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The Ten Commandments of Singing: Tips for Vocalists and

Aspiring Singers
by Audrey Hunt. Updated on January 26, 2017

Where Exactly Is the Voice Coming From?


The vocal cords are located within the larynx and considered the primary source of
voice production. These vocal folds are joined with each other by an attachment
site formed from the union of arytenoid and cricoid cartilages. Air passing through
them make them vibrate, thus, producing sound. Upon knowing this indispensable
role of the vocal cords, every singer should be focused on preserving their
integrity. The ultimate way to do it is by abstaining from abusive and stressful
vocal activities.

What Does My Body Has to Do with My Voice?


You might think that your voice and your body are not connected, but in
reality, they are. As a singer, you have to take care of your physical well-being as
well. Aside from specific organs, you use to produce voice, sing and perform, your
entire body serves as your ultimate barrier and gear against external entities that
can cause diseases. Illnesses such as colds, flu, cough, and infections can gravely
affect your voice production as well as your entire body system as a whole. As you
maintain a sound physical health, youre guaranteed to sustain a body strong
enough to resist any disorders and fit to sing anytime and in any condition.

Why Do I Have to Be a Little Picky on What I Eat?


Basically, if you are a singer there are some food products and beverages which are
not advisable for your consumption. These foods, which will be mentioned as you
read further, can cause dehydration or increased mucous production which can be
very hazardous for you and your singing.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF SINGING

1. Thou Shall Follow a Vocal Warm-Up Routine and Abstain from Abusive
Vocal Activities
Rationale: Singing without warming up, shouting on top of your voice, talking
without rest, and other similar deeds are some of the many detrimental practices
most singers do with their voices. These will cause too much pressure and strain to
your vocal cords which can jeopardize the integrity of their membranes. Periodic
exposure to these activities can also lead to inflammation or formation of nodules
and polyps which are common causes of temporary or permanent loss of voice.
Prevention of vocal abuse is the rule of the thumb. According to the expert vocal
trainer Vocal Coach, singers are required to warm-up their voices at least ten to
twenty minutes before doing an actual singing performance. Basically, there are a
number of vocal warm-ups singers could use to prep up their voices. Personally, I
find doing lip trills the most useful. This technique cuts my warming-up time in
half in situations when I have to urgently perform onstage. Also, it is very helpful
whenever a piano or pianist is nowhere to be found, which makes it impossible for
me to proceed with traditional warm-up exercises. I can also conveniently do it
whenever and however I want it to be during my trip to shows and gigs. On the
other hand, you also have to allot some time to allow your voice and vocal cords to
"recharge" and regain strength. You can do it by dedicating at least two days of rest
in a week to let your vocal cords relax from your week-long singing engagements.
And lastly, avoid talking too loud. Make sure to speak in a properly modulated
voice and permit rests in between speeches or conversations.
2. Thou Shall Eat Healthy and Maintain Proper Nutrition

Proper nutrition enables you to acquire the needed energy, vitamins, and minerals
to maintain strength, improve immunity, and ward off disease-causing pathogens.
A properly nourished body is something that can endure or withstand any stressful
situations. And as a singer, you would need that kind of body thats always in its
perfect condition to give every show your best and total performance.

Meanwhile, singers should also consume vitamin C-rich food products. Vitamin
C boosts your bodys immunity. An immune system operating in its optimum
defense and response mechanisms is able to keep the body resistant to common
ailments such as common colds, fever, or flu. The absence of these common
illnesses ensures you a great and hassle-free performance all the time.

3. Thou Shall Get Enough Sleep

Most experts say that getting at least eight hours of sleep is the universal rule for
everyone. While other studies show that the number of sleeping hours necessary
can vary from one person to another, one things for sureyou should have the
most meaningful sleep you should be getting. One technique to know if youve had
complete sleep is when you wake-up feeling delighted and energized. Its like
waking up on the right side of the bed.
So the question now is, why do singers should get enough meaningful sleep?
Remember that when you sing, you use your vocal cords in a greater level than in
occasions when you use them just for doing usual talks or conversations. When
you sing, they vibrate and exert more. Just as how the body recharges and repairs
inconsistencies through rest and sleep, the same mechanism applies to your vocal
cords as well. In addition, you always have to remember that your body functions
in conjunction to your singing. If you are deprived of sleep, your body lacks the
necessary energy to focus and respond to singing and breathing techniques. The
inability to execute proper singing methods due to lack of focus and energy
deprivation can jeopardize your overall performance.
Sleeping is free so why not take full advantage of it

