Singing is the art of producing music with one, human instrument: the voice. Singing can happen in many forms, from an individual walking down the street, casually reciting their favorite melody, to large choirs harmonizing to a highly choreographed piece.
When our lungs expel air through the larynx, our vocal chords vibrate, producing the sound that we manipulate into song.
Pianos can be tuned, violins can get their strings replaced. So how can singers best protect and preserve their voice, a powerful yet fragile human device? There are a few simple steps all singers, amateur or professional, can take in their vocal hygiene routine.
Warming up is necessary to mentally prepare you for singing. It’s just as important as when athletes stretch before exercise. Your voice is your muscle, and it needs to be streched. In your warm-up, sit hanging over the chair – grab your ankles and breath. This deep exhalation with prepare your lungs and breath for the exercise of singing. When starting to sing, use no more than a fifth to begin (an octave at most), drop on top notes, and tilt your head back slightly on the high notes. This warm up will help you avoid damage to your vocal chords and can even help develop your range.
Before a big performance, resting your voice is critical to take care of your vocal hygiene. Before the concert, try not to speak or sing for at least thirty minutes. We love to sing. And, in our busy school and work lives, we are constantly communicating. So, it can takes discipline to know when to rest your voice.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Not only does drinking water keep the vocal chords flexible and healthy, it maintains the protective lubricating lining of mucous surrounding them. Hydrating acts as a preventative measure against the vocal chords becoming swollen, and singing with weak chords can sometimes cause permanent damage.