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For vocalists, their vocal cords are their instruments, and just as with any other instrument, proper care and maintenance is crucial. Vocal cords are positioned at the top of the windpipe, and they need to be kept soft, smooth, and flexible. If your vocal cords become irritated, this will limit your range and produce a rough, breathy sound.

Read on to learn more about how to preserve your vocal cords and care for your singing voice.

  1. Warm up. Just as with any other kind of exercise, you need to warm up before you start and cool down when you’re done. There are plenty of routines suitable for all ages, ranges, and skill levels. Flex your facial muscles, run through your range, and loosen up your mouth and voice. When you’re done, do a similar cool-down.
  2. Stay hydrated. Just as with any other precision instrument, you can’t let yourself run dry. Keep yourself well hydrated throughout the day and throughout your performance. Water is the best choice for this, with tepid herbal tea a second choice. Dry vocal cords are more easily irritated, and you need to keep your whole body hydrated to prevent this. It’s also important to keep your home or studio properly humidified to preserve your respiratory health and your vocal cords.
  3. Rest as necessary. Rest days allow your vocal cords to recover and regenerate, and they’re good for your spirit and soul as well. A vocal rest day means no talking as well as no singing.
  4. Avoid toxic substances. The worst thing that you can do for your voice (as well as the rest of your body) is to smoke or vape – and this applies regardless of the substance in question. Inhaling smoke or vapor envelops your vocal cords in a toxic cloud. Alcohol, especially in large quantities, can dehydrate your body and inflame your tissues, both of which are dangerous to your vocal cords and singing voice.
  5. Don’t stress yourself. Don’t sing if it hurts, whether the pain comes from overuse of the vocal cords or any sort of illness or inflammation. Also, don’t sing from your throat. The power behind your voice should come from your lungs, not your throat.