Whether you're an aspiring singer, you already sing professionally, or you sing in the shower for fun, taking care of your vocal health should be a top priority.
Your vocal cords are precious, and singing to the best of your ability means taking care of them and treating them with respect.
But between your daily life, rehearsal with your band, studio, or producer, and side work, it may be difficult to give your vocal cords a break and the care they deserve. Thankfully, we have some vocal health solutions that can help.
In the article below, we have put together 10 tips to help keep a healthy voice.
Table Of Contents
- Cool Down and Warm Up Your Voice
- Drink Plenty of Water
- Don't Clear Your Throat
- Listen to Yourself
- Get Quality Sleep
- Use Natural Throat Products
- Take Vocal Naps
- Don't Abuse Your Voice
- Breathe Through Your Nose
- Don't Force It
How Do Singers Keep Their Vocal Cords Healthy?
1. Cool Down and Warm Up Your Voice
Every musician must warm up their voice before they sing. This vocal technique shouldn't be a surprise, especially if you've ever been on a tour.
There are various vocal warm-up exercises for singers of all ages, vocal ranges, and experience levels.
You should also ease into these exercises by warming up your facial muscles. Loosen your lips and jaw muscles by blowing out through your lips, sticking out your tongue, and massaging your face. This process should take between 10 and 20 minutes, and be sure not to cut corners.
Once you're done singing, you need to take the time to cool down.
Cooling down isn't seen as important as warming up your singing voice, but it's a straightforward way to support vocal health for singers.
To maintain your healthy singing voice, sigh on a descending note. Yawn while raising your soft palate and release any built-up tension.
Do a few gentle lip rolls, allowing your voice to descend gently.
Take 5 or 10 minutes after your performance or practice to allow your voice to settle back in.
2. Drink Plenty Of Water
Sometimes the reason you have a hoarse voice is as simple as being dehydrated.
Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated, and do all you can to avoid alcohol or caffeine, especially before performances.
Your vocal cords vibrate very fast, and drinking enough water will help keep them lubricated.
If you're not a fan of water or often forget to bring your water bottle with you, foods containing large amounts of water are excellent hydration-conscious snacks.
Foods that are great sources of hydration include:
- bell peppers
3. Don't Clear Your Throat
To keep your voice in shape, you want to avoid frequent throat clearing.
This can damage your vocal cords because throat clearing is essentially violently slamming the vocal cords together. Sounds painful, right?
This can easily cause irritation and inflammation, preventing the vocal folds from coming together seamlessly, leading to an airy sound. If you think you need to clear your throat, grab a bottle of water first.
Throat clearing should be a last resort.
4. Listen to Yourself
As we said earlier, hoarseness can be caused by something simple. However, it can also be a sign of something more severe.
If you have a hoarse voice for more than a few weeks, you should make an appointment with a voice specialist, especially if you smoke or are experiencing cold-like symptoms.
To keep your voice healthy, you need to listen to yourself and monitor your voice. Don't ignore any warning signs. If you notice hoarseness or your voice starts to feel scratchy, rest it as much as possible.
And again, drink plenty of water to lubricate your vocal folds.
5. Get Quality Sleep
This one may surprise you, but there is a strong connection between and vocal health. Like many other things, a lack of sleep is the enemy of your singing voice, and to sing well, you need to sleep well.
Your body requires a certain amount of rest to recharge and restore.
If your body is fatigued, your voice is fatigued. Neglecting sleep will result in a lack of focus, clarity, loss of volume, and diminishing tone quality.
Over time, lack of sleep can cause damage and vocal strain.
Getting the recommended amount of sleep the night before a vocal performance will support optimum voice quality. This may be difficult if you're a night owl, but if you want to keep your vocals healthy, get a significant amount of shut-eye.
6. Use Natural Throat Products
Just about anything that helps your throat can help your voice.
If you're having issues with your voice, look for lozenges, teas, and throat sprays that have slippery elm, a great throat lubricant.
Licorice and marshmallow can also reduce inflammation. Avoid sugar and instead, use products with glycerin and honey.
If you like tea, a great option is Throat Coat.
7. Take Vocal Naps
Most personal trainers will tell you that you need to take a couple of rests days after exhausting exercise routines. Just like your body, when your voice is tired, it is more prone to injury. You have to give your vocal muscles rest.
If you're sick, if your allergies are flaring, or if you've been practicing a lot, take some time to rest your voices. That means you should limit your talking, avoid singing, and definitely don't whisper.
Many people don't realize that whispering is terrible for your vocal cords.
Any throat specialist will tell you that a tired voice needs time to regenerate. The longer you can rest your voice, the better.
8. Don't Abuse Your Voice
Many people damage their voice through overuse.
So, don't abuse or misuse your voice. Don't yell, don't whisper, and try to avoid talking in noisy areas. If your throat feels dry or you're hoarse, stop talking altogether.
Hoarseness is a warning sign that your vocal cords are irritated. If your voice is not cooperating with you, don't get frustrated and start pushing harder. That will just cause excessive damage.
9. Breathe Through Your Nose
The most important breathing habit a musician can create is breathing through their nose.
Humans are designed to be nasal breathers because the nose provides humid and warm air to your throat and lungs.
Your nose also filters out allergens, viruses, and germs that your mouth cannot.
If you have a stuffy nose when you come in from the cold, it might mean you aren't breathing through your nose when you are outside.
10. Don’t Force It
Perhaps the best piece of advice that most vocalists will ignore is that you shouldn't force it.
If your voice is hoarse because of laryngitis, a cold, or the flu, take it easy. Live to sing for another day. Don't speak loudly, give long speeches, and keep from straining your voice and singing until you’re better.
It's not giving up, it's being smart with your voice.
Put These Vocal Health Tips to Use
Now that you know how to keep your vocal cords healthy, you can truly start to improve your voice and elevate your singing skills. Here is the thing - vocal health is just one part of the equation.
When it comes to a successful singing career, you need the best techniques, warm-ups, strategies, and instruction. You need to consider your tone, pitch, and range. A few industry connections wouldn't hurt, either.
So, what can you do?
What you can do is enroll at the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media. AIMM is an accredited music college that offers multiple programs for singers, including:
- Music and Technology Associate Degree: Voice Concentration
- Performance Certificate in Vocals
If you're interested in the production side of music and want to learn the best tracking, mixing, and mastering techniques - all while maximizing your vocal skills - then you need to check out the Music and Technology Associate Degree.
You even have the opportunity to become Pro Tools Certified.
On the other hand, if your main focus is your singing talent and putting on a great show night in and night out, then the Performance Certificate is for you.
Either way, you'll be in an immersive music atmosphere where music and singing will be your number one focus. If you're a passionate vocalist and this opportunity sounds amazing to you, click below to discover how AIMM can benefit your singing career today.