How you speak can have a direct effect on your singing voice -says Jaime Babbitt.
Many singers spend countless hours studying vocal technique and put it to good use at rehearsals and gigs. But so many of them still feel strained, hoarse or are slow to recover.
The answer might be right under their noses. Literally. Here are 7 tips to keeping everything in perfect working order:
Use Singing Support When Speaking
Try speaking and using all the great techniques you learned from your singing lessons: proper breath support, placement, tone, relaxed jaw and body. It might feel odd at first, but you might discover that you have lots of tension when you talk – or the opposite – you get lazy.
Lose The Vocal Fry
Millenials, I’m looking at you. You know the fry, it can occur all the time or on just the final few words in a sentence. No one knows why it’s so popular. Kardashian mimicry? Trying to sound more chill or bossy? Just stop. You don’t sound sexy or authoritative. You sound like you just walked across the Sahara. Vocal frying can do damage if you keep it up!
Be Wise After A Show
It’s a bad idea to chat for hours post-gig. You’re probably not thinking about supporting your voice properly. Do yourself a favor: cool down with humming or anything voice-teacher approved. Go chat outside or in the dressing room, or collect your stuff and meet at a less noisy place. OR, go home, sleep and get together for lunch.
Bye Bye Whispering
When your voice is tired or sore, it feels so much better to whisper, right? WRONG. Whispering can actually dry out your vocal cords. Best alternative: rest your voice. Next best alternative: talk quietly. I use what I call my “Marilyn Monroe” voice – it’s light and oh so sexy!
Bye Bye Coughing
Coughing or clearing your throat can inflame an overworked voice. If you must clear your throat, try the silent kind: close your mouth, make the sound for the letter “h” like “high” and swallow. If you’re coughing a lot, try to relax your throat. As my mom would say, “Go get a lozenge” Also, HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE with room temperature beverages.
Notice How Non-Singing Work Affects You
Are you making customer service phone calls for eight hours? Serving or bartending in a noisy restaurant? Teaching or nannying? Landscaping and inhaling pollen and mold spores? Jobs such as these also require a lot of vocal care and peace and quiet whenever possible. If you have a gig the night after a workday, be mindful during the day. Do whatever you can to make it easier on yourself: leave early, wear a mask…
If You’re Angry Or Sad, Get It Out!
I saved this tip for last because it’s not talked about all that often. Once, I lost my voice because I was furious about something and keeping it inside; Hello? Mind/Body connection! I lost my voice because I didn’t stand up for myself!
That’s why I will go to my grave believing it’s crucial to be aware of how you feel and to allow those feelings to flow. Anger, frustration and sadness can trigger voice troubles just as a virus can. So speak your truth – that way you’ll easily sing your truth too!
Jaime Babbitt is an-in demand voice teacher / vocal coach, session singer and performer who started as a Musical Director for Disney Records. Believing that no two singers are alike, Jaime assesses each client, providing personalized vocal tips and techniques relevant to their specific material for real-world application. Check out her book, Working with Your Voice. Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can see more of Jaime’s articles here.