The same way guitarists play guitars and drummers play the drums, the singer’s instrument is their voice. Unlike a physical instrument that can be tuned up or even replaced, if your voice goes out it can mean cancelled concerts, lost revenue, and missed opportunities. Here are 8 simple ways to ensure that your voice is supported and strong during the challenge of singing night after night.
1. Warm Up
Very similar to a runner warming up before a marathon, singers should always be warming up their vocal chords before a “marathon” of singing while in concert. Techniques like breathe relaxation, jaw release, lip and tongue trills, and gentle humming are simple but effective techniques in preparing your vocal chords.
Your voice comes from your larynx. The larynx is made up of muscles called “vocal folds” which are covered by a mucous membrane. In order for the vocal folds to vibrate properly the mucous membrane must stay hydrated. Steaming can help a great deal when drinking water alone doesn’t seem to help. Touring outside in the heat or in the freezing cold can exacerbate dryness in the throat, making proper lubrication in the vocal folds even more challenging. Breathing in steam will clear away phlegm, and hydrate the vocal cords with direct hydration being applied where you need it most. You can steam your vocal chords with a portable steamer or in a steam room, shower, or even over a pot of boiling water. Be sure to do this 15 minutes before and after every performance to keep your larynx properly lubricated.
3. Stay Hydrated
Even if you think that you’re properly hydrated, factors like alcohol, coffee, dry air, climate, and even the venue you’re performing in can affect your hydration levels. Alternatives to drinking water only can also include aloe vera juice or even coconut water. As the saying goes, by the time you experience thirst you’ve already been dehydrated for a while. Think of drinking water every hour, or set a reminder to be sure that you don’t go too long without taking a sip.
4. Gain Flexibility
When you’re on the road you’re whole body is stiffening up as you sit for long hours at a time going from location to location. You’re probably crammed in a fan or bus full of your bandmates and instruments, and likely not getting a lot of room to stretch and exercise. Be sure to do some stretching from time to time to allow your body to decompress. The exercises below will help to stretch your diaphragm, spine, and abdominal walls so you won’t be straining to push more air through restricted and tight muscles. Here are a few suggestions: Cat/Cow: This is a yoga pose that helps to open your spine and ribcage. To do this you’ll get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders, and your knees under your hips. For cow pose you’ll drop your belly to the ground to arch your back while lifting your head. You’ll hold the pose for one full exhale. As you begin to inhale you’ll curl your chin into your chest while tucking your tailbone to cause your back to round like a cat stretching, thus the name cat pose. Repeat this movement 10 times or more, keeping in mind to breathe deeply. Fold Forward: Standing up straight take a deep inhale as you reach your hands to the sky, allowing your head to lift as your arms reach overhead. As you begin to exhale stretch your arms out to the side as you fold your chest towards your knees, while reaching your hands towards the ground, bending your knees slightly. On the next inhale you’ll stretch your arms back out to the sides as you go to stand back up and again reach your arms and head up to the sky.
5. Get a Teacher
Hiring a voice teacher can be a great way to not only save your voice but become an overall better and stronger singer. Be sure to ask if the voice instructor works with contemporary artists or more classical artists, as the needs for both artists vary. Your instructor will also have a wealth of knowledge of other ways to save your voice while on tour.
Find Out More
You may be wondering what exactly it will cost you to record your song or full-length album. The exact costs will depend on a variety of factors, including quality (demo or commercial release), how many instruments are involved, and whether you’re well-rehearsed. To find out more about our hourly rates and get an estimate for your project, feel free to contact our team! today.