Keep Your Folds Clear this SummerAug 05, 2019
When it comes to being the best of the best in the music industry, staying hydrated is one of the main things you should do. As professional voice athletes, it’s especially important that you take the time to learn more about your vocal health and how the foods and drinks that you consume affect them.
Singing is both an art and a sport. If you don’t treat it as such, you can never become where you want to be. With that said, let’s grab our pencils and paper and dive into the 5 Smart Ways to Hydrate Vocal Folds.
1. Know Where Your Water Goes
As you already know, drinking plenty of water is necessary in order to maintain a healthy voice. However, did you know that the water that we swallow never actually touches our vocal cords?
According to Dr. Rachel Gates, a voice wellness expert, “Everything that we swallow lands at the base of our tongue and travels around the voice box (larynx) and down into the food pipe (esophagus) just behind!”
While it’s important to drink plenty of water, that doesn’t mean that you should literally drink 8 glasses of water a day in order to become a better singer. After all, human bodies are made up of 70% and most of the things that we consume such as fruits and soups contain water already.
To better understand how water travels throughout the body, place your finger on the front-most portion of your voice box (aka. your Adam’s Apple area for guys) and swallow.
2. Utilize a Humidifier or Vaporizer
Sweaty summers, dry winters, and high altitudes deplete your body of water and can take a toll on your vocal folds. That is why here at The Vocalist Studio, we encourage our students to utilize a humidifier or vaporizer in order to maintain their vocal health.
From there, you should also keep the air in your home (especially your bedroom) at 40% humidity and utilize a simple hygrometer, which you can purchase from a local hardware store.
Be sure to clean the tanks inside your humidifier or vaporizer with vinegar or soap and water and sanitize it with hydrogen peroxide to reduce the transfer of bacteria and mold into the air. Filters need to be changed frequently, about once a month, at least.
3. Choose Lemons Over Orange Juice
A Graphic from Robert Lunte’s Book, The Four Pillars of Singing
Other than that most orange juice brands contain a lot of sugar, orange juice produces thick phlegm inside your body. This makes it harder for your vocal folds to recover.
Meanwhile, lemons are natural mucolytics, which means that they produce plenty of thin mucus that helps you develop a natural, beautiful, singing voice.
Be careful with sucking on a lemon, however! Undiluted, a lemon’s acidity can corrode tooth enamel, which can cause a lot of problems for singing down the road.
4. Limit Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is a stimulant that causes irritability and nervousness amongst singers. It can also irritate the bladder and give us the need to urinate more often than we should.
Regardless as to what your caffeine level tolerance is, anyone can develop a diuretic effect from consuming too much caffeine.
As a serious vocal athlete, you need to drink plenty of water in order to remain stable and practice when you should. So if you can, avoid drinking coffee, black tea, green tea, white tea, soda, and energy drinks during rehearsal time.
In addition, be aware that chocolate, some medications, and even some bottled water contains caffeine!
When in doubt, be sure to purchase a really good filtered water bottle.
5. Drink More Herbal Tea
Because caffeine cannot be completely removed from something that is naturally caffeinated, “decaf” drinks contain some amount of caffeine. Depending on your tolerance, a typical “decaf” drink can have as much as 5mg to 32 mg of caffeine.
Herbal coffees and teas (e.g. mint, chamomile, hibiscus, and red “rooibos”) are caffeine-free, meaning they never had caffeine, to begin with. So if the idea of drinking plain-old water sounds boring to you, definitely give these herbal coffees and teas a try.
Also, watch out for any drinks that contain the words, “natural flavor,” on the back of the package! More often than not, the “natural flavor(s)” that are incorporated in the making of some of your favorite herbal products are too good to be true.
Hopefully, by following these 5 Smart Ways to Hydrate Vocal Folds:
- Know Where Your Water Goes
- Utilize a Humidifier or Vaporizer
- Choose Lemons Over Orange Juice
- Limit Your Caffeine Intake
- Drink More Herbal Tea
You should be able to maintain your vocal health no problem!
In the meantime, if there are any other tips that we should include on our list, let us know in the comments below!
Otherwise, be sure to pick up a copy of Robert Lunte’s “4 Pillars of Singing” in order to learn how to become a better singer. Also, make sure that you join The Vocalist Studio Group on Facebook for help from our community of singers and coaches and subscribe to The Vocalist Studio YouTube Channel for More Help and Content!
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