Pianists tune their pianos as singers preserve their voice. Regardless of the instrument, proper maintenance is critical to sustaining musical quality and longevity.
- Never skip a warm-up. Warming up your voice before practice or a major performance is vital and necessary in order to prevent injury. Think of it as a “stretch” before a run. Try these four easy warm-up exercises:
- Do scales slowly. This will warm up your voice, extending it to its top and bottom ranges. And it’s pretty easy to do.
- Work on lip trills.One of the most powerful vocal exercises any singer or speaker can do. Trills relax the lip and tongue, engage and manipulate breathing, strengthen vocals and eliminate tension. Lip trills if done correctly offer significant benefits. Refer to online video instruction provided by vocal coaches only to ensure you have mastered the art of a Lip Trill.
- Add in sirens and kazoos.Some of the more fun warm-ups are sirens and kazoos. When you do your siren (which should start low and go high), use your arm and toss it in a circular motion, going up and down with the pitch.
- Humming actually helps cool a voice down, too, which is an oft-forgotten, though important, technique. It warms up your voice without straining your voice like singing can.
- Stay Hydrated. Drinking water benefits your general health and is crucial to nourishing those delicate vocal cords. Drink at least 8 cups of water per day to keep your throat hydrated and lubricated. Singing with dry vocal cords can cause strain and injury.
- Watch your diet. Singers seem to be at a higher risk for acid reflux than the average person because of the vigorous pressure changes inside the midsection of the body. Because of this, it is best to avoid foods that could contribute to acid reflux, such as coffee, spicy foods, and citrus fruits. Also very important, don’t eat late at night and limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Paying attention to what and when you eat can support the livelihood of your voice box.
- Rest! Treat your voice as if it’s a fragile instrument. Put yourself on vocal rest right before major performances in order to give your voice box the proper time to prepare itself. Sleep is also important to vocal health, so make sure to catch up on some extra ZZZ time while preparing for your big day.
- Natural Herbs instead of over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs. Singers often rely on prescription or OTC drugs to remedy vocal strain, laryngitis, and itchy, scratchy, irritated sore throats. The usual course of action is to numb the throat with sprays that contain numbing agents or use menthol cough drops.“Unfortunately, both of these options can do more damage than healing,” says David Aaron Katz, author, professional opera singer, and vocal faculty member of the Bronx Defenders Training Academy. According to Katz, “some might find this surprising, simple teas or lemon and honey do not do the trick. What is needed is the power of herbs that are capable of reducing inflammation, bringing down swelling and more. And most OTC drugs dry out the throat and voice, making a person drowsy or hyper, and generally difficult for the body to handle.”
Singers should consider herb-rich throat care solutions such as, Gargle Away®Advanced Throat Careavailable on Amazon.com. This is a gentle and effective all-natural throat care remedy for sore throat, laryngitis and vocal care. It provides fast, symptomatic relief PLUS reduces bacteria, loosens mucus, restores natural pH balance to support normal throat health and more—a must-have for singers or anyone that relies on their voice for their livelihood. Gargle Away® is made of seven all-natural healing ingredients: Himalayan Salt, Apple Cider Vinegar, Mediterranean Oregano, Lemon, Organic Honey, Licorice Root, and Cayenne Pepper.
- Try to avoid throat clearing and harsh coughing. Throat clearing and harsh coughing is traumatic to your vocal cords. According to Texas Voice Center, “One of the most frequent causes for throat clearing and coughing is thick mucus (due to dry vocal folds) or too much mucus (as with a cold) on or below the vocal folds.”The safest and most efficient way to clear mucus is by using a gentle, breathy, productive cough where there is high airflow with little sound. This can be achieved by using the following strategy: take in as deep a breath as possible, momentarily hold your breath, and produce a sharp, silent “H” sound while you expel the air. You can also rely on Gargle Away® Advanced Throat Care to help loosen the mucus in combination with the vocal exercises above.
- Consistent Prevention. This is probably the most important tip to take away with you. Consistent prevention is the key to eliminating your chances for vocal strain, vocal overuse, throat infection or voice box distress. Practicing the tips above on a regular basis will support your voice box quality, health, and endurance significantly.
If your voice supports your craft then you know how critical sustaining it, and its quality, is. Follow the steps above routinely for a healthy musical voice box with longevity.
Originally posted on: http://www.nafme.org/top-7-tips-for-a-healthy-voice-box-with-longevity/