Have you ever wondered why some days your singing sounds better than others? Maybe one day you feel complete vocal freedom, but then you wake up the next day and you can hardly carry a tune in a bucket.
Unfortunately for us singers, our instrument is ever-changing and can be negatively altered by outside sources. We literally can have a different sound from one day to the next due to different vocal circumstances. That being said, below I’m including a list of what not to do to help you stay in the best vocal health possible.
1. Sleep Deprivation = Bad Singing
I learned this the hard way. Freshman year of college I hardly ever got 8 hours of sleep… honestly, I was probably averaging 5 to 6hr/night. I also didn’t progress at all vocally my freshman year. My lack of sleep not only led to a lack of focus, but also swollen vocal cords that made my voice feel very heavy.
The following year I forced myself to get 8 hours of sleep every night, regardless of petty things such as homework (;p). This made all the difference in the world for my voice, helping put me in the best position where I could continue to grow. The moral of the story – get your 8 hours of sleep each night.
2. Screaming is our #1 Vocal Enemy
No, I’m not picking on the rocker’s reading here. There’s actually a legitimate way to produce that epic growling sound you’re looking for (though probably less than 0.1% of all vocal teachers could help you get there). No, what I’m actually referring to is over using your voice.
Lets face it, we all over use our voices sometimes. Whether it’s cheering at a high school basketball game or a college football game, talking over a band at a bar, screaming at a sibling, or maybe yelling at the dog when it’s done it’s business inside. Whatever your reason, if you scream enough you’re singing voice is going to have some major issues.
Now, I can give you tons of advice as to what to do instead of over using your voice, but in the interest of time I’ll give the you simplest answer I possibly can. Don’t Do It!
3. Don’t Sleep with Your Fan Blowing on You
I’ve known people who can get away with this one, but whenever I sleep with a fan blowing on me I always wake up with a scratchiness in my voice that lasts most of the day. If you do this and you consistently have issues with your voice, try turning off the fan and sleeping with less covers.
4. Caffeine and Alcohol Cause Dehydration & Kills the Voice.
Yes, I love Dr.Pepper. And honestly, I drink it way more than I should. This is bad because too much caffeine and/or alcohol can dehydrate the voice, causing your folds to feel very dry and scratchy. It’s not a fun feeling, nor does it make relaxing while you sing easy.
That being said, I will not tell you to stop drinking caffeine or alcohol, but what I will suggest is that you get in the habit of drinking water regularly. I’d suggest no less than one glass of water per other beverage you drink. If you do this, you’ll at least help balance the hydration issue making it less likely for you to get dehydrated cords.
5. Don’t Have Allergies :p
Don’t you wish it were that easy?! Well, of course the reality is that many of us do have allergies and it’s a real issue that we deal with on a seasonal basis. To fix this, many will take allergy medication (aka dehydrators) and others will battle this inconvenience with sheer will power.
While I don’t have a solution for allergies, I will say that water does tend to help those who are suffering from them, whether you’re on medication or not. If you don’t like water, try adding small amounts of flavor to it like lemon or a powdered mix that’ll help make it more palatable.