Care of the Ultimate Instrument


Key Assumption: A lack of understanding about the voice is a major cause of vocal career problems.
Fact: It is easier to be prepared and avoid vocal pitfalls than to recover from them.

Healthy perspective

  • Only YOU can keep your voice healthy. Learn to “manage” your instrument. BE ACCOUNTABLE.
  • Practice proper vocal hygiene. Be guided by COMMON SENSE!!
  • Decisions – count the vocal “costliness” of your lifestyle choices.
  • Consider yourself a vocal athlete.
  • Vocal wellness encourages PREVENTION not treatment.
  • Effective speaking and singing should feel relaxed and effortless, like “hitting the sweet spot.”

Helpful care concepts

  • Larynx (voicebox): susceptible NOT FRAGILE
  • ALL voices have a threshold of abuse – learn YOURS and stay within acceptable limits
  • Vocal “finances” perform on interest, don't use up principal
  • Managing: flexibility plus discipline
  • Common sense: RESPOND to how your voice sounds/feels
  • Vocal athlete: conditioning; warm up/cool down; training (coach)
  • Vocal lifestyle: All factors impacting on voice
  • Abuse = Misuse + overuse
  • Speaking affects singing: same instrument
  • Influencing factors: smoking, alcohol, drugs, allergies, diet, reflux, hormones, stress/tension, training, techniques, repertoire

Good advice

  • Avoid physical/emotional exhaustion (eat/sleep wisely)
  • Hydration/humidification are key
  • Reduce caffeine intake (coffee, tea, cola, chocolate)
  • Avoid smoking (active and passive)
  • Alcohol in moderation
  • Rest when not performing (no unnecessary infection)
  • Avoid whisper as a “voice” alternative
  • Respond “smartly” to URI (upper respiratory infection)
  • Promote voice caution/conservation vs. silence
  • Caution with coughing/throat clearing
  • Don't be an amateur druggist
  • Avoid late night eating/drinking