold water as well. When a singer drinks cold water, blood vessels contract and the throat becomes dry. Lukewarm is the most appropriate water temperature for the singers. It is extremely important to intake clean water whether you are a singer or not.

It’s vital that a singer drinks plenty of water. Drinking a lot of water keeps the body hydrated and the vocal cords lubricated. These lessen the amount of friction in a singer’s vocal cords and ward it off from inflammation. How can we tell if we are drinking enough water? Just follow the professional advice to “pee pale”. Check your urine;

  • If it’s pale yellow, congratulations! You are well hydrated
  • If it’s dark yellow and concentrated, it’s time to reach for the water bottle.

Steaming or breathing humidified air also rehydrates the vocal cords from the outside. It can be useful for singers if their throat feels tired or sore after a performance, when they have been doing a lot of singing. (Especially during concerts, they automatically breathe through their mouth and that dries out the vocal cords.)