How to Take Care of Your Voice

I am very antsy because I really want to perform again! o_O  I’ve contacted several venues and am waiting to hear back from them…the waiting game 😛

Since I am trying to perform more, I have been looking into how to take better care of my voice. When I perform for an hour, my voice starts disappearing at the end of my set, even though I frequently drink water before and during my shows. 

Yay! Water! :-) Photo by: Khaled Alyousef

Yay! Water! 🙂
Photo by: Khaled Alyousef

I want to know how to help prevent losing my voice. I’ve seen professional singers do shows that are two or three hours and still maintain strong voices, so I know it’s possible 😉

I researched how to take care of your voice, and I found TexasVoiceCenter.com  to be extremely helpful. In the section entitled “Advice for Care of the Voice,” the site said,

 “The vocal folds need to be lubricated with a thin layer of mucus in order to vibrate efficiently. The best lubrication can be achieved by drinking plenty of water.”

They recommend consuming “at least two quarts of water daily.” I definitely don’t drink enough water! ❗ I imagine I would have to run to the bathroom all the time! 😮  

I heard that some professional singers avoid drinking soda. I didn’t know why until I read it on TexasVoiceCenter.com. The site says  that caffeinated beverages “pull water out of your system and deplete the vocal folds of needed lubrication.” When I read this, I thought: Well, so much for my love for Diet Coke. 😦

However, the website did say that you can consume some caffeine, “but [this] must be counterbalanced by drinking more water.” So, if I want to drink soda to get energy for a late show, I need to drink a ton of water after that…which means I’ll probably be running to the bathroom when I need to perform….is the soda worth it? 😉

So I learned that I need to drink more water, and I also learned about what I need to be doing before and after a show. TexasVoiceCenter.com said,

“Vocal athletes must treat their musculoskeletal system as do other types of athletes; therefore, vocal warm-ups should always be used prior to singing.”

I know you’re supposed to warm up before you sing. I did warm ups before every choir practice and concert in middle school and high school. However, what if you don’t have a place to warm up? For example, if I am performing at a small venue like a coffee shop, where do I warm up? Should I do scales in the little coffee shop bathroom? In the parking lot? In my car? ❓ The site also said,

“Vocal cool-downs are also essential to keep the singing voice healthy.”

Just like warming up your voice prior to a performance makes sense, so does doing cool-downs. However, where and when do I do this? When I open for someone, after my performance I watch them perform. When I am the main act, I hang around after the show and thank everyone for being awesome and coming to the show. Does doing a cool-down on the ride home work? 😉

In order to take better care of my voice, I definitely need to drink more water and find a time and place to do warm-ups and cool-downs.  I’ll let you know how I’m doing with these three things before my next show 🙂