Here are some things I learned about vocal health for singers.
Vocal cords are like a rubber band. Mucus covers them, getting thicker as you get older. Falsettos sing on the edge of their vocal cords. When you stretch the rubber bands, you get the higher notes. When you have phlegm in the morning, that is your body self-repairing the vocal cord. When you “clear your throat” a lot, that’s bad. It could lead to a nodule– a big sore on your vocal cord.
You might have vocal health issues if:
1) you have a hoarse or raspy voice
2) you lost your ability to hit high notes
3) all of a sudden your voice is a lot deeper than normal
4) your throat feels raw/strained
5) it hurts to talk/veins popping out
6) you’re repeatedly clearing your throat
The best way to help your vocal health is to drink lots of water– this will help you get rid of morning phlegm. You should have 8-12 glasses of water daily. When phlegm’s on your cords, your voice cracks– you get bad notes! It’s important to warm up and cool down your voice as a singer. Avoid dry environments– for instance, if you travel on an airplane, where the cabin air is stale and dry, drink lots of water. Aretha Franklin is famous for not allowing air conditioning in any of the venues where she sings– it would dry her out.
Also, if you’re a singer getting ready for a performance, stay away from dairy products like milk, which causes mucus. Also, alcohol, pop, caffeine and tea all dry your voice. I will share some more information in Part Two, coming soon…
If you want to warm up before singing–and you should–you should say “oooo” to clear off phlegm on your cords. Use your normal voice to do this. Gradually do a note higher/lower off the main note.
Remember, a day before AND the day of your performance, no dairy products!
Put a little lemon juice in water to help your voice– you could also use salt water.
Before singing, it’s wise to avoid yelling.
Medication might make your voice hoarse or raspy. Some mouthwash can cause phlegm.
If you have a cold and have to sing, then an hour beforehand here’s what to do:
1) fill coffee mug with hot water
2) 4-5 Halls ICE BLUE cough drops (with menthol and peppermint)– put in cup
3) add a little honey or sugar to add taste
4) stir it up
5) close your eyes– vapors burn
6) breathe it in and sip it
This will soothe your nose and throat immediately.
And finally, one more tip for overall vocal health: SMILE, it makes your singing brighter!