When you play an instrument, you’ve got to take care of it. If you don’t, it’s going to start to sound awful. The same is true of your voice. Most of us have one, but the majority of us aren’t properly taking care them. Most people can probably get away with that, but if you’re a singer, you’ve got a responsibility to treat your vocal cords (not chords; get it right, brother) with a little more respect. Here are some friendly tips to help keep that voice in tip-top shape.
This is another one that’s just good life advice, in general– but it’s particularly important for the function of your voice box. Those vocal cords (not chords) of yours work best when they’re moist, and in order to produce moisture, you’ve got to put water in your body. The best orifice to put that water in is your mouth. Try to drink about two liters of water a day. This is apart from other liquids, like sodas and juices, which contain ingredients that can actually dehydrate you. Stay moist, friends.
I didn’t know how to bring it up to you, but you’ve got to stop smoking cigarettes, dad. Seriously though, your life choices are your own– but if you plan on singing professionally or even just long-term, you’ve got to ditch the cancer sticks. Breathing smoke past your vocal cords and into your lungs is like keeping your vintage Martin
acoustic guitar stored in a sauna. It’s messed up. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. If you’re going for that Tom Waits/Joe Cocker/Fat Albert classic raspy vocal sound, you should probably continue to puff away.
It’s tempting to just belt out that note at the end of the Celine Dion song you’re listening to, but it’s not a great idea. It’s kind of like waking up and running a marathon. Your legs are going to hate you, and you’re going to feel it for days. I’ve started using an app called Vanido to warm up my voice before I sing, and it’s a change I can hear and feel. I can glide into notes more smoothly, and my voice stretches farther in both directions when I’m properly warmed up. I’m not plugging that app specifically; just find a way to get the same result. Good old piano scales still work just fine, the way your awful choir director used to force you to do them.
Lay Off The Dairy
Alright, this is probably more offensive than telling you to kick the smokes. I know you love milk and yogurt and whipped cream, but they coat your vocal cords (not chords) and they stimulate mucus production, which is no bueno for a singer. You don’t have to drop them entirely, but at least lay off of them for the day if you’re planning to sing into a microphone or in front of a crowd.
You’ve got to drop the ciggies entirely though, man. Unless you don’t want to. You do you.