Vocal Tips

written by Susan Anders ~ vocal instructor

The Complete Idiots Guide to Singing, p 198

• Do drink plenty of water
• Don’t drink alcohol in excess and don’t drink at all when you’re on stage or in the studio
• Do drink warm herbal teas
• Don’t drink any tea coffee or soft drink that contains caffeine
• Do eat a balanced diet low in sugar and low in dairy products
• Don’t do drugs – period
• Do practice yoga or similar exercises
• Don’t forget to keep your head warm in cold weather. Consider wearing earmuffs of putting
cotton in your ears when you go out extremely windy or cold conditions
• Do make cardiovascular exercise a regular part of your daily routine
• Don’t take over-the-counter cold sinus or allergy medications without first consulting your
doctor. Especially avoid multi symptom medications, and nasal sprays which can be addictive.
When you have a cold or the flu, pure decongestants like pseudo ephedrine work well.
• Do buy a portable steamer with a face mask and use it for 20 minutes before you appear
onstage or in the studio
• Don’t smoke, and avoid smoky rooms. This includes all types of smoke, including fireplace
• Do you rest your voice regularly, especially if you sing aggressively as a guide, take one day off
for every three days of performing or two days off for every five days of performing
• Don’t talk too much. It wears down your vocal cords. The same goes for talking too loud or
screaming at sporting events
• Do try to cough quietly if you have to cough. Take a deep breath and use your diaphragm, not
your larynx to expel the needed mucous.
• Don’t hang out in dusty environments, if you can avoid it.
• Do place a warm, wet towel around your neck after a performance and don’t speak for 10
minutes afterwards
• Don’t try to sing higher or lower than is comfortable
• Do gargle with warm water containing half a teaspoon each of salt and baking soda
• Don’t sing if it hurts or if it hurts to swallow
• Do get plenty of rest, especially the night before performance
• Don’t use lemon and whiskey on your voice. The acidity is too great for your vocal chords, and
the alcohol dries out the vocal folds. Instead, try adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and
a bit of honey to a large glass of water.
The Complete Idiots Guide to Singing, p 198


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