As a professional vocalist, I do whatever I can to maintain my instrument – which is obviously my voice. I get asked quite frequently about vocal care and health, and I’m often times really surprised at how little people know about the basics for caring for your voice. Even if you’re not singing, your voice is still the main source of communication for most of us, and it’s important to care for it. For this article, however, I’ll focus specifically on maintaining a healthy singing voice.
The very first rule should be obvious to most, but isn’t always: no smoking. Smoking causes hoarseness, and can lead to polyps and nodes on the vocal cords. Past that, there’s also the very real threat of cancer. I had both a grandfather and grandmother die of lung cancer and emphysema from smoking cigarettes.
While I may sound a little preachy, no good thing comes of smoking, folks. Particularly with singing. It will destroy your voice.
People also want to drink warm liquids like tea or coffee before singing. The problem with this is that many of these drinks contain caffeine, which can dry out your voice. Milk and other dairy products are also not great. They can produce mucus in the throat which you will have to battle in the middle of singing.
The best bet is always water. Room temperature water is perfect, as the temperature also won’t affect your voice that way.
There are many vitamins and supplements that are important for performing vocalists. Here they are, and here’s why they are important:
- Vitamin A: helps to regenerate old cells into new cells. This is particularly helpful for singers because it helps to build healthy bones and teeth (and obviously teeth are vital in singing), and it also helps to replace old tissue in the throat and larynx.
- Vitamin B12: in addition to providing our bodies much-needed energy, B12 also helps in aiding singers with anxiety – helping to calm our nervous system keep it functioning on a much more relaxed level. It is often times suggested the singers and performers take up to 50% more B12 on a day where they will be performing to help calm nerves.
- Vitamin C: helps to improve the overall immune system and fight the common cold and sore throat
- Vitamin E: is a powerful antioxidant. It helps to destroy free radicals that contribute to aging and muscle degeneration.
- Honey: while it’s not recommended to take this just before singing, honey is a wonderful natural supplement to help with a sore throat and vocal discomfort. Honey has natural anti-microbial and antibiotic properties that help fight bacteria. It’s also an antiseptic and inflammatory, and will help to keep infection from spreading. It can also help with season allergies.
A good multivitamin can cover your bases for almost all of these, and drinking plenty of water on a daily basis will keep you in tip-top shape. There’s plenty of products out there aimed towards singers, but I’ve found that just understanding the basics of keeping your voice healthy, taking your vitamins, eating a healthy diet, and keeping your voice as hydrated as possible is really all that’s needed to keep your voice healthy and strong. Happy and healthy singing to you!
Taunia is a professional musician and music educator. She performs regulary with several area big bands and teaches middle school music in the Los Angeles area. She had RNY Gastric Bypass surgery on 3/25/2008 and has maintained a 150 lbs loss. She uses Wellesse liquid vitamins and supplements as part of her daily post-bariatric nutritional routine to maintain her new healthy life. For more information about Taunia, her weight loss, and her music, please visit: www.divataunia.com.