Avoid getting hoarse when singing for a long time

Edited by Ian Gabriel T. Tolledo, Lynn, Eng, Joely and 4 others

So you've been singing for a long time. You wouldn't be here if you weren't a singer. Singing for a long periods of time, practicing, gigging - all take a toll on your throat, often causing your voice to sound harsh, low, and unattractive, not to mention the irritation that comes with it. This article will discuss how you can avoid getting hoarse when you've over-used your singing voice.



  1. 1
    Warm Up
    A good racer never runs without first making sure that all the joints are warmed up and well oiled. The same is true for singers. You must warm up, especially if you're going to be singing for an extended period of time. Below are some exercises to help you avoid getting hoarse over-using your voice.
    1. Lolly loll. Imagine a Lollipop, better yet an ice cream, in front of you, and imagine that it's a flavor you really love. Stick out your tongue and move it to and fro in rapid succession. This gives you greater flexibility, exercises your vocal cords and reduces stress on your throat. Do this for a minute, at most.
    2. Do stretches. Stretch your body the same way you do when preparing for a run or a workout at the gym. Overall bodily comfort will help you sing better, not to mention put less stress on your throat.
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  2. 2
    Know your limit
    It's very important in every area of your life, that you know how much you can do, and when to stop. If you don't quit when you should, you'll end up having your voice crack in the middle of your performance. More often than not, singers, especially professional ones, get hoarse because they don't take proper care of their voice. Do not exceed your vocal limitation. To discover your vocal range, simply sing the Do-re-mi in succeeding notes, starting from the lowest not you can reach; gradually increasing the pitch until you reach the highest note you can reach. Once you notice your throat tensing up, or straining - accompanied by discomfort or pain, you've reached your limit. Don't strain to sing lower or higher than you can comfortably sing, or you will risk having a hoarse voice after long periods of singing.
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  3. 3
    Breathe properly
    While normal breathing involves shallow inhalation and exhalation accompanied with a short pause before another cycle, the breathing involved with singing is altogether different.  
    1. Breathe in deeply through your nose. Breathing in through your mouth can cause your throat to dry up. To breathe deeply, fill your diaphragm with air, before filling your lungs. Miss these steps and you will risk straining your throat (again) and cause hoarseness.
    2. Breathing in the above manner allows for greater breath control, which you need for singing long phrases, and to avoid becoming hoarse. Although it would seem otherwise, controlled breathing is not something our body does automatically. You need to train your lungs to do this.
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  4. 4
    Avoid certain drinks
    Some drinks can contribute to making your voice hoarse during a long performance. Have you seen a singer gulp a beverage other than water during performance? No. So take that into consideration, and drink only water when you have to sing for a long time. Other refreshments will turn your singing voice hoarse in no time, so stay away from soda, coffee, milk, chocolate, alcohol, etc.
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  5. 5
    Stay healthy, the right way
    The above instructions will work best if you lead a healthy and engaging lifestyle. Eat lots of fruits rich in vitamin C (oranges and other citrus, apples, etc.) to lubricate your throat. Drink plenty of water, limit your alcohol intake and smoking, take long walks and exercise. You may feel all this is unnecessary, but it actually with help to give you the best singing voice possible.
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Tips Tricks & Warnings

  • Hydrate your body. Drink fluids, as dry vocal folds in your throat will cause a hoarse voice.
  • Sleep well. One of the worst things for singers is lack of proper sleep.
  • Allergens can also hamper your singing prowess. They can irritate your throat and result in swelling and irritation.
  • DO NOT sing when you're sick. It's best you rest your body, and your throat with while you are ill...but a little tune here and there won't hurt.
  • Avoid clearing your throat as this irritates your throat. Simply swallow if possible.
  • Fatigue and stress are other factors that can cause hoarse voice. Keep your spirits up and you'll sing well.
  • Most medications cause dryness in the mouth, which affects both the speaking voice, and the singing voice. To avoid this, drink twice as much water as you normally would. There are medications available to combat this.

Questions and Answers

Does milk make your singing voice worse?

Yes, milk, ice cream and other dairy products are considered bad for the voice and may cause the voice to sound bad. These foods cause the excessive production of mucus and can cause singers to battle mucus and phlegm while singing.

Even though they are not beneficial, these foods will not cause a permanent damage to the voice. They will, however, restrict the voice when singing. Milk and other dairy products will create a thick layer of phlegm that will cause irritation to the throat and make singing uncomfortable, and at the same time, sound unpleasant.

Drinking water is a better alternative than any other drink for getting your voice into the best shape before a live performance or a recording.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


Article Info

Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Nuance, Jmgf, Olivia

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