Many singers battle phlegm on the vocal chords. An instinctual move by many of us is to clear our throats. The problem is that action of constantly clearing our throats to remove that mucus is actually very damaging to our voices. Nothing wears our your vocal chords quicker than abusing them.
When you clear your throat, you are violently smashing your vocal chords together. This causes friction and your vocal chords become enflamed. They can get swollen as blood comes to them to heal them. Imagine smacking yourself on the arm or the back repeatedly. After a while your arm or your back becomes very red, warm and sore. That mucus that forms on your vocal chords is there to protect them. However it does become a hinderance for singers.
We think that to clear our voices, clearing our throat is the way to do it. However we experience many students who suffer from vocal fatigue or even loss of voice all because they are not conscious of the fact that they are clearing their throats. Here are some steps you can take to be conscious of this tick, and also how to clear your thoat without clearing your throat.
1. Gargle with warm saline solution (salt water). Simple table salt mixed with warm (not hot) water can draw mucus up from your vocal chords. Your voice needs to be clear and moist to operate correctly. Gargling for a few minutes can help eliminate the mucus that forms on your vocal chords.
2. Drink plenty of water. This is a given. All singers need plenty of water. If you drink enough water, the mucus will thin itself out.
3. Avoid fatty foods, and acidic foods. Your voice is your instrument. If you are to maintain your instrument to be healthy, your body needs to be healthy too. When you eat fatty or acidic foods, your body finds ways to eliminate that acid. Your body uses mucus to eliminate waste from your respiratory system. If you eat highly alkaline foods, water based foods, and drink less caffeine, sugar or soft drinks, mucus will thin and the body will not have a need for it.
4. Avoid alcohol. Many singers work in night clubs and bars. The temptation to drink alcoholic beverages may be present, but it will not assist the health of your singing voice. Alcohol and substance over use can lead to missing days at work, and less money. If you are a professional singer, your singing voice is part of your livelihood. Make adjustments where you need to to maintain a healthy voice.
5. Get plenty of sleep. The recommended dosage for sleep is 8-10 hours as a full time singer. Restful, deep sleep is a must as a singer. Mentally and physically you can become drained and your singing voice will suffer if you do not get plenty of good, restful deep sleep.
At True Connected Voice we are always available for one on one training and lessons, weather via Skype or if you are in Tampa FL, Orlando FL, or any of the surrounding Central Florida areas contact us today and unlock the true potential of your singing voice.
John Kenney is a musician in Central Florida and is training to become a certified vocal instructor.