Like other physical activities, singing should involve healthy rituals to maintain optimal performance. But, we often think that to make great strides in any activity, we need to devote a significant amount of time and energy to it. However, the reality is that it’s not always about the intensity or the quantity of time, but rather the consistency and the quality of the work we put in.
Rituals are a set of actions, often performed in a particular order, that are carried out regularly with a specific goal in mind. For singers, this could be any set of actions that help to maintain vocal health, improve vocal technique, and support optimal vocal performance.
It is worth mentioning that singers here refer not only to those who sing as a profession, but anyone who enjoys singing as a hobby or for personal fulfilment. That said, whether you sing for a living, in the choir, or the shower, incorporating healthy rituals into your singing routine can make a world of difference.
So, what benefits can you enjoy from establishing healthy rituals for singing?
Healthy Rituals Can Help You:
Maintain vocal health
The vocal cords are sensitive and delicate instruments. Like any other muscle, they need proper care and attention to function optimally and avoid injury. Taking care of your vocal cords starts with understanding how they work and what can potentially damage them.
Several things can strain the vocal cords, such as overuse, dehydration, smoking, etc. Incorporating actions that help to mitigate these risks can go a long way in maintaining vocal health.
Improve vocal technique
In addition to promoting vocal health, certain rituals can also help to improve vocal technique. For example, regular breath support exercises can help you develop more control over your breathing and improve your overall vocal technique.
Support optimal vocal performance
When it comes to singing, there are several factors that contribute to optimal performance. In addition to having strong vocal technique and good vocal health, it is also essential to be mentally and emotionally prepared for performance.
Certain rituals, such as visualisation and positive self-talk, can help you to get into the right headspace for singing.
Having scratched the surface regarding the benefits of healthy singing rituals, let’s now look at some specific examples.
Top Healthy Rituals for Singers
Starting with vocal warm-ups is a great way to prepare your voice for singing. Vocal exercises help to loosen up the muscles in the face and neck, as well as the vocal cords themselves. As a result, you may find that your range increases, your pitch becomes more stable, and you can hold notes for extended periods. Vocal exercises help protect your voice from strain and injury and improve your overall vocal technique. So, always warm-up before singing, especially if you plan to sing for extended periods.
Breathing exercises are essential for singing, as they help you develop better control over your breathing, which can improve your vocal technique and support optimal vocal performance. Exercises like diaphragmatic breathing help you strengthen your diaphragm muscle, which regulates the airflow into your lungs, resulting in a fuller, richer sound. To achieve this, inhale deeply while pushing your navel outwards and letting your chest expand, then exhale while pulling your navel inwards.
Drinking enough water is crucial for your vocal health. The vocal cords are composed of mucous membranes that need to be kept moist to function properly. When the vocal cords become dehydrated, they are more susceptible to injury.
So, how much water should you be drinking? The general rule is to drink eight glasses of water daily. However, if you exercise a lot or live in a hot environment, you may need to drink more than that.
Avoid irritating substances
Substances like alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine can irritate the vocal cords. Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate your vocal cords, while nicotine can cause inflammation.
It is best to avoid these substances as much as possible to maintain vocal health. However, if you choose to consume them, it is important to do so in moderation.
Get enough sleep
Getting enough rest and sleep is vital for overall health and well-being. When you sleep, your body can repair itself and recharge its energy levels, which is also true for the vocal cords.
When you don’t sleep enough, your vocal cords can become strained and irritated. So, sleeping seven to eight hours per night can significantly improve your singing.
Rest your voice
In addition to getting enough sleep, taking breaks to rest your voice is essential, especially after prolonged use. This is especially useful if you are a professional singer or your job requires you to use your voice frequently.
Improve your posture
Having a good posture can significantly improve your singing voice. When you stand up straight, your lungs can expand fully to breathe more air, allowing you to sing longer with more power and projection. A proper posture also improves your breathing technique and helps to prevent vocal cord strain.
Visualisation is a powerful tool that can help you to improve any skill, including singing. It involves picturing yourself achieving your singing goals in your mind. This can help to increase your motivation and confidence, as well as improve your focus and concentration. This exercise is beneficial before a performance to help you calm your nerves and focus on your singing.
Every Singer Can Benefit From Healthy Rituals
Developing healthy rituals is vital for all singers, whether you are a professional or just singing for fun. These rituals can help to improve your vocal technique, prevent strain and injury, and increase your overall vocal power and projection. Just remember that consistency is key. So, stick with your rituals, and you will reap the benefits in no time.