It’s that time of year when everyone you pass on the street seems to be coughing and sneezing! As a singer, it’s important to remember that your voice is an instrument and needs to be taken care of. Fortunately, we’ve got some vocal health tips to help you out.
Working as an opera singer, where my paycheck entirely depended on my singing ability, I picked up a few tricks along the way. So, without further adieu, here are five vocal health tips to keep your instrument performance-ready during winter.
1. Invest in a Humidifier!
The weather outside is frightful – and can seriously dry out your vocal cords. Buying a humidifier and running it while you’re asleep can significantly affect your sleep quality and how you feel in the morning vocally.
You can purchase a travel humidifier for as low as $20 on Amazon.
This is an excellent tool if you are flying to combat drying out at a high altitude on your way to an audition/gig! If you’re on the go and unable to bring a humidifier – running your shower in your hotel room and letting the steam build up works just as well in a pinch!
2. Warm Beverages Are Your Friend!
If you have a tickle in your throat or are coughing, warm drinks are your best option! The singer’s go-to savior has always been ‘Throat Coat’ due to its use of licorice, slippery elm, and ginger.
Licorice, honey, peppermint, and slippery elm are known to coat and soothe the vocal cords, while ginger is good for increasing your blood flow.
If you’re not a tea person – you can always pour a cup of hot water with lemon and add honey, which has the same effect! I like to add a little orange zest for personal flavor.
3. Keep A Lozenge On Hand
It’s easy to get a dry mouth when battling the elements and the frigid temperatures. It’s essential to always have a lozenge on hand when this happens. Dealer’s choice! Anything you like increases your saliva production, such as cough drops, ginger drops, honey drops, gum, mints, etc. If you don’t have one and are about to go on stage – bite down gently on your tongue or the sides of your mouth.
4. Warm Up Your Voice
Don’t forget to warm up your voice every day. This is important not only so you can be ready to have a healthy and successful performance but also so that you can check in on yourself.
Take 10 minutes to do your vocal exercises and figure out where you are that day. Pay attention to how you feel and where you might need to take it easy. If you are tired after a few minutes of warm-ups, it’s best to rest and return later.
It hurts to cancel a gig, but injuring yourself is worse.
I’ve warmed up for gigs in many public places, including trains, parking lots, and hotel lobbies. It helps to invest in a tool like Beltbox, which significantly cuts your sound production, or use a straw to practice with.
5. Take Care of Yourself
Remember that you are a human, and just like any other body part, your voice functions at its best when in good health. It’s essential to acknowledge that you can’t overpower the effects of a cold with sheer vocal strength. To keep your voice performance-ready, prioritize your overall well-being.
Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydration is vital to maintaining your vocal cords’ flexibility and moisture levels. Opt for warm water or soothing teas to provide additional comfort to your throat.
Get Enough Rest
Adequate rest is a fundamental aspect of vocal health. Ensure you get a good night’s sleep, allowing your body, including your vocal cords, to recover and rejuvenate. A well-rested body contributes to improved vocal performance and endurance.
Take Necessary Precautions
Prevention is better than cure. Take proactive steps to protect your voice, especially during the cold season. Dress warmly to shield yourself from the harsh weather, and consider using a scarf to cover your throat.
If you know you’ll be in environments with dry air, such as heated spaces, consider using a personal humidifier to maintain optimal moisture levels.
Incorporate these habits into your daily routine, and you’ll preserve your vocal abilities and enhance your overall well-being. A healthy lifestyle translates into a healthy voice – the foundation for a consistently outstanding vocal performance!
Common Vocal Issues During Cold Season
During the cold season, singers often face common vocal issues that require special attention. These issues include:
Increased Susceptibility to Infections
The cold season increases the risk of infections, such as colds and flu, which can impact vocal health. Infections can lead to inflammation and irritation of the vocal cords, affecting overall vocal quality.
Changes in Vocal Range and Flexibility
Cold weather can cause physical changes in the vocal cords, leading to vocal range and flexibility alterations. Singers may experience challenges in hitting certain notes or maintaining their usual vocal agility.
To address these vocal issues effectively, singers can implement self-care strategies such as:
- Immune-Boosting Practices: Maintaining a balanced diet rich in vitamins and nutrients strengthens the immune system and reduces the risk of infections.
- Specific Vocal Exercises: Incorporating vocal exercises tailored to combat seasonal challenges, focusing on maintaining flexibility and addressing any limitations caused by the weather.
- Adjusting Singing Techniques: Adapting warm-up routines and singing techniques to the colder environment, ensuring the vocal cords are adequately prepared for performance despite the seasonal conditions.
By understanding and proactively managing these common vocal issues, singers can confidently navigate the cold season, maintaining a strong and resilient voice.
Are You Interested in Taking Voice Lessons?
As the cold season introduces unique challenges to vocal health, mastering your voice is an ongoing journey. By acknowledging and actively addressing common vocal issues, you empower yourself to sing with confidence and resilience.
At Green Hills Guitar Studios, we understand the intricacies of vocal care, and our experienced voice instructors are here to guide you through every season of your musical journey. Whether in Nashville or elsewhere, our tailored voice lessons can help you overcome seasonal hurdles and enhance your vocal prowess.
Don’t let the cold weather dampen your musical aspirations. Take the next step in refining your voice – contact us now to schedule personalized voice lessons.
Let’s make your voice shine, no matter the season!