Vocal Health for Singers
Many people ask for vocal health tips. Here are some things that have helped me over the past few years.
- Take voice lessons. Always keep improving your technique and vocal strength. Your vocal chords are a muscle. You need to engage them and use them to strengthen your voice.
- Do Not Whisper – Whispering is the worst thing you can do for your voice. When you whisper, your vocal chords do not touch. This can be very detrimental if done over a prolonged period of time.
- Drink plenty of water – water is the best thing for your voice. But make sure you drink plenty of it… especially if you are in a show. Water takes the longest to reach your vocal chords to hydrate them. So before a show, I suggest drinking a bottle of water at least 2 hours prior to a show.
Vocal Wellness When You are Sick:
- If you are sick and have a sore throat or are losing your voice – do not sing. Vocal Rest will be your friend.
- Again, drink plenty of water.
- Tea – I love throat coat personally. I find it brings immediate relief to a sore throat.
- Ricola Throat Lozenges – will help your body produce more saliva to hydrate your mouth/vocal chords.
- Steaming – helps hydrate your vocal chords.
- Steaming with a little drop of oregano – If you are dealing with congestion and post-nasal drip, steaming with a drop of oregano will help get the congestion moving and off your chords. (There’s nothing worse than having to sing over phlegm. Not fun).
- Sinus Rinse – if you are like me, you cannot live without your sinus irrigation system. But if you don’t have one… noworries… a simple netty pot will do. Make sure you boil the water first to sterilize it and let cool before using. Sinus rinsing will help alleviate congestion and post-nasal drip.
- Sudafed – Use the one where the main ingredient is pseudoephedrine (will need to buy it over the counter at the pharmacy). The Sudafed that is made with phenylephedrine is garbage. Don’t use it… it will dry out your chords and it does not help alleviate congestion.
- Mucinex – Just the 12 hour one where the main ingredient is guaifenesin. I prefer the 1200 mg guaifenesin Mucinex personally. Do not use the mucinex that is a cough suppressant and expectorant. You want the expectorant to get the gunk out of your body… so you’ll need to cough. The suppressant will prohibit the congestion to get out of your body.
Vocal Wellness During a Show:
- Steaming for 15 minutes before a show is wonderful!
- Again, plenty of water – drink a bottle of water 2 hours before the show. And make sure you are constantly hydrating during the show.
- WARM UP!!! Your voice is a muscle…. warm up before you do a show. Warming up is the best thing for you.
- COOL DOWN!!!! Do a vocal cool down after a show. You probably just spent 2 hours singing… your chords will have been worked to the bone and will have built up some lactic acid. Do some easy lip trills to bring your voice back to neutral. This will also massage your chords after they have been stretched and worked for 2 hours. Give your voice some love.
- As a dancer, I always warm up my body before a show. And I tailor that warm-up depending on how physically demanding the show is. I recently discovered that when I do a really good warm-up physically where I get my body into a good sweat and activate all the muscles I need to to perform the show well…. when I go to warm-up, my voice already feels really warm. That’s because warming up physically gets your blood flowing. So a lot of blood flow is already passing through your vocal chords by the time you start warming up your voice. That being said, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t warm up your voice. Spend 15 minutes at least warming up vocally.
And there you go! Vocal health tips 101. These tools help me. There are plenty of other elixirs and methods that my friends and other professionals use. But this is what works for me. If you have any questions, please feel free to send me a message on my contact page or DM me on Instagram.
Take care of your voice. You’ll be thankful you did.