As a singer, your voice is your instrument. Just as you would care for the strings on a guitar and the keys on a piano, your vocal folds need care and attention. Vocal health does not have to be complicated. Knowing how to take care of your vocal folds can ensure that you have a long career as a singer.
Your vocal folds sit over the top of your windpipe within the larynx or voice box (behind the Adam’s Apple). The glottis (the opening between the vocal folds) opens when you breathe. It then closes when you speak or sing. Your high notes are caused by your vocal folds vibrating at a fast speed. Lower notes are a result of slower vibrations, generally because of looser tension on the vocal folds.
In order to keep your voice sounding clear and in tune, you need to make sure your vocal folds are healthy and flexible. Here is how you can do that.
Tricks for a Healthy Singing Voice
1. Vocal Folds are Made of Tissue.
Warming up before you sing is one important way to keep your vocal folds healthy and your singing voice strong. Just as you want to warm up and cool down before any type of exercise, the singing voice needs to be eased into and cooled down. As an experienced singer, you probably know a variety of exercises that suit your age and vocal range. You should warm up your facial muscles, lips and jaw as well as make noises and hum. Warm-ups should take about 10-20 minutes. To cool down your voice after a performance or practice, continue speaking normally and do some gentle scales to continue working on getting your voice back into the normal speaking range.
2. Stay Hydrated.
To keep your vocal folds healthy, you need to be adequately hydrated. Water and warm (not hot!) herbal teas are the best drinks for your voice. Remember to drink water and tea throughout the day and not just before during and after practice and performance. If your body becomes dehydrated, your vocal folds can become irritated and that will harm your voice. Keep a water bottle or mug of tea with you at all times so that your body produces adequate levels of mucus so that the vocal folds stay lubricated.
3. Rest Your Voice.
The vocal folds that you use for your singing voice are also used every day for communicating with others. However, some things that you may do during the day can harm your singing voice later on. You should limit how often you are in noisy environments and find yourself needing to talk louder or shout. Additionally, when you have a cold or allergies and your throat is sore or raw, take time to reduce demand on your voice. Try to be quieter than normal for a few days; avoid whispering, which can create vocal habits that are “worse” than the vocal injury from which you are recovering. Just like returning to normal use after a pulled muscle or a strain, complete silence is rarely necessary, but care and paying attention to your body’s cues are important. Taking some time for reduced voice use rest will allow your singing voice to come back strong when you are feeling healthy again.
If you are ready to begin your career as a singer and want to ensure that you have longevity as a performer, consider earning your Bachelor of Arts in Music with an Emphasis in Voice Performance at Grand Canyon University. You will learn how to care for your voice so that it remains a precision instrument throughout your life.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in animation, learn more about the programs within the College of Fine Arts and Production and check out our website or click the Request More Information button on this page.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.