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Special Tips for all Performers

Submitted to Common Times by Mark Lawley, SWACDA President-Elect

The following material is provided courtesy of Amy Clift, Springfield, MO, Speech Pathologist

It is very important to remember that you are your instrument. You are a vocal athlete, and that means you need to be extra careful I how you use and take care of your voice.

  • Use good habits for hydration, managing allergies/reflux, avoiding vocal misuse/overuse.
  • Take care of your body by getting plenty of rest, exercising, and eating well.
  • Wash your hands before eating and before touching your face, mouth, nose or eyes.
  • Don't smoke! Smoke is very irritating and can cause changes in vocal fold tissue.
  • Women should be especially careful to limit vocal demands just prior to and during the menstrual cycle. The lowering of estrogen levels can result in vocal fold swelling.
  • If you think you have a voice problem, get help quickly from health care professionals with specialized training in caring for voices.

Special Tips for Singers

  • Warm up your voice before singing, and cool down your voice after singing.
  • Consider taking voice lessons to learn how to sing without hurting your voice.
  • Learn to use your speaking voice in a healthy way.
  • Know your vocal limits and stay within them (pitch, loudness, and endurance)
  • Rest your voice before and after a big singing day.
  • Pace yourself during rehearsals.
  • Stop singing before you get tired. If you feel tired, you may hve already done too much.
  • Try not to "spend" your voice on learning the music (listening rather than by singing).
  • If you sing with a band, use monitors.
  • Plan your singing schedule carefully and avoid overbooking.
  • Avoid ice-cold drinks while singing. Room temperature is better.
  • Consider getting a "baseline" evaluation of yoru voice when you are healthy. This will be helpful for comparison if you ever have a voice injury.