National Opera Week – Voice Tip #2 – Drink Lots of Water
As part of National Opera Week we got some great tips from The National Center for Voice and Speech to keep your voice in tip-top shape. Check back all week for new tips!
Tip #2. Well-hydrated vocal folds vibrate more freely and are less prone to damage.
In order for the vocal folds to sustain a consistent and free vibration, their tissues must be flexible and the mucous created by the body to lubricate them must remain relatively thin and slippery. When the body is slightly dehydrated, that mucous becomes thick and sticky and the tissues become less flexible. To combat the negative effects that such a state would have on the voice, it is important to maintain a healthy level of vocal fold and overall hydration. This hydration can come from both inside the body and the outside. To hydrate from the inside, the basic nutritional guidelines recommend drinking 8, 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Professional voice users, however, may need to consume even more, especially when engaged in or preparing for heavy voice use. It is also important to note that it takes time for water that is ingested to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Therefore, water ingested within the two hours prior to voice use, while quenching thirst, will have little effect on the internal hydration level.
Since it is not possible to simply pour water over the vocal folds (without drowning, that is), external hydration must come in the form of much smaller particles such as those produced by vaporizers or steam inhalation. Try inhaling the steam in the shower or placing a warm, damp washcloth over your face and breathing through it. Additionally, hot water vaporizers can help change the humidity in an office or studio, though those with mold or mildew allergies may wish to avoid increasing the humidity within an entire room as doing so will create a more hospitable environment for mold and mildew to grow.