Ok, how beautiful is it outside!!
This is my garden in the summer time, and I love sitting outside in the sunshine late afternoon with a nice cold glass of water, writing songs and blogs and organising my life. I love the sun, and the weather in England just doesn’t cut it for me… until the sun comes out! 😎
As a singer it’s very important to take care of my voice, after all that’s where I’m making my money from! I gig every single week, sometimes I have gigs on Friday, Saturday & Sunday, so you can imagine by Sunday not only am I completely knackered due to all these late nights, but if I don’t take care of my voice the way it needs to be then I won’t have a voice come Monday!
Here are my top tips for keeping a healthy voice for all you budding singers out there. These tips work well too if you use your voice on a daily basis, like a sports coach or public speaker.
Yep, the best thing you can do is warm up. There are three stages to warm ups: Physical, breathing and vocal. Physical warm up includes getting your muscles moving, your facial muscles and shoulders/ neck warmed up. I love doing this to 90s cheese music to get me in a pleasant mood for singing. Breathing exercises are very important as well as you will be using your diagram for support when singing, so make sure that’s readily working and warmed up too. Lastly is vocal warm ups. Here is where you want to take it nice and slow, don’t go full force into a warm up but get in there gently, and then increase speed and volume later. An easy cheat warm up you can do is siren for about 5-10mins. Sirens are sounds you make by humming from your lowest note to your highest note and back down, sounding like a police siren.
2. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Vocal chords work by being lubricated with a thin layer of mucus, helping them to vibrate properly. If the mucus is too thick you may feel like you have a need to throat clear quite a lot, which is a cause of eating too many dairy products (More in this bellow) and not drinking enough of water, so you better lube up!
As mentioned previously, having thick mucus on your vocal chords will mean you will feel the need to throat clear a lot, and that in itself causes problems and trauma to the vocal chords if done constantly. Try to avoid dairy at all costs to keep the vocal chords clear. If you’re worried about not having enough calcium in your diet then I would suggest taking calcium tablets which can be bought at any pharmacy or supermarket. If you need dairy alternatives there are lots of soya products and nut milks on the market such as almond and coconut.
Moisture is good and soothing for the voice, so steaming will really help with that especially if your throat is dry. (It will also break down that thick mucus you’ve obtained on your chords from drinking all that milk!) Here’s my favourite steamer that I use religiously.
Working out regularly is great because it will help with breathing and also strengthen the core muscles (All the ones surrounding the diaphragm. My favourite things to do are piglets and yoga, and also swimming) Workin gout also puts you in the right mind frame for singing. Working out keeps you in a paturn and will also help increase your stamina when you are on stage.
Eating a highly acidic diet can cause acid reflux, where your stomach acid makes it’s way up into your larynx causing indigestion and an irritated throat, the feeling of a lump in your throat and a hoarse voice. I am a sufferer of acid reflux and take extra precautions to protect my voice. Top foods to avoid are high in acid, things such as: Coca cola, chocolate, curry, butter, fried foods, and also fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges and vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers. I’m not going to lie and tell you it’s the easiest thing in the world because it really isn’t… especially when you realise you can’t have any curry or pasta that are made with dairy OR tomato base, however it’s an excellent opportunity to test out your amazing cooking skills and come up with your own recipes in the kitchen. I’ve got this book that goes in depth into the science behind acid reflux and what changes to your diet you can make. Also lots of recipes to try!
It’s hard, but changing your lifestyle is the best thing you can do for your voice.
If you are stressed, then naturally there will be tention in your body, especially around your shoulders and neck area. When we are stressed our shoulders instantly go up as a defence mechanism, so learning to de stress will be helpful to you. Try meditation. I love videos by The Honest Guys on Youtube who make excellent guided meditation videos.
We all have a vocal limit. That doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t stretch them, but you need to gradually work up to it. For example, if you only practice for one hour a day once a week in your bedroom, then jump straight into 3 hour long gigs it’s going to really F*CK up your voice, seriously! Work up to your goals gradually. Also if you know you can’t hit that High F yet, keep practicing because you will get there, just don’t force yourself up there, and don’t attempt it every single day. Relax, take your time and you will get there!
Sleep reduces stress, and everyone loves sleep, so why not have more of it.
Smoking is bad anyway, so having smoke pass through your vocal chords and into your lungs is going to dry out that mucus layer causing damage to the vocal chords. Just stay away. Air conditioning drys out any moisture from the air that passes through, and that’s defiantly not going to help you for a healthy voice. stay away!
I hope these top tips have been beneficial to you. If you’ve got any questions about singing then leave some comments bellow and I will try and get back to you with some good answers.