Vocal Health - The Ultimate Foundation!
Most singers are aware of the need for good vocal health, yet for some people it is still not a priority. It seems like one of those things you should do, but is not immediately going to show up in your voice in most cases. The reality is a singer will not know how much they need their vocal health until they lose it!
Since a singer is both the musical instrument and the one performing it, vocal health is crucial for long term success. Here are the important elements of vocal health that every singer needs:
To some the idea of technique is a dirty word that means lifeless and lacking expression. That is simply not what real technique is. Technique is simply efficiency of voice use. Technique is the foundation of a healthy voice! Technique is building a healthier and freer instrument. I have never seen a guitarist argue that a higher quality guitar making process, makes for a less expressive use of guitar - so why would that be the case for the voice. A singer should work daily on building better vocal technique!
Because the whole body needs water for survival, the voice is very low on the bodies priority list of things to receive water. Drinking water across the day is ideal for a singer. The amount you drink a day is really dependant on your climate, body size and food choices, but i would suggest 2-3 litres over an entire day as a good start for most people. If your pee is clear, that is a sign you’re well hydrated.
Food 'You are what you eat' is a phrase you have likely heard! It's absolutely true in the sense if your body literally uses the food you eat for energy and to replenish cells! Eating foods rich in nutrition like vegetables, nuts/seeds, meats, fruit and herbs will help you become healthier which means your voice will be healthier! A great habit to get into when eating is to think 'will this energise my body or voice? '
Physical fitness is a huge asset for a singer. Lack of fitness increases body fatigue issues which can negatively affect vocal stamina and quality! Things like walking, swimming, jogging and cycling are fantastic ways to build up fitness levels.
Weight training is also great for singers however singers do need to be careful they are lifting without heavy grunting as this can put wear on the voice. It's best to avoid over developing the core muscles especially the abdominals. Muscular strength and definition is good you just don't want a core that is so chronically tight you lose flexibility!
Flexible strength is the key!
Proactive Mindset I don't believe in positive thinking as much as I believe in proactive thinking! I believe a singer should strive to be constantly proactive in their thinking and actions which means a lean towards being positive but embracing the negative and learning from it. The mind can have huge impacts on the voice through stress and anxiety. Unconscious beliefs about your singing and potential can hold you back! If you look at the highest levels of athletic performance as an example often it's the mindset training that sets the best apart from the good as the physical differences in performers become less noticeable . Personally I like tools like 'meditation' and 'eft tapping' to reduce stress and increase focus and mental energy! Find things that work for you to increase your focus,mental energy and resilience. Vocal health truly needs a whole approach to ensure you have the best possible instrument for your performances!