Breathing Life Into Songs

  • Diet What we eat or drink before we sing can affect our vocal performance levels. To improve our performance quality, we must avoid a few foods and beverages at least 2 hours prior. Food or mucus can obstruct our throat and irritate it. Eat something light and sensible at least a few hours before you sing to provide a solid and rich tone to the voice; singing on an empty stomach can be uncomfortable, affecting the quality of the vocal tones, pitch and sense of well-being. Maintain a healthy body and mind to give you the best possible performance result.
  • Physical Fitness A singer needs muscle strength for breath capacity and stamina. Practice floor exercises or take up Tai Chi or Pilates. Extensive weight lifting can put strain on your vocal cords, and should be avoided. Mastering relaxation techniques will assist you when performing. Muscles, including the larynx, tighten when we are stressed.
  • Colds and Flu Wash your hands frequently to avoid colds. Taking small amounts of vitamin C on a daily basis can help. If you feel fatigued, especially vocally, take some zinc. I recommend 2 x zinc and 1 x B12 twice daily to assist the immune system. If your throat is itchy or scratchy, try a mild throat lozenge or throat gargle.
  • Artificial Climates Air conditioning and heating systems can cause many vocal problems. Air conditioning tends to make singers with dust allergies miserable; it also alters the humidity level of the room, which may wreak havoc on your voice. Heating systems suck moisture out of the air. On the other hand, singers with certain allergies can find relief in an air-conditioned room. If you must have an artificially cooled or heated room, be sure to drink extra water.
  • Allergies See a doctor or allergy specialist to find a treatment that helps you. At the very least, you may be able to find out what you're allergic to so you can avoid it in the future. Many singers just have to learn to "sing through" their allergies. If you suffer from allergy-like symptoms all year round, a doctor may tell you that the symptoms are due to the structure of your sinuses, and that little or nothing can be done to prevent the problem. Surgery on the sinuses is not usually an option for singers, since altering the sinus area can alter the voice dramatically.
  • Which foods should I avoid? Dairy products such as cheese, milk, custard, cream, ice cream, butter, yoghurt or chocolate creates mucus, which will coat the larynx (voice box) and affect its functions. Crunchy biscuits, chips or nuts, and dry or brittle foods can obstruct the throat.
  • hat beverages should I drink? Most drinks are fine, other than alcohol; it dries the lining of the throat and we falsely think we have quenched our thirst. Room temperature water is the preferred, since it re-hydrates the larynx (voice box) keeps it lubricated and clean.