I’m writing this post in response to a student request. Andee asked that I blogged on the “7 best ways to look after your voice”… Well, in all honesty I can say that there is literally so much information on this out there in cyber land that Im going to leave what I consider to be generic answers (hydration, warming up, vitamins,) as they are already written about. Instead Im going down a more philosophical road.
I’ve titled the blog “Protect what is Special”. I’m not sure where Im heading but alas lets go!
I think we live in an age where common sense seems to have gone out of the window – the answer to just about any question is only a Google search away. for research purposes I Googled Andee’s question and for the most part the answers were all common sense stuff which everyone should do anyway (most importantly singers)! Hydrate, avoid excessive alcohol or caffeine (I admit I enjoy a little of both!), don’t clear your throat, don’t shout or whisper, exercise regularly, eat balanced foods and try to keep acidic foods to a minimum, and so on… Most of this reads like a healthy lifestyle to me.
To focus a little closer on how singers should take care of there voices, regular (and directed) vocal warm ups, quality focussed practise (not in the car on the way to a gig or lesson!), occasional check ups with an ENT, voice rest when needed (ie after excessive use or sickness), continued study with a trusted teacher, voice physio therapy including massage, physical work to improve posture and core strength like pilates. All of this should at least give you some grounding in voice care (and i think i just covered 7 ways to help your voice Andee!).
As a teacher I’ve noticed a pattern among singers, and in particular those who sing contemporary music (anything other than classical really!) Most who walk in for a first lesson have never had any training before, and I’m talking about adults who may be working as professional vocalist or even just well established amateur singers. By the time they come to see me they are usually struggling with some aspect of their singing and may be coming to see me as a last resort. This is so sad and reminiscent of myself, investing very little into training my voice as a young singer, until it was almost too late.
So I think we know where Im heading here – “Protect What is Special” – If your singing voice is important to you, whether its your profession or hobby you must VALUE it enough to invest time and effort into developing great health practices and voice training. Enlist the help of quality health practitioners, and a well connected singing teacher to be certain that you are covering your voice from a wholistic perspective. No one teacher or health professional can have all the answers. Ultimately what we value most in our lives does have a cost – be it time, money or effort. As a contemporary vocalist you must respect yourself enough to understand that you are a vocal athlete and athletes must protect their talents and invest in them. If you take the time to train, study, and look after yourself physically you have a greater chance to optimise your talent and maintain longevity.
So, to summarise my advice to Andee (and you) – Love your voice and protect what is special!