As you all know ThinkDope and Stereo Assault invaded A3C this year! My group MME was a part of the special showcase that we’ve constructed and the only thing that I needed to do besides being present [and killing it] was making sure my voice was present as well! The life of a performance vocalist is non-stop and that can sometimes have a wear on your voice if you’re not careful. Here are a few tips to keep your voice in top shape and preserve your money-maker in the midst of all the chaos.
1. Fitness, Drugs, Hydration
Your voice can only be as healthy as you are. So that means treating your body with the utmost respect and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Cardiovascular exercises that increase heart and lung muscles are great to help establish stronger breathing and stamina necessary for great voice and performance. Not indulging in drugs can thwart unnecessary battles in sustaining the quality of your voice over time. You don’t want to put an expiration date on your voice do you? Of course not. Do your best to stay hydrated at all times. You can’t sing with a dry mouth and throat, can you? Avoid cold water as it can freeze the vocal cords and stiffen them. Warm water always!
2. Warm-Ups Are The New Push-Ups
Warming up every day is essential in making sure your voice is always prepared for any type of singing you are expecting to do. Any extensive singing done without warming up is called singing “cold.” Singing cold shocks the vocal cords and you will undoubtedly be limited in what you can do vocally as opposed to actually preparing yourself for performances. If this is done repeatedly it can have negative and lasting effects on the voice. It’s always best to do vocal exercises that start from the bottom of your range and work your way up. Focusing on breathing, mouth/tongue placement, and good posture are all essential in developing effective singing habits.
3. Understanding Your Voice
Understanding what you are capable of is probably the first thing that any singer needs to understand. This includes knowing your vocal range and how you handle vocal embellishments and such. Singing outside of your range is the quickest way to destroy your voice. If you are a baritone it probably wouldn’t be wise to attempt to sing notes that are typical for altos to sing in full voice. Now there are some people who have incredible range and can sing well outside of their vocal classification. This is all a matter of practice, however. You can always grow within your capabilities for sure. Long story short, if you have to strain to sing it then it is not for you.
4. Shut up, Just Shut Up, Shut Up…
In the words of the Black Eyed Peas, just shut up. As simple as this may seem many people do not realize that even when you are just talking you are still using your vocal cords. Excessive talking can lead to hoarseness and exhaustion, so if you’re attempting to preserve the dignity of your singing voice leading up to certain moment then don’t talk. It’s almost like taking vocal naps.
5. Go To Bed
In order to perform at optimal level we must sleep a maximum of 10 hours a night. In those 10 hours our bodies restore themselves from the physical and mental work we’ve done the day prior. Just as a heavy rest is needed after a big workout session to develop muscles in those legs and arms you been curling, such is needed to strengthen and keep your voice strong. Rest up. Sing a song in your dreams.
What are your best tips to keep your voice in top shape? Share them in the comments below!