I decided to write this article because I have read an abundance of articles that give really vague and meaningless advice to singers in regards to vocal health. After years of voice lessons, you probably already knew that “drinking water” will help your voice. I wanted to offer more than that. These tips are ones that I use and live by. It’s a hard business to thrive in, however, your vocal health shouldn’t be your main issue!
1. Thieves Oil.
I have never been an advocate for anything like I am for Thieves Oil. If you don’t know the history behind it, then buckle up. This powerful blend of essential oils was used to ward off the plague in its early days. It is by far the MOST powerful sickness prevention on the market. I use it twice a day by applying it to my feet. It has single handedly changed my well being and kept me cold and virus free through all my travels and performing. The best added bonus? It smells like Christmas.
2. Oil Pulling.
This was an interesting practice that I discovered a couple years ago. It was actually used by the ancient Egyptians for oral care. Here is the gist of it. You take a tablespoon of cold pressed organic coconut oil (The kind that actually SMELLS like coconuts) and you swish it in your mouth for 10-20 minutes when you first wake up. After you have swished it, and it has pulled the bacteria from your mouth, spit it in the trash. Use mouthwash afterwards, and then brush your teeth. Your voice will feel like new. There have been many days that I have woken up completely haggard from rocking out the night before, and after I oil pull, I feel WONDERFUL!
I don’t do this EVERY single day, but any time I’m feeling particularly run down, it is a must. Also, it’s great for maintaining your pearly whites.
I know that not everyone likes to go running. However, there is a direct relationship between how active I am and how well I can control my breath throughout a night of singing. Also, on days that I have run, I feel particularly warmed up, because I have been utilizing my breath already. So, when I dive into my vocal warm up, it’s not like starting a car on a winter’s day. Your entire body is your instrument! If you don’t have the time to go for a quick run, or have a health condition that prevents this, start your vocal warm up by breathing through a straw. This will help your endurance, especially if you plan on belting it out.
4. Reading Aloud.
Okay, this one is probably the weirdest one that I do, but I swear it works! Sometimes you have to go to a gig, but you haven’t been talking much that day, and you’re feeling vocally cold. A good way to work into your warmup, is to pick up a book and read it out loud. It gets you warmed up, because you need breath support to speak in full sentences. Also, it helps you check in with how your mid voice is feeling that day. Remember to speak in a very supported way, and not drag your voice over the words. It’s meant to warm you up, not tire you out. It has also been a help to get my brain in order so I can speak coherently to a crowd. Try not to feel self conscious about doing this exercise. I swear, you’ll get a lot of benefit out of this one! Usually as a performer, you have to speak as well as sing. So it’s really killing two birds with one stone.
What are some unique ways you take care of your voice? I'd love to hear them!