Your voice is one of your most important attributes. From people who use it professionally in choirs, to lecturers, to telephonists, the range of people who actively rely on their voices for their livelihoods is incredibly diverse.
Like any other part of the human body, looking after your voice is something that must be considered with appropriate emphasis. Here are our top tips for maintaining excellent voice care.
Prior to any situation when you will be required to employ your voice, be that a speech or a musical solo, make sure that you keep your body warmed up with a series of stretches. This will help to ‘wake up the breath' before you actually get round to vocalizing. It is important that you keep your spine aligned, and release your knees and pelvis as you do your exercises, following this by releasing the tongue and jaw tension.
Looking after your body
It might not seem obvious but it crucial part of looking after of voice is to ensure that the rest of your body is adequately maintained. Sleep is nature's way of ensuring that we are always at our peak condition following day. If you are going to be in any situation at all where you are going to be required to use your voice, then make sure that you do get a good eight hours the previous night.
Avoid having to speak in loud environments, such as having to shout conversations against excessive background noise. Drinking plenty fluids will also help to lubricate your vocal chords. Avoid drinks that are extremely cold, fizzy or sugary. Cans coming straight from a vending machine are often extremely cold, but their heavy gas content is not ideal for thirst-quenching, let alone keeping your voice in peak condition.
You should always have one eye on the content of certain foods. Wheat products and baby are obvious examples of foodstuffs that can cause excessive mucus production. Avoid smoking, or at least cut down if you have this habit. This is one of the singularly most destructive influences on our voices. Leading on from this, it is best to try and avoid coughing excessively, or even having to clear your throat too much. This puts a lot of strain on your vocal chords. It is far better to try and gently lengthen the back of your neck, Keep your chin level and swallow slowly.
The indications that your voice is under strain include the following:-
- Do you feel pain in your throat when you swallow or when you speak?
- First thing in the morning, do you have a sore throat that gradually disappears?
- In the evening does your voice sound tired or is there an increase in the mucus at the back of your throat?
- Are you aware of any rapid alterations in your voice pitch, or even loss of control of your voice?
- Does your voice get easily tired?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes then you will have to consider what you can do to recover your voice. Rest is certainly the best procedure. Prior to any further public speaking or musical engagements hello your vocal chords at least a day to recover. Never be attempted to self-medicate by using sweets or medications apparently aimed at reducing your throat pain as a temporary precaution. Your voice needs a proper sensory recovery.