As a singer, your voice is your instrument. Vocal health is one of the most important things to focus on when it comes to achieving peak performance and also preserving your voice in the long run. Maintaining a healthy voice is key for all singers at any age. This specific post is so full of goodies, we have to split it into two parts! Today we’ll explore 3 topics that include vital knowledge, techniques, and tips from Angelina Seemann, one of our voice teachers at LCMS!
The most important thing when it comes to hydration is how it works. Not many people realize that hydration isn’t instant the moment you drink water, but rather it takes time. It can take up to 4 hours for that water to circulate through your body and fully affect your vocal folds. Another idea is that water doesn’t actually touch your vocal folds! You heard me right– when you have a dry throat or feel like you need to clear your throat by drinking, that water doesn’t come in contact with your vocal folds!
“I always say that today’s water intake is tomorrow’s hydration! Make sure you prepare for any performances, auditions, or just even a long day of talking by drinking the proper amount of water the day before and the day of.”
Proper Warm-Ups & Cool Downs
Would you run a marathon without stretching or preparing? Of course not! Before singing, warm up your voice with gentle exercises such as lip trills, sirens, and humming scales. In lessons, you may experience a lot of different warm-ups and you may even have your favorites! Warm-ups are a great way to slowly get your muscles prepared for a voice lesson or performance. Your vocal folds are a small, delicate part of your body and we need to make sure we’re properly using them. Stretching and preparing these muscles will help relieve singers or tension, help build range, learn technique, and much more!
After singing, cool down your voice with gentle vocal exercises to relax and soothe your vocal cords. What is a cool down? It helps us take our voice from “performance mode” and bring it back to our natural speaking register. These cool-downs only take 2-3 minutes (or longer if needed) after performing. This can be anything from a gentle slide on an “ah” (descending) or humming lightly on “do-mi-sol-me-do”. Be careful to cool down after long periods of singing because lactic acid can build up in our vocal muscles, which can lead to post-performance injuries.
“Warming up your muscles is the best way to prevent any vocal injuries! We only have one voice and we should be taking great care of it! Start out with light, easy exercises and work your way up to more challenging warm ups. Don’t forget to target different parts of your voice, like head voice, chest voice, etc.”
Are vocal lessons worth it? Many believe so, and so do we! Investing in professional vocal training is a great opportunity to learn more about the voice, challenge yourself as a performer, and learn more about this amazing art form! A qualified vocal instructor can provide guidance on proper vocal techniques, breathing exercises, and help you expand your vocal range while minimizing strain. Teachers can help guide you in the right direction and give honest feedback to help improve your craft.
If you’re struggling with reaching high notes or you feel like you’re unable to sing in a certain style, this is the perfect time for you to explore voice instructors. We take your natural abilities and help you understand how to use the voice in a healthy manner. With the popular music of today, many singers want to be able to belt high notes or sing airy melodies, but it’s not always natural to us. Even famous singers have voice coaches to help them out and guide them.
“Find a teacher who fits your needs and one that you mesh well with. My first voice teacher taught me many things and much of it was through tough love & very honest feedback, but that approach worked well for me, but not for others. Find the one who fits with you and your goals!”
Vocal maintenance is the most important thing a singer can do to protect their voice and make sure they’re keeping it healthy. These are only 3 topics within the subject of vocal maintenance, so come back to read more in the second part of this blog post!