Whether you sing in the shower, in your local choir, or are trying to go professional, it’s important to ensure that your voice remains strong and healthy. Excessive use of your vocal cords can be harmful to your health and impact the sound of your voice, which means rest and recovery are of the essence. Patricia Soriano is an Education Specialist in West Hempstead, New York who counts singing as one of her favorite pastimes. For more info on Patricia, please visit linkedin.com. Below, Patricia shares her top four tips to keep your singing voice as strong as possible.
1. Train your Voice
Think of your voice the same way that a professional athlete thinks of their body, asserts Patricia Soriano. Not only does this mean learning the proper vocal techniques, but it also means being conscious of your physical health at all times. This includes getting adequate sleep, eating a healthy diet that is high in minerals, nutrients, and proteins, and also not overusing your vocal cords. Singers must be disciplined when it comes to practicing, but also when it comes to rest. Although you might wish to practice for hours and hours on end leading up to a competition or performance, this can ultimately be detrimental to your health, not to mention the quality of your singing voice.
2. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is essential for everyone, but especially so for singers. For singers, dehydration has the ability to impact your singing voice. After all, vocal cords are made of extremely delicate tissue and are therefore prone to damage. A layer of mucus is what protects your vocal cords and water is what ensures they remain in working order. If you are even a little bit dehydrated, your vocal tissues can grow dry, which makes them likely to be injured. Patricia Soriano is quick to remind singers that it’s not enough to simply down a glass of water being going on stage. In order to keep your vocal tissue adequately hydrated, as well as your throat and mouth lubricated, you should be drinking water throughout the day.
3. Pace Yourself
Going back to the first point, a key part of training your voice is pacing yourself. If you’re preparing for an upcoming show or audition, you shouldn’t be cramming all of your practice into one or two days beforehand. Rather, you should create a schedule of at least a few weeks that allows you to exercise your singing voice in small increments of time. Patricia Soriano recommends starting out with just 30 to 45 minutes of practice each day, as this will allow you to “break in” your voice, so to speak, and get your vocal cords acquainted with this level of use.
4. Avoid Yelling, Talking, or Singing Loudly
This might sound obvious, but speaking, yelling, or singing at high volumes should be avoided, as it is these types of phonotraumatic behaviors that can make your vocal folds swollen and red. The louder your voice the harder your vocal folds contract, or bang together, shares Patricia Soriano. Of course, shouting a few times won’t cause any long-term damage, but frequently practicing your songs at a loud level can result in serious changes to your vocal folds, such as the growth of a nodule.