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Vocal Tips #3

Julie JD
December 13, 2011

So I've been telling you how to use your voice. This week it's all about taking care of it. Keep in mind everyone is different so some things that may work for some may not work for others. Same goes for how long or how much.

First I'm going to mention some long term solutions to taking care of your voice, main one being smoking. We may be all guilty of it sometimes, and it can't do much damage in moderation but if you're hoping to make a living off your voice, it means don't smoke. Another long term tip is to eat properly, you may have heard about not eating dairy before a performance, but it's not just dairy. Spicy foods also play a part. But how does this help long term? Well not having a lot of it. I myself love spicy food and would eat it anytime I can, but putting Franks Red Hot sauce on everything doesn't help my voice.

One last thing before I move into performing, is the importance of technique. You don't want to strain your voice, use it in a natural way and practice. If you're straining your voice you need to change what you're doing. If it's a certain note you're trying to hit, you need to ease into it. When you're extending your range only go as far as your body will let you. Gradually you'll be able to reach those notes.

When you're prepping for a performance you need to watch what you eat. There are some crazy things they say about singing, for example eating pickles helps clear your throat, not drinking milk avoids extra phlegm from building in your throat. And like I mentioned before, spicy foods. But it depends on the person. Some people can't eat dairy at least a day before a performance, others it's just 3 hours. One thing they can all agree on is lots of water, and at room temperature. When you're warming up for a gig, that is literally what you're doing to your vocal cords. You're warming them up, and the muscles that support them. Drinking cold water will force them to constrict and essentially undo everything you've just warmed up and you could potentially hurt yourself trying to sing afterwards.

Another thing to keeping care of your voice is being relaxed and stretching. It's not only important to warm up with arpeggios but a good stretch helps elongate your vocal cords and help with your posture. Just start from touching the floor and vertebrae by vertebrae roll up until you roll your shoulders back. Having good posture helps the air flow, kind of like a hose when it doesn't have any kinks.

- Julie JD -