As a voiceover artist, taking care of your voice is essential to your work, and with the winter months upon us, it’s more important than ever. Here are some tips on keeping you and your voice in top shape through winter and beyond.
Avoid too much caffeine or alcohol. We know – it’s hard if you’re living in England to escape drinking too much of either of these – but those endless cups of coffee and tea (or pints at the pub) can dry out your vocal cords. Alcohol can also irritate the lining of your throat.
Drink lots of water and herbal tea. Drinking water and non-caffeinated beverages keep both our bodies and vocal cords hydrated. It’s best to drink room temperature or warm water before or during a voiceover session – water that’s too cold can restrict your vocal cords; drinks that are too hot can irritate them. While lemon in your water or tea is great for a burst of vitamin C, before or during a session it can actually be drying.
Limit your use of cold and allergy medications. These medicines may dry out your nose, but do the same to your vocal cords as well, so it’s best not to use them too frequently. Also, avoid using medications that numb your throat if you’re sick – it’s easy to cause damage to your voice if you can’t feel it – kind of like trying to run a marathon on a broken leg.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet
Manage your stress. A tricky one certainly as you find yourself dealing with all the demands of daily life, but stress can cause tightness in your jaw, neck and vocal cords, as well as make you more susceptible to getting ill. Feeling stressed out? Getting more sleep and exercising are two good ways to keep stress levels in check and keep you feeling your best.
Wash your hands. We know, your mum already told you, but she was right – the best way to stay away from cold and flu bugs is to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face, especially if you’ve been travelling on public transport.
Avoid spicy foods. That vindaloo curry may sound delicious, but spicy foods can cause stomach acid to move into your throat or oesophagus (known as ‘reflux’), irritating your voice. Maybe best to save that one for a day when you’re not on the way to the studio.
Skip the mouthwash. Many brands of mouthwash contain alcohol, which is drying. If you need to gargle, use a warm, salt-water rinse. And if you’ve got constant bad breath it might be time to have a chat with your doctor or dentist.
Don’t strain your voice
Rest your voice when you’re sick. As tempting as it may be to try and push yourself when you’re not well, one job isn’t worth damaging your voice for; be honest about your limitations.
Warm up your voice before sessions. Don’t forget your vocal warm-ups before recording.
Relax your neck, jaw and voice. Doing voice work can be stressful at times, but you’ll have better voice control if you can relax and not ‘push’ your voice. Maintain good posture during your session and use proper breath control.
Don’t shout and avoid talking in loud environments. Tough if you’ve got a penchant for heavy metal concerts, but shouting and trying to talk over loud music or crowds can damage your vocal cords.
Use good posture when you’re at the computer. Hunching over your keyboard can put a strain on your neck muscles, which can result in tension.
If you are interested in becoming a voiceover artist, why not read our article on starting a career in voiceover. Alternatively, contact us today to find out more about keeping your voice in top condition.