Lately, I have been getting a lot of questions about how to efficiently recuperate your voice after a long night of heavy singing. Hot tea with lemon, slippery elm, a raw egg, a hot toddy, and whispering to rest the voice are just a few of a long list of vocal remedy myths that have absolutely no impact on your voice.
Singing smart, drinking a lot of water, boosting your immune system, speeding up your metabolism and sleeping are just a few ways you can maintain a strong, healthy singing voice.
Hands down, the best way to help the recovery stage of your voice is not to exhaust it in the first place. Your voice can only recover a certain amount every day. If you tax your voice past its recovery range you will most certainly damage your voice. A trained singer should be able to sing up to 3 hours a night and leave the stage while he/she has more left in him/her.
Tension in the throat happens when the throat muscles tense up to compensate for the lack of breath support and body-connected singing. Our vocal chords are not designed to take such a punishment. If you feel vocal fatigue, coarse or raspy voice, or loss of range/accuracy towards the end of a long gig, you are most probably damaging your voice, especially if you do heavy singing regularly.
Once you have learned to rely on breath support and body-connected singing instead of tension, you can move onto the rest of the checklist in order to secure a long lasting singing career.
Proper hydration is a top priority for any singer. When you are dehydrated, your muscles shorten and become inflexible. Our vocal chords are a delicate set of muscles and when we sing we rely on stretching and flexing our vocal chords to create a healthy sound.
Boost Your Immune System
In a way, vocal fatigue is like a sickness or a muscle injury. Ideally, we should avoid tiring our voices at all costs. Every time you exhaust your voice beyond its comfort zone you are taking away from its life. In such a situation your body has to "heal" your vocal chords overnight. Pretty much everything that boosts your immune system helps your voice recover more efficiently. Immune boosters such as Immunex, L-Lysine, supplements such as Vitamin B complex and Zinc definitely make a difference over the course of a night.
Speed Up Your Metabolism
Most of the singers I encounter don't know how much internal energy it takes to sing and they depend on vocal energy and tension to compensate for the lack of body support. This is why many self-taught singers who can sing well are hyper people because hyper people have a lot of body energy. You need two things to maintain fast metabolism: a well balanced diet and regular exercise. When you have fast metabolism, daily activities get easier and you have more energy to live and to sing.