If you know me, you probably have figured out that I am very passionate about singing! My mother was a vocalist and my grandmother was a choir director. I think it’s safe to say that singing is in my blood… but that doesn’t mean that I’ve always done it right! Thanks to my parents, I’ve had the opportunity to study voice with some incredible instructors. The knowledge that I gained from them is priceless and has made me very passionate about vocal health. A lot of the time, people hear “voice lessons” and think that it’s all about learning how to sound better, and in the end, you hope that happens. But ultimately, training is about learning how to sing better--how to strengthen the voice you already have and keep it healthy! My dream is to see all of you (pastors and worship vocalists alike!) leading and preaching with strong, healthy voices 20 years from now!
Here are 5 simple things you can do everyday to keep your voice in good health:
Hydrate - Your vocal folds are coated with mucus, and when your body is in a state of dehydration (and most of our bodies are) mucus production is slowed down. Drinking lots of water right before you sing will not help this issue; it needs to be a lifestyle choice. Get yourself a water bottle that you like and chug, chug chug.
Eat Right - How many of you have eaten a meal that you loved eating but regretted it later? Acid reflux can creep back up and cause damage to your larynx. According to the John Hopkins Voice Center, diets high in fat and carbohydrates, alcohol consumption, and the use of tobacco products may make you more susceptible to reflux. I know that some of our favorite rockers have indulged in many of these things… but have you heard them lately?
Don’t Dry Out - Sleep with a humidifier next to your bed. In order to keep your cords happy and hydrated, you have to breathe in the moisture as well as consume it. Now, don't inhale water… you will drown. Unless, of course, it’s in steam form! Setting up a cool mist humidifier next to where you sleep will keep your vocal cords from getting dry, and it also helps out with those winter coughs and colds. Just make sure to clean it regularly.
Warm Up - Hum slow scales before you start talking or while you shower. This will get your vocal folds ready for the day!
Listening To Your Body - If you’re hoarse or your throat is sore… don’t push it! I know that we all have times where we need to “make it happen," but if there is a way that you can take a break, do it! If you need to speak, support and talk in a lighter, higher voice. Don't whisper, as that actually puts more strain on your cords. In situations where you simply must speak or sing, choose songs that are in a comfortable and light place in your range. The Holy Spirit will still show up if you choose a song that doesn’t jump octaves or have a crazy-town range in notes that you are singing. One set, one sermon, one weekend is not worth the long term damage to your voice!
So, there you have it! Go out and love your voice!
Your voice is a tool for the Kingdom of God! Do you have any daily practices that you do that help you care for it? Let me know in the comments below!