As a singer, you will only have the one instrument to work with. It cannot be repaired, replaced or upgraded. You will need to look after your voice and give it the love and attention it needs to stay in shape.
We have all know that awful feeling when we have a gig/audition/rehearsal/recording session and have woken up with a croaky/hoarse/sore throat. You’ve lost the top end of your range, have found some amazing strange sounds at the bottom, and the notes in the middle sound nothing like what they usually sound like.
These problems can occur for a number of reasons, but they usually boil down to a few predicable factors: You’ve got a cold, had a few too many the night before, too much shouting, you’re stressed… the list goes on.
Whether it’s down to a cold or lifestyle, there’s lots that we can do to help ourselves look after our voice.
Drink plenty of water. If drinking milk makes you produced more mucous, avoid it on days that you sing. Caffeinated drinks can be diuretic, minimize the amount you drink. Herbal tea or Honey and Lemon with hot water is a soothing drink.
We all know that we are supposed to warm-up our voice before we start to sing. Use your favourite vocal exercises, or ask a vocal coach if you are not sure. But stretch your body too. Look at your posture. Go through a basic stretch routine which allows you to stretch your whole body – arms, legs, torso, head and neck. You will feel better for it.
Don’t forget to cool-down after singing too. A few gentle exercises to help the muscles of your larynx to relax
Learn different techniques that will help you exercise your voice, work on its agility, but also work on developing your tone and resonance.
Look after yourself and eat healthy. Minimize the amount of processed food you eat a week, and replace it with home-cooked meals with lots of fruit and veg. Drink less alcohol and give up smoking.
Certain foods may increase reflux or mucous production around your throat. Once you have discovered what these are, then avoid eating them on the days that you sing.
Its worth investing in a vocal spray for the days when your voice is uncooperative. Opt for a glycerine base rather than an alcohol base spray
Get plenty of rest, relaxation and sleep. If your body is tired or stressed, then your voice is going to be tired or stressed. A singer who is tired is almost always going to be pushing for tone and power in their voice. Eventually this will set them up for voice problem or even damage. Don’t forget to give your voice a regular day off too. Singing or talking day after day without a rest is going to cause voice problems.
Get into the habit of steaming your voice. It’s simple to do. Simply pour some hot water into a bowl. Place a towel over your head (and bowl) and inhale through both your nose and mouth for about 10 minutes. You can also add a drop of your favourite essential oil to the water if you prefer.
Can you use a microphone to take some of the strain off your voice. Don’t try singing over bandmates, turn your mic up instead (or turn their mics/instruments down). Learn some mic technique to help amplify your voice where you need it.
In an ideal world, singers would never have to sing when their voice is suffering from a cold, hoarse, tired or sore throat, but sometimes we have to perform when our voice is not at its best. The main point here is to be aware of why you have a voice problem in the first place. Is it because of a hard-to-avoid infection or is your voice problem down to poor technique. If it is the later, then you really need to look at getting some voice coaching to address the problem.
Love your Voice