Singers have the most delicate instruments out there, with improper technique and bad practices, they can lose it forever or create serious health problems that can permanently affect their abilities. Vocal cords can’t be replaced, and a loss voice can’t be immediately fixed during a live performance. Scare tactics aside, singers -amateurs and pros alike- need to develop safety habits to avoid as much damage as possible.
When you’re in a band, it’s easy to get caught up in all taking care of absolutely everything except for your voice. There are instruments to plug, songs to promote, and gigs to get to, so your cords get nothing besides a warmup. All cards on the table, that’s good, but it’s not enough if you plan on keeping your instrument healthy for a long time. There a lot of other things you need to do:
This has been repeated a hundred times, and we’ll say it one more time: vocal cords are really delicate, even more so when they’re dry. In fact, dehydration can cause permanent injuries to your vocal cords. Staying hydrated not only helps avoid that but it also helps with the quality of your sound. Just keep in mind that drinking a glass of water before the performance is not enough. You’ll need to be hydrated on your daily life, during the performance and after. In other words, just make it a habit to drink plenty of water throughout the day. And before your gig, avoid A/C, caffeine and alcohol, especially if there’s already dry weather.
Warm Up Before the Warm Up
Exercises to warm up your voice are great, but they should not be the first step to warm up your vocal cords, for that there’s something better: steam. Breathing steam clears up your throat and instantly hydrates your cords. Basically, a short steam session leaves you ready to start your warm up exercises and get ready to work.
Beware of How You Use Your Throat
Singing out of the throat is the fastest ways to cause a health problem like nodules and polyps. If that’s not scary enough, there’s also the chance of losing the ability to reach higher notes and developing a rather hoarse voice. For singers that have never had any formal training this can actually be hard, and they might require a good singing coach. While we’re on the subject of proper throat care, it’s worth mentioning that smoking is a surefire way of killing your voice. It puts a huge strain on your throat, diminishes your rain, puts your health at risk, and damages your lungs which means you might not be able to use proper breathing techniques.
Take the Time to Cool Down
Your work isn’t done once you leave the stage. Like with any exercise, you need to cool down. The easiest option is to go for relaxing singing exercises to ease down your cords, do some breathing exercises and maybe a bit of steam. Remember that if it seems too hard, or you’re not sure of how to start taking care of your voice, there’s always the option of contacting a singing coach. It might get pricey, but it’s worth doing it, especially when the opposite might mean losing your voice.