Hydration is tantamount to maintaing vocal health. One should drink at least two quarts of water per day. A singer, who expels about twice the amount of fluid as that of an average person, should drink at least four quarts of water per day.
KISS (Keep It Simple Silly) Rule - Don't forget to PP! (Pee Pale)
When one sings with a full, resonant tone for two hours per day the top three layers of the vocal fold cover are shed. These layers will usually be replaced by the body within twenty-four hours. If one sings for a longer period of time more layers will be shed, and these will be unlikely to replenish in one day's time.
Over time this has the potential to cause vocal nodules, polyps, or other vocal disorders.
KISS Rule - If you experience pain, dull aches, or hoarseness rest the voice immediately as these are signs of vocal fatigue.
If these symptoms persist seek medical care.
Singing or speaking in loud or noisy environments is potentially damaging to the voice. This is due mainly to the fact that one will overcompensate for the difficulty he/she is experiencing with hearing themselves by singing with a pressured quality, over-singing, or yelling.
KISS Rule - Do not sing in cars or planes. Instead host the best episodes of lipsync battle anyone has never seen!
Clearing the throat and coughing are two violent actions that can cause vocal trauma. The sensation of a tickle, thickness, or pain in the throat that usually precedes these activities may be caused by a number of factors including but not limited to dehydration, thickened mucus, and inflammation of the folds.
If you feel the need to clear the throat or cough do not give in to it. Instead drink water, use a "silent cough," and drink more water. If this does not work or the sensation persists seek medical attention.
KISS Rule - To produce the "silent cough" open the vocal folds (same as when one breathes in) and blow, short forceful bursts of air through the opened vocal folds. Be careful you may spew mucus on your neighbor!
Cold weather can be a real hardship for everyone, but it can pose some true dangers for singers. For the next few weeks the vocal health tips will address some ways you can combat the ill affects of winter. At this time of year one is much more likely to get ill, and most of these viral or bacterial infections cause inflammation of the vocal folds. If this occurs, and it hurts to sing ... stop! When you force yourself to sing "through the pain" you run the risk of seriously damaging your voice. Try resting the voice for a day or two then slowly reintroduce a healthy warm-up routine until the voice returns to normal.
KISS Rule: When you feel pain while singing ... STOP!
Week 2 - 4
More Cold Weather Tips
1. Hydrate & Warm Drinks - just as cold weather causes dryness in one's skin it also causes dryness in the larynx. It is, therefore, important to hydrate consistently. It may also be beneficial to drink warm drinks such as green tea or apple cider to soothe a soar or dry throat.
2. Scarves - at this time of year it is even more imperative that one keep the voice warm for speaking and singing. After completing your morning vocal warm-ups it is a good idea to wear a scarf.
3. Medication - with the cold and flu season in full swing many of us are taking surplus medications such as cough medicine both expectorants and decongestants, antihistamines, and steroids. Each of these may have adverse effects upon the voice. Make sure you discuss any medications with your doctor, and in the case of decongestants and antihistamines, both of which will dry your vocal folds, drink extra water.
KISS Rule: If you have a soar throat and/or a sinus infection it can help to gargle with warm salt water and administer a saline sinus flush. Always consult your doctor first!
Warming up the voice everyday is probably the most important vocal habit you can establish after proper hydration. Everyone, singers and non-singers alike, should warm up as speaking is harder on the voice than singing, and is often the cause of vocal trauma.
I personally suggest using Dr. Ingo Titze's Top 5 Vocal Warm Up List (http://ncvs.org/e-learning/warmup.html).
KISS Rule - Warm up every day. If you make it a part of your morning routine it will become a healthy habit.
If you have a job or vocation that requires you to speak or sing for long periods of time make sure you take short vocal "naps" throughout the day. Spending your lunch or breaks talking to friends and co-workers can continue to fatigue the voice ultimately leading to vocal stress or strain.
KISS Rule - Your voice needs naps just like your cat!