THE HEALTHY VOICE
Drinking Alcohol: Alcohol and other drugs,
whether you got them from the doctor or not, dry out the
vocal cords. The drying out of the vocal cords and larynx,
will greatly reduce the natural function and the instinctive
reactions of the vocal mechanism.
Smoking: Smoking acts like alcohol does on the
singing mechanism. Because of the drying out of the vocal
cords and larynx, excessive use of air is used giving one
a false sense of vocal control. The vocal cords and larynx
need the natural lubrication created by the body. Besides
being damaging to your health, smoking robs you of the affects
of a healthy functioning voice.
Junk Food: Junk food is all carbohydrates. Carbohydrates
take more energy for the body to digest. When you eat junk
food you get bloated and tired. Take heed of this warning.
Do not eat junk food the day of a performance.
Eating before Singing: It is not advisable to eat
right before you sing. Your body is concentrating on digesting
your food and is not free to supply the natural functions
to your larynx. You should not eat within two hours of singing
because of this. Then, it is recommended to eat a good healthy,
balanced meal to give the body energy. You need your energy.
Good Food: Chicken, Fish, Almonds (good
protein), lots of water, apples, eggs, yellow vegetables
(in moderation) and rice.
Bad Food: Tea, milk, cheese, yogurt,
excessive salt, orange juice, green vegetables (gives you
gas and makes you bloated), grapes, oranges, pineapple,
lemon, red meat, junk food, sweets, soda, alcohol, ice cream,
diet soda (especially diet coke), anything with aspartame
Tea with Honey & Lemon: We’ve
all heard that tea with honey & lemon is good to drink
before we sing. This could not be more untrue. Tea has tannic
acid in it as do lemons. These two combined will really
dry out the throat and give one a false sense of control,
creating throat grab when singing. After abusing the voice
with Tea with Honey & Lemon will help sooth your sore
Antihistamines: If your voice is irritated
from a cold or allergies, do not take an antihistamine,
rather you can use cough lozenges to help with the irritation
of the throat but it will not make you sing better. There
is no miracle cure to make one sing better; just proper
technique to assure you strength and a healthy voice.
Vocal Rest: Your voice does not naturally
get hoarse or strained. Your throat and voice should never
hurt but if it does, you are abusing your vocal cords and
the muscles of the larynx, and the cause is not from too
much use but from poor training and improper technique.
Vocal rest will help temporarily but will not solve
the problem. Eventually your vocal problems will return;
most likely the very next time you use your voice. You must
eliminate the cause….vocal abuse.
Vocal Posture: When sitting or standing
in a singing situation, you must keep your back straight
and your ribs off of your diaphragm. When standing, tuck
under your buttocks slightly to align your abdominal muscles
with your diaphragm as well as lifting your rib cage off
All of the nerves to your whole body, including your larynx,
are in your spinal cord. If the nerves are kinked, they
will not give a pure signal to the brain. If your ribs are
collapsed onto your diaphragm, you will not get the true
function of the diaphragm and it will disturb your airflow.
This includes the back of the neck. You want to keep that
Coughing: The vocal cords are very tiny;
only the size of a dime for women and the size of a nickel
for men. When one coughs it slams the cords together causing
strain and irritation to the delicate muscle tissue. Try
swallowing many times or lightly shaking the cords ( by
saying “uh” repeatedly and very quickly) to
relieve the tickle and shake off any phlegm from the cords.
If one has and irritated or dry throat, try Slippery Elm
lozenges. They help lubricate to throat to relieve irritation
and are natural and non-drying.
You are your voice. Take care of it!
Your singing voice greatly depends on your body stamina.
Stamina comes from energy. If you have no energy your voice
is diversely affected. The foods you eat and how you treat
your body, i.e., exercise, posture, eating junk food, greatly
influence your voice and singing performance. Your body
and mind is the singer’s instrument. You must take
care of yourself like any other instrument.