Improving your voice requires a significant devotion to proper nutrition, vocal care and a daily practice routine. Singers have to make sacrifices that the average non-singer does not need to make. Taking care of and developing your vocal cords will be a sufficient reward for your sacrifices. Since you cannot trade in your voice for a new one, you must learn the proper methods of caring for and maintaining your voice to avoid developing a dull, thin and raspy sound.
Limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine, especially within 12 hours of a performance. Drinking alcohol and caffeine products will severely dry out your vocal cords, and may result in damage to your voice.
Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. One of the biggest problems for singers involves dehydration and drying out of the vocal cords.
Avoid clearing your throat, and try not to cough when you're sick. Both of these activities grind your vocal cords together, causing further irritation. Instead, drink plenty of water and blow your nose often to avoid damaging your vocal cords.
Schedule a mandatory silent day each week in which you do not speak, sing or make any vocal sounds. This will allow your vocal cords time to heal and repair themselves from your daily practice routine.
Sleep with a humidifier in your room. This will help to ensure that your vocal cords get the moisture they need.
Breathe from your diaphragm and ensure that you fill your lungs completely with air. You should feel your stomach and sides expand when breathing correctly.
Warm up your voice before every practice session. Start with warm tea to help warm up the vocal cords. Add honey to the tea to lubricate the vocal cords and protect them during singing.
Buzz a five-note scale starting on middle C, unless you are a bass. If you are a bass, start a fifth lower than middle C. Middle C provides a comfortable starting point for most singers. Ascend and descend the entire five-note scale. Use a piano to ensure that you are singing the correct pitches.
Sing long-tones by holding out a pitch for four beats to improve the reliability and stability of your voice. Practice singing scales and holding each pitch of the scale at a medium volume to improve your tone.
Tips & Warnings
- Avoid screaming and yelling whenever possible. Screaming is hard on your vocal cords and can cause damage if your vocal cords are already exhausted from singing.
- Do not sing when you are sick.
- Avoid trying to do too much, too soon. A beginning singer should sing no more than 30 minutes per day. An intermediate singer can sing up to an hour. Advanced singers can sing between one and two hours. Professionals may sing three to five hours per day.