Singers - Best "stuff" for your voice?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by doc, May 24, 2011.

  1. doc

    doc Member

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    I've heard a number of nostrums touted for helping keep your voice in good condition - the most obvious and universally recognized are avoiding smoking and drinking plenty of fluids.

    There are quite a few other remedies for problems and tonics to keep your voice in form that are also available. Most are likely useless snake oil, but some I'm sure do help. I've read a number of testimonials to the use of Throat Coat herbal tea, for example. What have you tried that really helps?
     
  2. ontariomaximus

    ontariomaximus Member

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    1. Keep well hydrated, water or green tea
    2. Learn to sing correctly

    If you treat your voice like an instrument, singing is not really tougher than talking. On Friday, even with a little strepthroat I was able to sing 40 songs during my acoustic gig
     
  3. Bobby D

    Bobby D Member

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    "singers saving grace" throat spray - you can find it it at most health food stores.

    the new Halls "triple soothing action" drops - in the dark blue wrapper.

    lots of rest and NOT talking much during the day.
     
  4. terrapin

    terrapin Member

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    I am both a singer and a Speech/Language Pathologist who treats the professional voice.

    Prior to looking at supplements/liquids.. it is vital to analyze you yocal technique and corect any misuse/abuse issues. I am referring to breathing, voice onset, resonance focus, staying within your optimal pitch range... These things can easily be assessed and treated as needed by a trained voice therapist or voice coach. I emphasize WELL TRAINED.

    That same person can discuss the other stuff (hydration, supplements, things to avoid...) with you.


    Hydration is huge. Avoid alcohol (woops), smoke, dark colas, citric acid. Lozenges that contain glycerine are very good prior to and during breaks from performance.

    if you have concerns, experience hoarseness, voice loss, discomfort, sensations of the presence of "something" in your throat, excessive throat clearing... then see a professional.
     
  5. doc

    doc Member

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    Thanks for the input so far. Terrapin, sounds like "you da man" to help with this question. I'm working with a voice coach who is classically trained and seems to know her stuff, but I'm not able to get together with her for lessons on a regular basis due to my schedule. I think I'm making progress on most of the areas you mention (although I'm probably pushing the top of the range a little too far too fast).

    I've got a big (to me) gig coming up in two weeks, and I've been having occasional mild cough and extremely mild horseness despite trying to stay well hydrated and avoid the things already mentioned. I think some of it is just seasonal allergies (which I can treat to some degree), but I'd like to add anything else I can to stack the deck. Also, one of my backup singers just got an upper respiratory infection and sounds like she's been using sandpaper on her throat.

    So, hit us with your secrets - if theres nothing wrong technically or physically, do you have anything else you recommend that really works?

    Black licorice? Bee propilus? Rolfing?
     
  6. terrapin

    terrapin Member

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    Based on your current situation I would recommend voice rest pending the gig. Even MORE hydration and STAY AWAY from that backup singer.

    Non-caffiene teas (herbal).

    Watch out for too much use of your voice out of range unless you have been trained well in use of falsetto.

    Good Luck..........


     
  7. PAF

    PAF Member

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    warming up *and down* is huge
     
  8. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    I'm no pro but I think the voice is just like any other muscle or group of muscles that need to be conditioned to perform....so I think practice and strengthening is big. I do think there is a right and wrong way to do that. I don't know what that is. When I have gigs coming, I just sing as much as possible and try not to push too hard.
     
  9. ksandvik

    ksandvik Member

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  10. doc

    doc Member

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    I just recently got a copy of that book, which is part of the reason I posted this question. After reading through it I've decided (based on the fact that my general medical knowledge almost certainly surpasses Mr. Baxter's) that although some of what he proposes has some factual basis and gives some actual results, at least a significant percentage is based purely on anecdotal and "worldview" evidence. I'm more of a peer-reviewed study kinda guy. I'm definitely a better speller.

    I drink lots of water, I don't eat dairy the day I'm gonna sing, I do the best I can to exercise and sleep (although fitting that in is tough), I drink alcohol sparingly, and I don't smoke or do drugs. I do have a caffeine habit that I can't seem to kick - its more of a "need to be conscious for work" type problem.

    Just looking for a couple of tools to add to the arsenal based on popular acclaim. If I wanted a 20ish watt amp for "playin the blooze" I could post and probably see the same amp mentioned several times by different people. I'd probably check that amp out for myself. Same here, just "tricks to get your voice in shape".
     
  11. freekbird

    freekbird Member

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    So what you guys are saying is my diet of almost exclusively foods covered in buffalo sauce, with caffeine or alcohol to wash it down is bad?

    And the fact that I work 50 hours a week talking non-stop and then sing 3 4 hour gigs per week featuring everything from Led Zeppelin to Joe Cocker to Thorogood while having absolutely no idea what I'm doing is bad?

    Lol its funny, my dad often tells me he's worried I'm gonna blow out my voice and I should take care of it....I just tell him "That aint rock n roll"

    Yes I know I'm retarded, but I figure I'm gonna give it my all while I've got it and then fizzle out...after all, when I start to lose my voice a shot of Jager makes it good to go again : )
     
  12. Teleking

    Teleking Supporting Member

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    I think I'm the only vocalist alive who actually does better with alcohol than without. The alcohol has to be minimal, but my voice is stronger with it than without it. I've tested the theory at great length. Again, it has to be minimal. Maybe 4 beers throughout the night.
     
  13. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Supporting Member

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    Biggest thing for me is to make sure the monitors can get a strong audible level without causing mic feedback. If I'm trying to force my acoustic voice to my ears to compensate for the monitor being drowned out, I will make myself lose my voice. Also, drinking hot liquids with just a bit of hot pepper in it soothes my throat.
     
  14. uitar99

    uitar99 Member

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    Good point-you gotta be able to hear yourself, lotsa water, green tea and honey if you can get it atta gig-stayin in your range, sing the scales a few times in your range before you start, even when your loading in
     
  15. PosterBoy

    PosterBoy Member

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    A neti pot for any mucus related problems and when you feel a cold coming.
     
  16. sws1

    sws1 Member

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    Me thinks Sammy Hagar doesn't give his voice a rest at all. I bet that guy talks all day long.
     
  17. oldtelefart

    oldtelefart Member

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    Whiskey and cigarettes..............
     
  18. DonaldDemon

    DonaldDemon Member

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    Smoking actually has less effect than you would think, unless you are burning through 2 packs+ a day. Hell Aretha Franklin smoked and does her voice sound bad to you? I recently quit and I can't say I notice much of a difference.

    My vocal coach has told me that eating hydrating foods like cucumbers will keep you hydrated longer than drinking tons of water that you piss out anyway.

    Other than that I like green tea with a good amount of honey. No dairy, chocolate, caffine, hard booze, wine. My coach actually recommended a few beers to loosen up the chords and relieve tension.
     
  19. Ephi82

    Ephi82 Member

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    Best stuff?

    Being able to hear myself. If I can't, I dont sing. Simple
     
  20. bigeric

    bigeric Supporting Member

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    Just finished a 5 night a week gig in a cigar bar. Sang all night long. 4 sets. Duo gig. Guitar and bass. We split the singing. Also did quite a few afternoon gigs at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. I would say for me the most important factor for my chops is sleep. My 3 dogs insisted on waking me up around 7-8 AM. I went to sleep at 1:30AM. any less than 6 hours sleep was a problem. Also not over singing helps. Daily exercise helps too. Singing a lot also toughens up the vocal chords.
    If you sing once a week you really need to practice. Mic technique is also very important. And no screaming. I realize some singers do scream so do e=what ya gotta do.
     

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