There are five rules every vocalist should follow, especially vocalists who fall under “vocalist” more than they do “singer.” These rules will help keep your vocal chords healthy from the start of your performance to your final bow. Follow them or risk needing to quit your set early (and really piss off the band).
1. Drink tons of water
Everyone should be drinking tons of water anyhow, but singers shouldn’t mess around. Water nourishes your vocal chords and keeps them flexible, not unlike the oil in an engine. If you’re playing in a dry atmosphere or lost a bunch of fluids through sweat in the van trip to your show, don’t be surprised if you have a hard time hitting certain notes during song three or four. You should be the best-hydrated person in your performance group.
2. Exercise your voice
Ever hear someone sing that goofy, “Me, me, me ME me, me, meeeee” scale? That’s someone who knows exactly what they’re doing.
You don’t necessarily need to do classical scales like an opera singer, but you should at least be singing in your usual range all over the scales at a healthy volume.
Sing from your diaphragm (from your upper gut just below the lungs) and sing loudly without causing yourself the least pain. Do it standing with ridiculously straight posture. It should feel like squeezing your abs upward, like squeezing a tube of toothpaste in your fist so it comes out the top. That’s basically what you’re doing, but with air.
The more you sing, the better a singer you will be. Check your pitch and tone against singers you want to emulate in one way or another. Mimic them as perfectly as you can, then throw your own style on top of that when performing your own music.
3. Don’t strain your chords!
If a guitarist plays too hard on her strings, they break.
If a singer plays too hard on his chords, they crack and eventually go out.
If you do this enough, you can scar your chords permanently, changing your voice forever. It’s not usually a good change.
And anyhow, if you practice this way so that your voice is going out on the regular, you can expect it to go out during a performance sooner or later, and that’s just unprofessional. Stop that.
4. Don’t use throat sprays
They don’t work. You shouldn’t need them, anyhow.
5. Learn to skip the foods which hurt your singing
Everything which dehydrates you is bad for singing. Acidic drinks and foods are also bad for singing. Basically, anything you shouldn’t eat or drink with a sore throat is to be avoided before a practice, performance, or recording date.
Dairy is the devil. If you drink a glass of milk and then walk onstage, you’ll be shocked at how affected your voice becomes. Ditto cheese. Pizza may be the traditional garage-band practice food, but it’s hell on your singer.
Cold drinks cause your vocal chords to become brittle and constrained, too. Don’t drink them onstage, no matter how hot the spotlights are.
And that’s it! Don’t miss last week’s news on what AI can’t do in music in 2018. We’re always digging up something interesting for musicians here at MondoDIY.
Thanks for reading! Now knock ’em dead.