So I've been pondering the ideal situation to keep those chords singing like a lark! There is an awful lot of advice out there and the list seems endless. The short answer is it involves a lot hydration, rest and mindfulness. I am currently sat on the tube and I was reading an article written by Dr Martin Hopp, a top otolaryngologist, and although the list were extremely useful and based on scientific and practical research, there were at least 30 or more bullet points to consider! One that really made me sit up and listen was that he reminded you that your singing voice is an extension of your speaking voice, if you abuse your speaking voice it will affect your singing. I have found this to be 100% true and have found in the past if I am chatting to my colleagues, after the show for instance, and really belly laughing my voice will get tired much quicker. It also recommends that you limit conversation whilst travelling on a plane; a) because it is drying due to the air conditioning but also b) the background noise is between 30 to 60 decibels! Now we all know that if you go to a club or bar that is loud, your voice will probably be affected by shouting over the noise and we don't need to mention by the alcohol consumed (dehydration city for the chords). But for those touring on buses, trains, planes, ships and even those working in town and travelling on the tube everyday this is quite a big and loud chunk of your day. Dr Hopp listed many things to consider including getting lots of sleep, steaming and drinking plenty of plain water. There were so many components to consider on a daily basis but I did however completely agree with all of them. So how do you follow these guidelines whilst maintaining a healthy social life as well as healthy vocal chords?
I believe that the answer is balance. I am a firm believer that you carry a lot of stress in the neck and back and emotion and anxiety in the throat. If you are constantly worrying about your voice and trying to adhere to a formula for a healthy voice chances are you will over worry. Like nutrition and diet; balance is the key. Be mindful of your voice especially coming up to a performance or audition but be kind to yourself too. It is just as important for you to rest your voice and hydrate as it is for you to belly laugh with your friends. I'm not saying binge on screaming like a banshee and then being silent for a week but life happens so live it. I always sing more freely when I am happy, do not live as a slave to your vocals because state of mind affects them just as much as physical actions. So I say be a mindful social butterfly and flap those wings and chords with ease!