If you love music, you probably love to sing. But whether you are the kind of person who lets loose on power ballads in the shower or you like to perform for an audience, you must learn to look after your voice to preserve it.
Everyone’s voice changes gradually with age – that’s why you don’t find many young opera singers! However, it’s important that you learn to look out for problem signs with your voice and take good care of your vocal cords if you want to sing all the time.
Just as you would see an ear doctor for a problem with your hearing, you should seek help from an ENT if you have a regular sore throat, feel as though your voice is straining or if you lose some of your vocal range. Singers can be more susceptible to vocal nodes and vocal misuse is a genuine and serious concern.
But there are lots of things you can do at home to keep your vocal cords in good nick. Here are a few ideas.
Practice Quality, Not Quantity
Practice makes perfect but there is definitely such a thing as too much practice. All music requires a lot of bodily exertion and when your instrument is part of your body, you need to look after it properly.
Warming up your voice is similar to warming up any other instrument. You need to relax your lips and vocal cords, gently getting into the swing of things before you perform. To be honest, lots of people could benefit from warming up their voices from teachers to business execs giving presentations.
When you do practice singing, make sure that you focus on quality not quantity. You can get a lot done in a 30 minute singing lesson so don’t push beyond your vocal capacity. Rest is just as important as practice and becoming a better musician is about listening as well as doing.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
When your body is your instrument, you have to look after it. Your vocal cords are a muscle and exercising to build your stamina is an important part of becoming an amazing musician. Similarly, if you like to use vibrato, you will need to train and tone your abdominal muscles to get the best control over your sound.
Staying hydrated is one of the most common health tips and with good reason. Your body needs water to work properly and your vocal cords are no exception. Most singers go on stage with a glass of water or two and even if you aren’t planning on performing beyond your bathroom walls, you must drink to keep your vocal cords supple. Alcohol and caffeine aren’t recommended.
If you are worried about your voice or you can feel yourself coming down with something, you must allow your voice to rest completely. Drinking warm drinks can really help soothe a sore throat and voice and whispering is the safest way to communicate while you aren’t well.
Looking after your voice is all about good habits and being kind to your body. If you take care of it, it will take care of you.