4 Tips to Help Protect Your Voice
Everyone who sings professionally knows how important it is to protect your voice from weather, sickness and yourself. Here's four tips that I have personally been successful.
1. Do not Eat for 2 Hours Before You Perform – I'm sure, to many people, this resemblances the myth their Mothers told them about eating before you go swimming. However, this does hold merit in this situation. Your body has to use a lot of blood to digest food, so it's best to eat a very small meal about 2 hours before a performance. Plus the whole overly full, sick feeling is not fun under hot lights.
2. Do not Eat Dairy The Day of a Performance – A lot of people say never eat if you're singing. However, in my personal experience, I find this to be false. Eating or drinking dairy the day of a performance coats your throat and causes excess mucous to build up. Although this makes it very difficult to sing, I find it useful at times. Although you should never do this the day of the performance, if you just had 3-5 gigs in a row, projecting at the top of your lungs through a weak PA or over a band that is too loud, then this can be very helpful . Yogurt and sometimes milk seems to coat and actually soothe the throat on off days. If you have problems with acid indigestion, I suggest staying away from Milk most of the time, however Yogurt actually helps.
3. SING FROM YOUR DIAPHRAGM – I can NOT state this enough. Sure, people like Axl Rose and Robert Plant do not sing from their diaphragms, but they have paid dearly for it. If you must sound like that, then there are ways to mimic the sound without actually straining your voice. There are plenty of video lessons on YouTube that properly display how to use your diaphragm. Singing from your diaphragm is NOT pushing your stomach, using the back of your throat or tensing up your whole body. Singing should FEEL relaxed, no matter how strained it sounds. If it's not, you're doing something wrong, and you could severely damage your vocal cords.
4. Warm Up – If you do not know scales, learn them. If you do not know where to start, get a teacher or look up video lessons on YouTube. There are plenty of great teachers on YouTube (Eric Arceneaux is my personal favorite) who are kind enough to give away their services for free. After you have learned a basic major scale, practice it in every key, and warm up with it before every performance. Likewise, warm down afterward.