Have you been singing a lot? Some people spend hours at the gym to keep their bodies in shape. The same goes for singers. Every day is spent practicing and perfecting our craft for the next performance. However, just like at the gym, doing too much can cause injury. Singing too much, or without proper technique can have serious physical repercussions that can prevent you from singing more. However, by taking your vocal health into your own hands, there are ways you can sing continuously without injury. Here are a few rules to follow for a healthy voice.
In a ten year study of incoming freshmen musical theatre performers, 50% were found to be significantly under-hydrated. Keeping your body hydrated is one of the most important parts of not only having a healthy voice but also having a healthy body. Your vocal chords vibrate very fast and having proper water balance helps keep them lubricated. Healthy vocal chords should be nice and plump. When you sing, simply chugging water before you perform won’t help as much. It takes at least 2-3 hours for the liquid you drink to filter through your body and help lubricate your vocal folds. The rule for hydration: take your body weight and divide it in half. That’s the number of ounces you should be drinking, not taking into consideration physical activity. Minimize whatever can be considered drying, like caffeine. (Sorry coffee drinkers).
Get Enough Sleep
It is a no-brainer that your body doesn’t function as well without enough sleep. There is no substitute for sleep. People who are sleep deprived generally have slightly depressed immune systems, making them more susceptible to illness. Not only will sleeping keep your body at optimal capacity, but it will also keep your brain mentally sharp. This is especially true for remembering lyrics and proper technique when you need to be your best.
It is very important to not clear your throat very often. When you have an infection, your body will naturally cough to get rid of it. However, when you cough or clear your throat, it slams your vocal chords together. Doing this too much can injure them and make you hoarse. If you feel the urge to clear your throat, take a sip or water or swallow to quench the urge to clear. If you feel like you have to clear your throat a lot, get checked by a doctor for things like acid reflux disease, or allergy and sinus conditions.
Pay attention to how you speak every day. Even performers with good singing habits can damage their voices when they speak. Continue your healthy habits when you speak. Do not yell or talk for a long time as it can cause immediate burnout. Whispering is just as bad. Allow yourself several periods of vocal rest throughout the day, especially if you use your voice for extended periods. If you think your speaking voice is a problem, talk to a speech therapist or a vocal coach to help you get back on track. Sometimes just stop talking until you feel better.
The Most Important Rule for Singers
Just like athletes, it is important to have proper technique. With improper technique, no matter the precautions, you will end up hurting yourself. Working with your voice teacher to improve your vocal technique will help you sing better overall. With more stamina over time, you will be less likely to hurt yourself.
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