Whether you’re a singing educator or performing in a show, it’s necessary to prevent vocal fatigue, voice loss, inflammation, and sore throats. Most people sing from time to time, especially teenagers, but if you are a professional then you need to know exactly how to look after your voice as a singer.
Like any other valuable instrument, your voice is an instrument and knowing how to take good care of your singing voice, should be part of your overall psyche. Not only that but, but if you are looking for how to improve your singing voice quality, the two actually go hand-in-hand.
Vocal health is very important as damage to the vocal chords can lead to voice disorders like hoarseness and many others. If you’re a singer, this can have an impact on your life and career.
In this article, we’ve got 10 tips for how to look after your voice as a singer.
1. Warming Up Your Voice
Your vocal chords include muscle tissue, as well as the cricothyroid muscle which is used to tense your vocal chords.
Like any muscle, it needs to be tensed to be used therefore it is highly recommended that you do voice warming up exercises before you start. This is your first step to know how to take good care of your singing voice and know how to improve your singing voice quality.
Vocal endurance and lung capacity go together in getting the most out of your voice, but how do you prepare your voice in this way to avoid injury?
Begin by singing quietly and practicing vocal exercises, like ranges before attempting to sing more powerfully. If you are asking, can I improve my voice for singing, then these tips for improving your singing voice will certainly help you on the day. In addition, they will go far to alleviate your nerves and stage fright!
2. Sleeping Well, Sing Better
If you are searching, can I improve my voice for singing, you are going to find that out that rest is your best friend and fatigue is your worst enemy. Good quality sleep is vital for your overall energy levels as well as allowing your voice to rest, which is one of the best ways for how to improve your singing voice quality.
Poor quality sleep can lead to hoarseness, dysphonia, inflammation, and even voice loss. In fact, if a viral infection has caused voice loss, it is a good night’s sleep that will help you to get better. Also, at night, you are not using your voice, and this when your vocal chords will regenerate.
3. Good Posture
If you’re asking, can I improve my voice for singing one of your answers is simple: good posture! Stand up straight, lift your chin and open your airways!
Good posture will also help you to relax as singing when you are tense does not contribute to good tonality. Working on your body-voice relationship is one of the best tips for improving your voice.
Use abdominal breathing by tensing your stomach while you breathe out and then relaxing it while you breathe in. Start by singing in a standing position with your legs straight, followed by sitting down with a straight back.
Then, sing lying down on your back.
This exercise will show you that singing while standing, is much easier.
Posture tips for improving your singing voice:
- Stand with feet apart, at shoulder-width.
- Unlock your knees.
- Check that your pelvis is lined up with your spinal column.
- Lower your shoulders, relax your arms and keep your hands apart.
Posture is important when it comes to how to improve your singing voice quality. Remember too, that tension in your body affects the vocal chords.
4. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can improve breathing and improve your vocal endurance.
Healthy lungs have a much higher capacity for singing allowing you to hold more oxygen and will alleviate shortness of breath while singing.
5. Don’t (Ever) Smoke
This is probably the most obvious tip for how to take good care of your singing voice! Whether you are a singer or not, smoking is extremely detrimental, however, by not smoking, you can enjoy these benefits too:
- Keeps airways open
- Reduces the risk of throat cancer.
- Reduces the risk of irritated vocal chords.
- Reduces the risk of polyps, nodules, and cancer in the lymph nodes.
If you’re asking can I improve my voice for singing? The answer is yes, don’t smoke, reduce alcohol intake and drink at least two litres of water every day.
6. Rest Your Vocal Cords
If you have been singing a lot, rest your voice.
Rest, which is often recommended by speech pathologists and ENT specialists, is one of the most important ways for how to look after your voice as a singer.
Hoarseness leads to muscular tension in the abdominals resulting in disrupted breathing and consequently issues around collar bones and shoulders. All of this can cause you to strain your voice and even alter your vocal timbre. Unfortunately, regular strain can seriously damage your voice.
Loss of voice due to injured vocal chords is called aphonia. In the event of this vocal chord malfunction, it is critical to completely rest your voice.
7. Avoid the Cold
When it comes to tips for improving your singing voice, believe it or not, this can mean checking the weather! Vocal chords do not thrive in the cold which is why you should wear a scarf during winter and always protect your voice from the cold.
Cold weather can lead to a sore throat, bronchitis, and laryngitis and while these are harmless in the long-term, they are detrimental to a concert performance.
Natural remedies that can help include herbal teas with lemon and honey and eucalyptus lozenges. If symptoms persist, see a doctor who may suggest prescription medication in the case of severe infection.
8. Don’t Speak
Tips for improving your singing voice can include silence! This simple remedy is often the best solution for vocal chord distress. Doing this with commitment, can accelerate healing and probably reduce your overall stress too.
9. Take Inflammation Seriously
When it comes to inflammation and how to take good care of your singing voice, do not think that you can take anti-inflammatory medication and continue singing! At any sign of inflammation (sore throat or laryngitis) stop singing immediately and rest your voice.
Your airways are the most important part of your vocal instrument and are made up of four main parts: the larynx, pharynx, bronchial tree, and nasal cavity. Any inflammation in any of these areas should result in rest.
To continue singing with any of these areas compromised, could strain your voice and damage your vocal chords.
10. Consult Trained Experts: Vocal Coaches, ENTs and Speech Pathologists
When it comes to how to look after your voice as a singer, knowing that you need the help of experts is key. For instance, improving your singing technique by using a vocal coach, or private singing tutor will not only satisfy your question, can I improve my voice for singing, but it is almost essential in knowing how to protect your voice from damage.
If and when you do have long-term problems with your voice, make sure that you see a speech pathologist or ENT (ear, nose, and throat medical doctor) to diagnose any potential issues and help you.
A singing tutor is by far one of the best ways to improve your singing and ultimately help you with how to take care of your singing voice. On platforms like Superprof, you can opt for in-person, private lessons with someone located near to you, or even find someone from further away if you are prepared to use the internet and be coached online.
Superprof tutors are verified and they also display reviews by past students on their profile page. In addition, many of them offer their first lesson for free which is a great opportunity for you to establish whether they are right for you, or not. The average cost in South Africa for a private singing lesson is R320 per hour, but this can be much lower in certain towns and cities.
Of course, you can also opt for group singing lessons where the cost may be lower but you will not receive the same personalised attention from the singing teacher that you would in a private lesson.
How to look after your voice as a singer is ultimately up to you, but if you are serious about going places with your talent, remember that your voice is a precious instrument that needs the investment of care and maintenance.