Keeping your singing voice healthy will not only keep you from losing your voice from fatigue or poor technique, but will improve your overall sound. A solid vocal technique (like the one we teach), is based in healthy singing and will incorporate healthy methods into its practice and philosophy. This is the key to keeping your voice healthy along with diet and lifestyle, the right choices will keep your voice healthy and in its best shape ever.
Given that your voice is an instrument housed inside of your body, it is directly affected by the state of your body and your physical health. Alongside physical health, vocal health depends on learning how to take care of your voice, and build a solid vocal technique that aligns vocal health in its foundation. Our vocal technique here at CCVM is based in Bel Canto which comes from the Italian school of singing with health at its core, build a true professional voice to last over the duration of your career.
Here are my 7 Secrets to Keep Your Singing Voice Healthy + Never Lose it Again
1. Secret #1: HYDRATION
The voice needs water to function well. Without adequate hydration, your voice will feel sore, tired, husky, raspy, and lose its shine and high notes. Concentrate on drinking 8-10 glasses a day to stay hydrated. But not only water helps. Foods with a high water content will help. Watermelon, green juice, salads, fresh veggies, and fruits all have a high water content. I was on a raw food diet for about 3 months straight once and my skin and voice were never so hydrated. I wasn’t drinking that much water, it was the water in the food that was keeping me so hydrated. Matter of fact because my diet was all raw, I didn’t have to drink as much water! Vegetable juices, herbal teas and brothy soups also fall under the hydration category (avoid cream or tomato-based soups.) Once you hydrate properly you’ll realize the difference it makes when you sing!
2. Secret #2: SLEEP
Nothing steals your vocal endurance and clarity like a lack of sleep and stress that eats away at your body’s energy and resources. A lack of sleep will make the voice sound and feel tired, and make it harder to sing in general (including a bumpy break and loss of high notes. Try to get a full 8 hours a night. Here are some tips to help: Keep your electronics out of your bedroom; try reading before bed (not on your phone screen), breathing exercises before bed; and there are some awesome natural sleep supplements taken at bedtime that can really help. One of my favorites is made by Gaia herbs.
3. Secret #3: THE RIGHT VOCAL WARMUP
Nothing beats warming up your singing voice with the right vocal warmups. Too many singers either belt at the top of their lungs (to see if they can hit those high notes) or warmup by singing songs – which doesn’t give you the advantage of technically opening your voice that a great warmup can. Imagine an athlete warming up for their big race. Do they sprint as hard and fast as they can to warm up or do they warmup their muscles with certain stretches and drills so they can sprint hard? You guessed right. Smart athletes do the right technical warmup exercises, in the right sequence, that they learned from their coach, to get the most out of their muscles and performance. It works wonders!
4. Secret #4: COOLDOWNS FOR POST-SHOW CONDITIONING OR WARMING UP IF YOUR VOICE NEEDS HELP.
If you wanna know for sure that your voice will be golden for tomorrow’s show after tonight’s? Wanna go on tour and know that you’ll not only crush it, but so will your voice? Cooling down is a way to condition your vocal cords and reduce inflammation after a big performance in order to keep your singing voice healthy. Used for singers on tour, or singers with vocal issues, this alone can keep you from developing vocal problems when executed after every show. We think cool downs are so important we throw them in as a bonus exercises on our Singers Gift Vocal Warmup series. We also put them in our Vocal Rescue Kit because they can also be used as a warmup for voices that have more issues or take longer to warm up.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Cool downs (cool down exercises for singers) is a relatively new thing on the market, but I’ve known about it for decades. Because anyone talking about cool downs most likely heard it here first (or from the few teachers trained in the vocal technique training that I came from). I was lucky enough to train with mentors who knew this secret, but we’re really the only ones that teach them correctly (in my humble opinion).
5. Secret #5: DON’T OVERSING AT REHEARSAL
Careful not to oversing at rehearsal. It’s super easy to blow your voice out by singing too loudly or for too long before your performance. I’ve been there! Professional singers keep their singing volume down at rehearsals – especially the ones that are close to performances, as a way to monitor their endurance. For those that have trouble doing that, try using Hearfones or have the band play to your vocal track ;). Works like a charm!
6. Secret #6: FOODS TO STAY AWAY FROM
As a singer, you have to be careful what you eat, because the wrong foods can cause vocal problems and even cause you to lose your voice. Problems like excess mucous and/or dryness (sometimes you can have both at the same time), loss of high notes, a bumpy break area, or notes cutting out on you can all be caused by eating the wrong foods and beverages. I’ve developed what I call the “3 Day Rule.” For 3 days prior to performance stay away from these foods to keep your singing voice healthy, strong and resilient. For tour, stay away from these foods the whole tour and your fans will be singing your praises. Click here to read our blog on The Three Day Rule.
7. Secret #7: MINDSET + THE POWER OF VISUALIZATION
Your state of mind can easily affect how well you perform. Again, use the athlete scenario. Athletes are very schooled to how much their mental outlook affects performance that they take it very seriously. Think of the Olympic Skating competitions. Notice how once one skater falls, they all are rattled and fall like dominos? That has nothing to do with their talent, it’s all mindset. Henry Ford said it best “Whether you think you can or think you can, you’re right.” The best advice I can give in a nutshell is this: When you think about your performance, see yourself performing well. Visualization is a powerful tool that athletes use to direct their mind to optimum performance. Spend time every day (20 min) visualizing yourself performing well. Get into the details and feel how good it feels for everything to be going right. See the crowd responding, visualize yourself singing your butt off and hitting those high notes with ease and freedom! This is not woo-woo, this is actually science. There have been many tests run on athletes proving the power of visualization. It makes a difference – sometimes the difference.
RESOURCES FOR PRACTICING GOOD VOCAL HEALTH:
- Hearfones: This headphone-like device cups the ear to improve tone and pitch as well as control. They are extremely effective in developing better vocal production that is healthy.
- Deep Tissue Massage, Yoga, Feldenkrais and Alexander Technique are methods that help reduce tension and improve alignment in the singing voice improving vocal health.
- Singers Gift Vocal Warmups: Sing Like a Grammy-winning artist with this set of warmups that open and free your voice with specific techniques that release tension in your vocal instrument improving performance and transforming your voice in as little as 20 minutes.
- Vocal Rescue Kit: You don’t have to suffer with vocal pain and fatigue. Don’t let vocal problems ruin your career. Get on track to these regenerative exercises for your singing and speaking voice now!
Cari Cole’s Top Vocal Health Blog Series
- The Three Day Rule: Performance Prep for Singers by Cari Cole
- 3 Essentials of Holistic Vocal Technique by Cari Cole
- 7 Ways to Clear Up a Blocked Throat Chakra by Cari Cole
- 10 Ways to Keep Your Voice From Quitting On You by Cari Cole
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Singing Through a Cold by Cari Cole
- 10 Steps To Vocal Health + Wellness by Cari Cole
- Singers: 5 Ways To Stop Shredding Your Vocal Cords by Cari Cole