Taking care of your voice is of utmost importance if you want to be a successful singer for a lifetime. It takes some discipline, but the payoff can be tremendous. You definitely want to avoid vocal issues such as polyps and nodes, or even vocal strain and hoarseness. These things can usually be corrected with vocal therapy, but sometimes surgery is required, which can lead to permanent damage. Obviously, the best defense is to avoid things that can cause vocal problems in the first place. So many of my students have come to me with no idea about vocal health that I am giving you an easy to follow top 10 steps to a healthy voice.
1. Never yell.
If you are at a sporting event or a concert and you are compelled to cheer, you can whoop like the vocal warm up. This can be heard about the yelling voices of the crowd, yet poses no threat to your precious vocal folds.
2. Avoid talking over the noise in crowded places like restaurants and parties.
It is a bit of a social limitation, but haven’t you noticed that talking in situations where the noise is so loud that you have to yell to be heard causes you to feel vocal fatigue? Save the prolonged conversations for a quieter venue where you can be heard without having to push your voice to the point of strain and fatigue.
3. Always warm up your voice in the mornings before you speak or sing.
You can find some great vocal warm ups.
4. Learn the melody of a new song on your favorite vowel before singing the words.
This will help you set the song in your free and natural voice and prevent you from having to go back and fix problems that may arise if you memorize the notes on the vowels and consonants that may not be as free. Once the melody feels easy on your favorite vowel, form the words of the song without adding tension to the jaw and tongue. I have several lessons in my members area that will help you understand and achieve your very best sound.
5. Relax your tongue and jaw and use your body to support the sound.
As you release tension in your tongue and jaw, the natural breath will take over and you will be able to properly support your voice as you practice and learn to release you best sound.
6. Get plenty of restorative sleep.
The first place the body shows fatigue is the voice, so you need to get 7 to 9 hours of great sleep to be in top vocal form.
Drink lots of pure water to keep the mucous that covers your vocal folds nice and thin and protective. Limit caffeine to one serving per day because it is a natural diuretic and will dry you out. If you drink a caffeinated beverage, follow it with the same amount of pure water or a nice herbal tea.
8. Feed your body well.
Eat lots of green vegetables and a variety fruits. Eat healthy, clean protein and complex carbs. Avoid sugary foods as well as simple carbs that turn quickly to sugar in your body. If you eat in a healthy way, you will have great energy to sustain great singing.
9. Get plenty of exercise.
Not only will this provide strength and energy for great breath support, you will be able to sing for hours without fatigue, so if you have a performance, you will be able to give it your all. Exercise also releases happy chemicals in your brain, so you will have a great attitude. Plus, you will look as great as you sound.
10. Have fun!
Remember that singing is fun and is a lifelong endeavor. Practice everyday and enjoy the ride! Happy singing!