4. Thou Shall Be Careful on What He Drinks


Alcoholic beverages, ice cold thirst-quenchers, and caffeine-rich concoctions are
the top three things you must avoid drinking regardless whether you have an
upcoming performance or none. You might ask, Why not? Well here are some
pertinent answers for you to ponder on:
Alcoholic beverages are composed of strong chemicals which can damage the
mucosal lining of your internal neck structures, particularly your throat and
vocal cords. The belief that having a little shot of whiskey before
proceeding on a performance makes you perform better is never true. It even
makes your throat dry which might initiate vigorous coughing and pressure
that can cause potential trauma to your vocal cords.
Drinking ice cold thirst-quenchers, whether it is water, juice, or any other
fluids, is like torturing your vocal instrument. Too much cold will cause
vasoconstriction to the blood vessels of your vocal cords which, in turn, will
make them restrained or stiff; thus hampering the innate stretching capacity of
your vocal cords. And as you try singing in this condition, you are just putting
your voice into grave danger.
Too much caffeine is a no-no to every singer because it causes dehydration
which pulls off the needed moisture away from your vocal cords. In turn, this
would make them viscous and inelastic which limits their vibrating capacity
during singing.
5. Thou Shall Not Consume Dairy Products, Milk, Chocolate, or Any sweets
before an Upcoming Performance

As much as possible, singers should refrain from eating and drinking too much
sweets, chocolates, milk, or dairy products. You want to know the common
denominator of all these food? Well, these are all mucous-forming delights my
darlings. And you wouldnt want too much mucous in your throat and vocal cords
because it would surely prevent you from singing at your best. Moreover, mucous
secretions accumulating in your throat might also cause irritation which can lead
to infection or inflammation.
6. Thou Shall Engage to Regular Exercise
Okay heres what most singers dont know about: Once you go onstage, you dont
just sing. You communicate and perform. If youll be up there just to render some
tunes, your audience should have stayed home and listened to a radio instead. If
you want to be a singer, you have to be an entertainer as well. On every song
number, you should execute everything at the topmost performance level. That
means there would be times when you have to dance and move a lot. No matter
how long or short your song numbers are, it is very important to develop stamina
to stay energetic on stage. And you can only do that by keeping your body
physically fit and healthy. Moreover, physical exercises are good ways to warm
up before a performance. You don't necessarily have to be going to the gym. You
can simply do some routine brisk walking or jogging every morning or afternoon.
Just see to it that you maintain an active lifestyle.
7. Thou Shall Have Constant Singing Practice
Engaging with constant singing exercises and routines not only makes you ready
for any short-notice performances. It also keeps your vocal cords healthy by
strengthening them with progressive vocal exercises. There are so many voice
exercise routines available on you tube and elsewhere on the internet. However,
while they are all proven effective, their efficacy is relative to each individual. If
you wish to know what vocal exercise or routine would work best for you, its very
important to consult a professional vocal coach for lessons or guidance.
8. Thou Shall Use Proper Breathing Techniques
Employing proper breathing techniques and exercises would help you boost your
singing or vocal power even more. Primarily, singing is highly dependent on how
much control the singer can provide to his airflow. When this flow of air is
maintained at a steady pace, the singers vocal tone would be stronger, smoother,
and more consistent. To have an idea on how these breathing exercises and
methods are done, you can always browse the internet for pertinent information.
There are lots of video tutorials on You tube about proper breathing techniques
utilized by renowned voice teachers and singers alike.
9. Thou Shall Not Sing and Perform During Sickness
The show must go on! Yes, all singers and performers know that by heart.
While its admirable for a singer to push himself to the limits, however, its not
always the case especially if youre overly sick. Like in my personal experience, I
dont perform when I am sick or have colds. And I advocate such practice to all my
fellow vocalists and singers. Performing onstage during a period of illness will not
only jeopardize your performance but your health as well. If you experience even
minor disorders which involve your airways or throat, it could be very difficult to
produce your usual singing voice. In occasions when you have colds or severe flu,
too much pressure would be required in order to fulfill the duties of singing. This
should not be the case because it would surely put your singing voice or vocal
cords at risk. Moreover, performing while youre severely ill will greatly affect
your level and manner of singing and performance. And your inability to execute
your act well on stage will surely disappoint your audience. It could also ruin your
reputation as a singer especially if youre sickness has made you squeak or
prevented you from reaching your usual high notes.
Instead, it would be better to just cancel a performance. On the other hand, the best
way to prevent all these from happening is to make sure that you maintain a
healthy body and lifestyle.
10. Thou Shall Always Give His 100%
While it is important to abide by the former nine commandments of singing, a
confident and perseverant disposition is still what you need after all. Make sure
that you give your EVERYTHING in each performance that you undertake as if it
is your last. With that mindset, youre guaranteed to give the best show your
audience deserves.