One of my worst fears is losing my voice. Singing is possibly my favorite thing to do like, ever.
Losing my voice would be incredibly discouraging. It would impair my ability to perform, to write, and to communicate and otherwise enjoy my life.
If you’re a singer, you use your voice all the time.
Singing and gigging a lot can wear down on your vocal cords and eventually cause strain and injury – especially when combined with many of the things that gigging comes with. Alcohol, cigarettes, late nights, yelling, it’s all bad for your voice.
Some of these we can control, and others are inevitable. Prevention is still one of the most powerful medicines for vocal health, so let’s get into how to keep your voice healthy.
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1. Hydrate For A Healthy Voice
Hydration is a hot topic these days, and for good reason.
Staying hydrated keeps your vocal cords lubricated. Your vocal cords vibrate very fast, and like an engine, they need to be appropriately lubricated.
If you’re snacking during the day, consider buying some hydration-conscious snacks like apples, pears, watermelon, peaches, grapes, peppers, etc.
Staying hydrated also means avoiding foods and drinks that dehydrate you. Specifically, alcohol and caffeine consumption should be limited. I know. It’s a bummer.
2. Take Vocal Rest During The Day
Whenever you get the chance, avoid using your voice for speaking.
Find quiet ways to spend mornings or lunch hours or breaks at work. If you hang out in quiet places, you shouldn't find yourself having to yell over people, and if you hang out alone, you’ll preserve your vocal cords entirely.
Also take vocal rest in between sets at your shows. If you have a set break, don’t talk, just relax and drink some water.
After a show, try to take a few minutes to rest your vocal cords before going out into the crowd.
As hard as it can be, after the show, try to speak at a normal volume, even if the venue is loud.
3. Avoid Smoking, It Negatively Impacts Your Singing Voice
Smoking is terrible for your voice. It may make it husky and sexy for a short time, but that soon gives way to weak vocal cords, less control, and hoarse voices.
Smoking dries up for vocal cords and can burn your mouth. Obviously, it increases your risk or mouth and throat cancer tremendously as well.
If you do smoke, consider vaping as a potentially (word is still out on this) safer way to consume nicotine – especially on show days.
4. Avoid Yelling & Screaming
Don’t abuse your voice. Leave it all on the stage, not on the dance floor.
If your voice is getting tired or a little hoarse at the end of a day or night, it's a good sign you've used it too heavily. Reduce your use and rest for a few days to prevent permanent damage.
Try to be aware of the volume at which you are speaking. Busy restaurants and bars are terrible for forcing people to speak at unhealthy volumes, which doesn't help matters. If you must do a lot of talking, find a quieter place to do it.
5. Don’t Whisper Or Clear Your Throat
Clearing your throat slams your vocal cords together. Doing this may feel satisfying, but it’s ultimately a good way to lose your voice.
Instead, try drinking a bit of water to clear your throat.
Whispering is also hard on your vocal cords, as you’re forcing air past them. Instead, just speak at a lower volume.
If you’re whispering because you are sick, just opt to not speak instead. It will feel better in the long run.
6. Stay Relaxed While Singing
Singers have a tendency to crane their necks or tilt their heads when reaching for high notes or powerful notes.
Avoid this! Staying relaxed will help you hit those notes more reliably and will prevent your voice from getting as tired.
When you are reaching for high notes, keep your face and neck relaxed. Instead of reaching, push for the notes from the bottom up. Your high notes should come from your belly and soar straight through the top of your head.
If you’re having trouble with this, consider getting a few vocal lessons or singing in a choir. Improving your technique will pay great dividends in vocal health, longevity and ability.
Staying relaxed gets even harder when you’re singing from behind a guitar or other instrument.
Instruments do not allow for proper posture and poise while singing.
Make sure you have your instrument positioned correctly. Experiment with different heights, and settle on something that feels natural.
Approach the issue of singing behind an instrument with a vocal coach – they can look at your unique way of approaching an instrument and help you figure out how to hold it.
7. Avoid Over-Singing By Taking Advantage Of Your Microphone
So many singers sing way too loud even when they are on a microphone.
This hurts your voice and makes it sound worse. When you push, you’ll tend to sing sharp or flat, you’ll miss notes, and you’ll be less accurate on vocal runs.
The whole point of a microphone is to amplify your voice. Sing quietly! The microphone will pick it up and the sound tech will compress the vocal, EQ it, and then pump it out of the system at the appropriate volume.
Practice singing quietly at home, and then don’t compromise when you get on stage.
Get as much of your own vocal as you can in your monitor, and then after that, just trust yourself. You don’t need to over-sing to hear yourself, you just need to relax into the song and let your vocal cords and ears do the work.
Singing in small cafes and clubs can help some singers figure out how to trust their own voice and sing without pushing their voice to the limit every time.
Tips For Keeping Your Singing Voice Healthy, Conclusion
The more relaxed you are while singing the better you’ll sound, and the more confident you’ll become.
Take care of your voice, and your voice will take care of you!
I hope you find these tips useful, let us know in the comment how you take care of your singing voice.