Did you know that our voice is also considered a musical instrument? It is a very delicate instrument which, unlike a guitar, for example, you can’t replace when it breaks. Your vocal folds are irreplaceable – which is why we want to show you how to take care of them in this article.
With proper technique and a healthy lifestyle, you can take care of your voice and sound great whenever you want to sing your heart out.
But what are vocal folds? Vocal folds, also commonly known as vocal cords, are the origin of our voice. In her book “Vocal Quest” Ronja Petersen compares the vocal folds to the strings of a guitar – they vibrate as air passes through them when we speak or sing.
Just place your fingers on the front of your neck. Feel the bump? It’s called our “voice box” or larynx, also known as Adam’s Apple, and directly behind it are the vocal cords.
Stress, tension, overuse and certain foods can damage your voice and make it sound hoarse and breathy. Or they can cause you to lose it altogether.
Here are 5 tips on how to care for your singing voice
Every time you produce a sound, your vocal folds vibrate against each other. In order to do so properly, they need to be well lubricated. Just a glass of water, while you’re warming up, is not enough! Ronja Peterson, the author of the new “Quest Voice” book, recommends 6-8 glasses of water a day to keep your entire body and voice hydrated. She also suggests avoiding alcohol and caffeine, both of which have a diuretic effect – meaning they increase the amount of water and sodium that is excreted in the urine.)
- Healthy eating
There are not a lot of foods out there that actually help your voice. So knowing what to eat comes down to understanding what not to eat. Milk, cheese (dairy in general) and greasy fried food are hard to digest. They can create an upset stomach and can cause acid reflux. Dairy also tends to produce a lot of mucus, which clings to your throat, inhibiting your flexibility and making you want to clear your throat more often.
- Using your voice
To keep your singing voice health, Peterson suggests practicing healthy speaking patterns whenever you can. Yelling is bad for your voice, so don’t try and compete against loud music or crowd noise. Peterson suggests standing close to people when talking to avoid yelling. But don’t whisper either – whispering is just as bad for your voice.Stress can also affect how we use our voice. When stressed, we tend to clench our teeth and tighten our shoulders, which affects voice production.
- Taking vocal breaks
Just like with workouts, rest days are just as important when it comes to your voice. When your voice is tired, it’s prone to injury. So take a break and give your voice some TLC – especially when you’re sick or have been working your voice a lot. Your vocal cords will thank you for it.
- Warming up your voice
The most important thing is probably to always warm up your voice. You wouldn’t run a marathon without first stretching and loosening your muscles and joints, right? The same goes for your voice, never put it to the test without first warming it up. “Vocal Quest” is full of great exercises to gently and systematically warm up your voice.
With voice lessons, you’re sure to keep your voice in great shape. A good vocal coach will teach you how to sing with the correct technique – besides taking care of your vocal cords you will also learn how to engage the abdominal muscles and diaphragm to support your voice.
At Modern Music School, our vocal coaches help you to keep a healthy voice and teach you to use it and make you sound great.
Or start your own quest here:
“Vocal Quest Stage 1” by Ronja Petersen consists of 10 levels and is filled with exciting missions that will turn you into a true master of your voice.
As with all things Modern Music School, the Quest Series is about fun, not school. It’s about music not practice and more about rocking out than learning theory.