Vocal Hygiene- Take Care of your Instrument!
Vocal success depends on the condition of your vocal cords. When fatigue or sickness affects them, here are some tips to help get you back on track and/or through a performance! Keep in mind these are just guidelines. If I feel my vocal cords are in good shape, I love a good cup of coffee or glass of wine!
Hydrate your body
Everyone could benefit from drinking more water. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
Important: avoid ice! Extreme temperature can affect vocal cords.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics (drying agents). They can ultimately cause vocal cords to swell.
Steam, Steam, Steam!
Steam can help to reduce vocal cord edema (swelling). Traditional methods include long, hot showers, and inhaling steam from the sink or a pot. Many singers invest in small vaporizers designed for easy, quick results.
Try to avoid speaking, especially before performances. If you must communicate, try using the internet! Other methods include carrying a note pad or white board to write on. Also, it’s important that your whole body is rested. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep.
Throat lozenges—anything that promotes saliva
No mint or menthol lozenges. They are drying agents. Try Grethers or Thayers Pastilles instead of traditional menthol or mints. They promote saliva, which will ultimately keep your vocal cords hydrated.
Avoid throat clearing, gargling, or coughing
All these activities can cause too much pressure on the vocal cords. Try to resist natural body urges. If you must clear your throat or cough, do it gently.
This is hard to understand, because it seems whispering would be easier on vocal cords. But whispering can dry out vocal cords, contributing to edema. Speak at a reduced volume if you must communicate.
No smoking – avoid all smoke
Smoke dries out vocal cords, leading to chronic edema. There’s no good reason to smoke anyway, and if you are a singer, you should avoid it altogether!
No drying medications
When your doctor prescribes medication, let him/her know that you are a singer. If the medication you need is drying, ask about alternative treatments that won’t cause your throat to dry out.
VIBE Performing endeavors to help students experience excitement and dedication necessary to help them succeed in life as well as on stage. For more information, visit www.VIBEscv.com or call 661-255-7464.
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