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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 in it.

 

Myths:  

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 throat.

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 your diaphragm.

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 straight.

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.