Home Therapy to Keep Voice Healthy Before Performance

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Eng, Lynn, Dougie and 2 others

If singing is a passion of yours, and you have the gift of a beautiful voice, you should know how to take care of that gift. A beautiful voice must be taken care of to stay healthy. Should you decide to make singing a profession, you must not stress your vocal cords unnecessarily. More importantly, you must learn how to soothe and relax your throat before a performance. If you are embarking on a singing career, you are probably wondering to do to keep your voice healthy before a performance or an audition, and what vocal techniques are good to keep your larynx relaxed.

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There are, of course, techniques to learn to sing professionally. There are also medical solutions like sprays and lozenges to help preserve your voice and your range. If you really want to take good care of your voice, there are home therapies that are inexpensive and natural ways to soothe your throat before you belt out that tune. Continued use will keep your voice healthy.

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Home Remedy to Soothe Your Throat

  1. 1
    Sip a cup of warm water with honey & lemon prior to your performance.
    1. Cut a few slices of lemon or lemon wedges and place them in a mug or cup.
    2. Pour boiling water into the cup over the lemon.
    3. Add sweetness and flavor with a spoonful of naturally sweet honey. Stir and sip when it has cooled down.
    4. A tablespoon of plain honey is a good alternative. It can relieve the soreness in an overworked or stressed throat.
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  2. 2
    Gargle with some brine solution (water and salt).
    This is a good alternative if your throat is still not soothed by the lemon and honey.
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  3. 3
    Drink water before, during and after singing.
    This will help keep your throat soothed and lubricated for singing.
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  4. 4
    Get enough rest.
    Do not go to a place where you need to strain your voice to be heard. Sleep in a room with a humidifier by your bed to keep the throat moisturized. If you don't have a humidifier, and it's the night before a performance or audition, try filling a bowl with ice cubes and placing it near your bed.
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  5. 5
    Stay relaxed.
    Stress and tension can constrict your throat, and your vocal cords will need to be warmed up again. If this happens while performing, your voice can croak or will get too raspy.
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  6. 6
    Know what to avoid and do during breaks or in between practices.
    Stay away from chocolates, peanut butter, dairy products, soda and hot drinks. Instead, drink room temperature beverages and do a few quick scales before performing again. To get more in depth information about what to have and what to not have, please go to Prevent vocal cord damage and protect your singing voice by drinking the right liquids
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  7. 7
    Other breathing and vocal tips to soothe your throat:
    1. Know how to breathe from your diaphragm. This means breathing deeply, not from your chest, and without your shoulders rising. Fill your lungs with air before exhaling. Do this a number of times to relax the throat while establishing breath control.
    2. Do some vocal exercises before a performance. This can be in the forms of buzzing, humming, lip bubbles, and clicking or doing tongue drills to pacify, warm up and relax the throat.
    3. Prepare your vocal cords by clearing your throat. Clearing can be done with low effort cough that will not strain the larynx.
    4. Warm up your vocal cords. You can do this by singing mid-range notes first, before slowly working toward the higher and lower ranges.
    5. Work on scales and arpeggios. Do this in combination with the proper breathing to help ease in efficient and uninhibited sound production.
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Ways to Prepare for Vocal Performance

There are also things you can do to keep your voice healthy. These are the things you routinely do as a matter of habit and not just before the performance.

  1. 1
    Exercise discipline when using your voice.
    This can be done by knowing, learning and practicing proper singing techniques. Discipline means not abusing your voice, giving it much needed rest, especially before and after a performance, and avoiding alcohol and smoking that can damage vocal cords.
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  2. 2
    Be yourself.
    You need not attempt to sing like someone else, as that can force you to sing outside your comfortable vocal range. If you sing within your own range, your voice can shine as you focus on improving your technique and style.
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  3. 3
    Avoid pushing yourself during rehearsals.
    When you are slated for an audition or performance, pace yourself, as well as your voice. This implies singing in small increments. This builds your stamina until you can sing for longer hours. More challenging pieces can be added to your repertoire to slowly increase the level of difficulty.
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  4. 4
    Never get involved in phonotraumatic behaviors.
    These include yelling, talking loud, screaming, or loud singing. These can overwork your vocal cords. After a while, your vocal folds begin to get tired, red and swollen. Long-term phonotrauma can trigger vocal folds to get thicker and to form vocal fold nodules.
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  5. 5
    Continue to hydrate and lubricate.
    While liquid is important, avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages throughout the day. Also, make sure you have something healthy to eat during the day of the performance.
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  6. 6
    Avoid talking too much.
    This means having silent times during the day if your job requires you to talk a lot, or learning to moderate your voice, even when you are angry.
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  7. 7
    Steer clear of anything unhealthy to your throat.
    This includes spicy foods, alcohol, smoking, staying up late, aerosol sprays, and chemicals that can irritate your throat. Even staying too long in rooms with dry or cold air is bad for your throat. Steam inhalation can help liquefy mucus in your nasal passages and throat.
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  8. 8
    Don't hunch over when sitting for an extended period.
    This can strain your neck muscles, which are important in singing.
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  9. 9
    Be aware when the environment is causing you to strain your voice.
    Take a rest whenever there is an opportunity. If the venue is a bar or a party, shouting can take a toll on your throat. After-parties can also tempt you to stay up later than usual, aside from exposure to so many social stressors - smoking and alcohol.
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Tips, Tricks & Warnings

  • Don't risk your voice when you are sick. Performing through an illness is like driving with a flat tire; it can cause more damage to your vocal cords if you sing with a sore throat.
  • See an otolaryngologist or ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor. When you notice hoarseness or pain in your throat for over two weeks, it's best to seek medical help. A Strobovideolaryngoscopy examination is always the best way to get a thorough evaluation of your voice health.
  • Medications may provide some relief, but this is just a false sense of well-being. This can cause you to over-sing, triggering a more severe vocal injury. Repeatedly doing this can lead to inappropriate development of muscle patterns to produce sound.
  • Watch out for symptoms that indicate voice damage. Long-term damage may occur when you don't listen to the signals that tell you to relax, such as voice hoarseness and a sore throat.
  • Consider getting yourself a good voice coach. A knowledgeable professional can help you strengthen your voice through effective preparation and signing techniques, and keep you from damaging your vocal cords.

Your voice box is like an instrument that can produce beautiful music, but unlike an instrument, you cannot keep it in an ideal room to keep it working well for a long time. Your voice is a delicate mechanism that can wear out fast if you don't pay attention to what it needs. So, know what it takes to keep it making beautiful music for a long time.

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Questions and Answers

How do I keep my voice/vocal folds sounding great throughout the week?

I will be singing tomorrow for 30mins; Friday for a 2hr set; Saturday for 1hr; and Sunday for a 30min set. How do I prepare now, for the longevity of my voice? The two-hour sets I do on Friday's are taxing, even though I am with other singers. I have tried: Drinking water and resting.

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Categories : Voice Lessons & Tips

Recent edits by: Iesha, Dougie, Lynn

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