Vocal care DOs and DONTs

DO

+ Keep well hydrated 1.5-2l/day. More if energy out put increases.

+ Maintain good general health with a balanced diet.

+ Consider planning your eating to suit performance needs.

+ Maintain regular vocal practice and training.

+ Get a vocal instructor who understands how to train and exercise the voice for singing.

Morning Time+ Get adequate rest. Your vocal folds are made of muscle and need recovery time.

+ Get regular physical exercise, but don’t overdo abdominal work as it hinders correct breathing for singing.

+ Keep throat area warm in cold weather.

+ Humidify your environment if too dry e.g. in central heating.

+ Identify and use your optimum speaking pitch. Talking in a strained way will impact on your singing voice.

+Maintain a well balanced posture for singing and public speaking. Watch for slouching or jutting jaw etc.

 

DON’T

ciggie n a drink– Smoke! Duh…!

– Practice excessively – 20mins of correct practice with 5 min rest. Short and regular is more effective than long and sporadic.

– Drink caffeine, alcohol in excess, take illicit drugs and medications that dry your mouth and throat e.g. antihistamines, decongestants. Get medical advice for prescribed medications that may affect your voice e.g. Hormone replacement, some contraceptive pills, steroids, asthma puffers.

– Singing in environmental extremes if possible, e.g. dry, cold, hot, dusty places. If unavoidable use counter measures to reduce impact on the voice.

– Clear your throat or cough excessively.

shouting

– Yell, shout, scream, talk excessively.

– Talk excessively above loud noise.

– Hang around people with respiratory infections…they are evil!

– Sing or talk on a ‘sick voice’ e.g. laryngitis, sore throat (full rest if so advised)

– Ignore changes in your singing or speaking voice that last longer than 2 weeks…see a doctor or ENT specialist

WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE

If you experience symptoms of

  • More than 2 weeks of ongoing change in the quality of the voice  e.g. hoarseness, roughness, breathiness, wheezing.
  • Splitting of sound/note in speaking or through bridge area.
  • Persistent pain or discomfort that develops during speaking or singing.
  • More than 2 weeks persistent vocal fatigue (where the voice tires and fades).
  •  Persistent unexplained loss of vocal range

If you are a professional/wannabe professional performer then I highly recommend that you find a Ear Nose and Throat specialist and other medical practitioners that specialise in working with performing artists. You can sometimes get the run-a-round in the medical world, as they don’t know how to deal with singing and performing, nor do they realise the demands of the job. If fact that it is a job! We need to be dealt with in a different way to the average Joe Blow, in the same way an injured athlete needs to see a sport medicine specialist.

I suggest you do a search for “Performing Arts Medicine” (PAM) in your area. It won’t always be easy, even in London there are only a handful of PAM specialists. You can also ask around within your industry or ask a few singing teachers in your area if they have any recommended doctors and health practitioners.

 

Here are a few links to get you started:

British Association of Performing Arts Medicine

Performing Arts Medicine Association  

International Foundation for Performing Arts Medicine

Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare

German Performing Arts Medicine 

European Institute for Sports and Arts Medicine