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Great singing requires healthy vocal cords. Whether you’re a professional artist or an amateur chorister, fatigued vocal cords compromise your sound and can lead to injury and the development of nodes.
Follow these tips to keep your instrument working at its best:
Make sure you warm up
Too many singers jump right into their music without proper preparation. In order for the vocal cords to have the elasticity and relaxation they require, develop a routine of vocal exercises. Start warm-ups with humming and open “ah” and “oh” sounds that help your vocal cords, jaw, tongue, and neck relax. Begin in a comfortable range and gradually extend to higher pitches using scales and intervals. These exercises will not only prepare you for a performance, but will also strengthen your voice and improve articulation.
Concentrate on your breathing
Singing is produced as air passes over the vocal cords, causing them to vibrate and produce pitch. Airflow also supports your volume. The throat should stay open and the vocal cords relaxed while the air does the work. The lungs expand down and out as you breath in, and then the diaphragm pushes the air out across the vocal cords. A telltale sign of improper breathing is the rise and fall of your shoulders. Poor airflow leads to producing your sound from the throat, straining the voice and potentially causing injury. Use proper breathing techniques when singing or speaking.
Keep your vocal cords healthy
Avoid anything that will dry out your voice, like caffeine, alcohol, smoking, or antihistamines. In dry air use a humidifier. Drink plenty of water. Warm, decaffeinated tea with lemon soothes a tired voice. Give your voice and body plenty of time to rest and recover. If you are having trouble keeping your vocal cords healthy, consider working with a professional vocal coach who will give you exercises and strategies to get the best out of your voice and keep you singing.