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Voice Maintenance: Part 2

Welcome back to Vocal Maintenance: Part 2! We launched Part 1 in January, so if you haven’t read it please click here to catch up! In Part 1 we covered lots of tips to keep your voice in great shape with topics like hydration, warm-ups and cool downs, and vocal training, but there’s so much more to share! Stick around to learn more on how to keep your voice running smoothly and take care of it like a professional! Included are Teacher Tips from our voice teachers Angelina & Grace! 

  • Posture 

If you’ve been in choir, chances are you’ve been told all about proper posture. First, why is posture so important? Posture can affect so much when it comes to singing. We want to avoid injury and strain as much as possible and one way to control that is through proper alignment. Poor posture can lead to unwanted tension and strain in the neck, shoulders, jaw, etc. To achieve proper posture, we need to think of how we are aligning our bodies whether we’re sitting down or standing up when singing. Singers want to avoid “hunching” forward, but rather feel the spine being straightened like a string is being pulled out of the top of your head.

Another reason why posture is so important is because it leads to optimal resonance and openness of the vocal tract. When the body is properly aligned, air can flow freely through the vocal tract and give singers a richer, more resonant tone. One way to enhance posture is seeing how you sit normally on a daily basis. In the age of technology, we find ourselves hunched over our desks on our laptops or even having our head and neck craned down looking at our phone. Try being more mindful and aware of your posture and see how you can translate good posture into your singing and everyday life.

Teacher Tip: “Connect with your body and warm your body up before a performance, audition, whatever it may be. The more in touch you are with your body, the more aware you are of your posture. Feel free to use a mirror or even record yourself warming up to check on your posture.” -Angelina

  • Breathing

Posture and breathing go hand in hand, which you’ve probably noticed if you’ve taken voice lessons or participate in choir. Air is the power source when it comes to singing heathfully and is one thing we all could use work on! 

Breathing lies at the core of vocal maintenance, serving as the life force behind every note sung. Effective breathing techniques are crucial for sustaining vocal health and longevity. Proper breath support not only ensures a steady airflow for consistent sound production but also minimizes strain on the vocal cords and surrounding muscles, preventing potential injuries and vocal fatigue. By mastering the art of breathing, singers can unlock a world of possibilities in their vocal performances, from enhanced control and dynamics to greater resonance and expressiveness. Ultimately, prioritizing breath awareness and technique lays the foundation for maintaining a strong, vibrant voice that can withstand the demands of rigorous rehearsals and performances, while also nurturing vocal health for the long term.

Teacher Tip: “No “Birthday Breaths”! Breathing from your diaphragm is the key to being a successful singer.” - Grace

  • Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is paramount for singers seeking to preserve and optimize their vocal abilities. A balanced diet, regular exercise, hydration, and sufficient rest are not just good habits; they're essential elements in vocal maintenance. 

A nutritious diet supports overall health and provides the necessary nutrients for vocal tissue repair and maintenance. Not only is a good diet important, but making sure you know what works for your body is crucial. If you know Mexican food gives you heartburn, don’t eat it before a performance. Being aware of how food affects your body will help you feel good about a performance, but also feel good vocally. 

Regular exercise promotes cardiovascular health, aiding in breath control and stamina. Adequate hydration ensures the vocal cords remain well-lubricated, reducing the risk of vocal strain and irritation. Additionally, prioritizing rest allows the body to recover from vocal exertion and stress. By making these lifestyle choices, singers can safeguard their voices, optimize their performance capabilities, and sustain their vocal health for years to come.

Teacher Tip: You never know what’s in those store bought cough drops so if I’m feeling itchy I try to make some at home. Homemade cough drop recipe: Honey, lemon and ginger bring to a boil. Carefully put your drops on wax paper w/ powdered sugar and let sit out till dry and enjoy!” - Grace

  • Listen to Your Body

Always listen to what your body is telling you. Are you noticing any changes in your voice or discomfort when singing? If you happen to experience persistent pain, hoarseness, or vocal fatigue, seek advice from a certified speech-language pathologist or an otolaryngologist (ENT - ear, nose, and throat specialist). These professionals can help you identify what these issues could be, whether it be adjusting your technique, lifestyle choices, or seeking vocal therapy if needed. 

Teacher Tip: “Singing should feel comfortable and never be painful, uncomfortable, or making you feel weak and tired. Listen to your body and be aware of what it’s telling you. Don’t push yourself and make sure to listen to those who are certified to give you vocal advice. You only have one voice and we want to take care of it.” - Angelina

Thank you for reading through Part 2 of our Vocal Maintenance series! This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to maintaining a healthy, beautiful voice. Are you interested in voice lessons for yourself or a loved one? Check out our voice teachers here at Loud & Clear Music School to be your guide. We believe in encouraging performers of all ages and abilities, and especially teaching about vocal maintenance. 

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