Protecting your vocal health
Vocal health: For a singer the voice and vocal cords are the most important part of their body. Like a footballer’s legs, without protected vocal cords and without good vocal health a singer cannot perform.
When you’re tired or unwell, it’s important to know how to care for your voice and its vocal health. It’s also just as important to know how to warm up correctly before performing in front of your audience to not damage your vocal cords!
Vocal health – Protecting your vocal
What if I’m feeling unwell but still considering singing?
When feeling unwell, always keep your fluid levels up by drinking plenty of water. Taking cough medicine to stop excessive coughing will help to stop any further damage and manage your vocal health.
Boosting vitamin C levels reduces inflammation and sitting with your head over a bowl of steam eases congestion and provides hydration to the vocal cords.
If it is necessary to perform whilst you’re still feeling unwell, make sure you do a longer warm up than usual to help prevent further damage. Warming up before any show is essential to keep good a vocal health.
Just as you are likely to pull a muscle without warming up before exercise, the same is true with your vocal cords and putting extra strain on your vocal cords without a warm up can cause permanent damage.
To warm up your vocal cords make sure you are in good posture, release any tension in your jaw and make sure you breathe deeply. Do some scales and tongue trills to relax your tongue.
To be keep your vocal health safe, do not ever try to sing if it hurts or feels difficult in any way and seek medical advice.
Ways to take look after vocal health
Lifestyle can affect your vocal health
You should try to avoid speaking and shouting loudly where necessary. This causes the vocal cords to squeeze together, creating trauma. The same happens when you whisper.
Keep your vocals hydrated. Drinking two litres of water a day is what is recommended for a good vocal health. Within two hours before performing it’s important to drink plenty of fluid to lubricate the vocal cords. Keep the fluids at room temperature if possible; icy cold water or boiling hot tea aren’t what you want to be dousing your vocal cords with.
Smoking is an absolute no no for singers! Try to also avoid dairy products, citrus fruits/juice, fizzy drinks, coffee or alcohol especially on or before the day of a performance. Anything with caffeine in it will dehydrate the vocal cords and poor vocal health.
Avoid stress and stay relaxed especially as you’re leading up to a performance. Make sure you also get plenty of sleep!
Try and keep your physical health in check, especially if you intend to perform and use the stage. Being fit will help you to avoid becoming too breathless which may affect your singing when performing.
Eating well with a balanced and healthy diet will also help you to keep fit and strong so don’t underestimate its importance.
These are all important tips to keep your vocal health safe.