When God is calling us to “raise the bar” with regards to singing, it may be time to take a step back and evaluate our thoughts toward, and commitment to, vocal health. Together, we can learn how to be better stewards with the gifts He has given us. We can sing better and with more confidence if we follow some simple guidelines. There are some basic things that you can start implementing right away when it comes to vocal health. You should see some positive results instantaneously, or at least in a very short period of time. Over the next few months, we’ll dive into more detail on many of these points and others. Still, the following items should give you a good basis to start with. So let’s begin!
Sing every day. You will simply be amazed at how much more vocal control you have by just practicing! “Work out” your voice every day! Fifteen to twenty minute workouts should be sufficient. Whenever you can, take a few of the songs you’re learning along with you in the car on the way to work or school, or while you’re running errands. That way, you can sing along whenever it’s convenient. Be ready!
Drink plenty of water. It’s best to drink room temperature water because cold water will tighten the muscles in your throat. Of course, when singing, you want your muscles to stay loose and relaxed. Also, begin hydrating your body as early as possible prior to an event. If you’re scheduled to sing in the morning, start drinking water when you first wake up and continue keeping yourself hydrated throughout the morning.
Warm-up your voice. Spend some time warming up your voice before you start singing. If you don’t, you’re likely to not have as much control. Even worse, you’re could strain your vocal cords. Begin warming up with some scales. Start low and soft and work your way up to a higher pitch and louder volume. There are plenty of vocal warm-up exercise CDs and/or MP3s that can be found on the Internet. Use your favorite search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo!) to find some resources.
Avoid certain drinks and food. Some drinks and foods will dry out or clog up your throat. The biggest culprit for drying out your throat is caffeine…in any form. Coffee, tea and cola will likely cause your throat to be dry, which can make it difficult for you to control vocal pitch. Also, it’s difficult to sing when you have phlegm or gunk on your vocal cords! Dairy is usually the worst offender. Avoid eating a few hours before you sing (if you can) and drink a little hot water (with or without honey) to “melt” the gunk away.
Until next time, let’s remember to “Sing to the LORD, you saints of His; praise His holy name.” Psalm 30:4