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Singer’s Toolbox, Part 1

March 14, 2008

mouth-web.jpgSingers sing.

Open your mouth and out comes sound, right?

That’s true, but the sound is produced by various parts of the body working together- from head to toe, so to speak.

My singer toolbox is rather full (and I’m still adding tools)! Therefore, I am going to take several posts to share some of the tools in my vocal toolbox. Some of these tools are used almost daily, others may be used occasionally.

Vocal Health Tools

1. Rest

  • getting enough sleep or not makes a difference in your voice
  • I rest (no singing) my voice one day a week. Usually it’s on Monday.
  • This tool is applied even more when I am dealing with a cold, sore throat or other illness
    • more rest (sleep & use of voice)
    • shortened practice times

2. Exercise -fitness

  • besides the obvious overall health benefits, exercise increases stamina, energy and even breath support – all components used in singing.

3. Nutrition

(Confession: This is one tool that all too often I overlook)

  • The voice/vocal folds are part of the body. Taking care of it includes good nutrition.
  • Nutrition supplements don’t take the place of proper nutrition, but aid in this.

4. Hydration

  • important to keep vocal folds/chords moist – ever try talking with a dry throat?
  • make sure to drink enough throughout the day (even those of us who are ‘sippers’)
  • I always have a bottle or glass of some kind of drink nearby when I am singing
  • water is best (if you drink other fluids, be aware of what you need to watch out for)
  • some fluids can actually work against you
    • milk, dairy products, syrup-y drinks – coat the throat
    • citrus drinks and caffeinated drinks can affect the throat’s lubrication

5. Warm ups -vocal

(this tool is one that I can be tempted to overlook, especially if I am short on time)

  • Notice I said tempted? I don’t skip this one. It’s one of the most important tools I have for my vocal health
  • vocal folds (formerly known as vocal chords) are small muscles – warming them up is essential

6. A timer

  • ensures that I don’t practice too long
  • proper use aids in the prevention of tiring or wearing out my voice

7. Vocal Exercises

  • remember, the vocal folds are muscle, exercise keeps in shape and can even improve various components of the voice such as:
    • breath support
    • vocal flexibility
    • vocal range
    • articulation
    • tone

Alright, I’m closing up this toolbox for now – I feel the need to get a glass of water!

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