I wrote this blog originally for people in the metal scenes who were focused on growling or screaming and debating terrible techniques but more and more as I practice and work on singing and music I notice many great up and coming singers in various fields who abuse their vocal chords.
This isn't uncommon in the music industry as there is a long list of famous singers including Adele, Miriah, Sam Smith and many other vocal icons who have damaged their voice and had to retrain after either never training professionally or taking bad advice. Almost all of them make a greater comback than ever which goes to show why vocal health is key to longevity in music.
I know how damaging taking the wrong advice can be because I spent a year before I could even begin my professional training fixing the damage to my vocal chords and bad techniques. A friend of mine who went through the same bad coach will most likely never really sing again. I also worked for a year speaking everyday non-stop for 8 hours. It was gruelling and I don't miss my husky vocal chords.
I've worked with several coaches and have finished a degree in vocal performance and musical theory and composition so for any youngsters out there, I'm starting this mini series of basics to get you singing without damaging or losing your irreplaceable instrument. Today we focus on our bodies and busting a few myths about singing.
First and foremost before you even use your voice, make sure you are doing things right for your entire body. Get enough sleep, exercise everyday, drink plenty water, take all the right vitamins (zinc is a great extra in winter), eat less fatty foods and eat less red meat and you're on your way to a great start. There's no shame in loving your talent enough to take care of it properly.
Then it's on to breathing techniques and a good warm-up (I'll get to this in a future post).
Secondly, I don't know who started this myth but drinking alcohol is NOT an alternative to warming-up nor is it actually good for your voice while singing. The alcohol numbs the vocal chords which means that if you're using bad techniques - you're just not going to feel the damage being done until its too late.
Feeling any pain while singing is bad. Your voice is like a muscle and even super athletes are tired after running a marathon but fatigue and pain are very different. You know your body best and if you feel pain while singing or afterwards - stop.
Milk and dairy won't hurt - much. It's not that they make it hard to sing themselves but any really acidic or alkaline beverages before or while you sing create mucus which makes performing more difficult than it should be. Simple glass of water at room temperature is a great alternative.
And finally, a great honey-lemon drink recipe for vocals after singing sessions and in cold weather. Drink this and you will not only soothe the throat but fight off infection.
Stir and cosume before it gets cold.
These are basics to remember before you even start your warm-ups. If you like these posts, I'll be covering things like breathing, singing with correct posture and placement, sreaming and growling without the pain, microphones & microphone technique and so on.
Let me know what your best tip/trick is for singing in the comments. I hope that this series will help a few people who are looking to get started.