Top 5 Things to Avoid Before Singing

Article by: Carley Varley
VQS Advice Blog | Cover Image by Andrea Piacquadio

Learn how to take care of your voice and stay productive!

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When I began my career as a musician, I had no idea the things to avoid before I was about to perform. I would often lose my voice in situations, and I’d think, ‘how did that happen?’ Only to find out that drinking ice cold water before singing or having a few ciders, isn’t the best thing to do before a vocal performance!

When I first started out, I didn’t really know how to take care of my voice and now thanks to lessons and the internet, I now know the best methods for taking care of my voice and the things to avoid.

Here are the top things to avoid before you sing!

1. The Truth About Dairy and Your Voice

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Dairy creates phlegm and makes it difficult to sing.

These include foods with: 🥛🧀

  • cheese
  • milk
  • cream
  • yogurt

It is best to avoid them before you sing at least a few hours in advance.

This will mean you can sing clearly, and your voice will sound its best. Avoid dairy in your meals before singing and I’ll share later on what is best to eat before you sing instead.

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2. Is it Ok to Eat Chocolate?

If you are wanting to sound crystal clear you have to avoid chocolate…🍫🍫🍫

…as it sticks to the back of your throat and coats it. This can make it difficult to sing and you also won’t feel the best vocally when you do sing. This includes hot chocolate drinks too!

I remember I use to sing all the time after I’d eat some Cadbury’s and now I’m horrified that I ever use to sing after eating chocolate! Your throat being coated in chocolate certainly won’t help you hit high notes. Therefore, it is best to cut out chocolate before a vocal performance.

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3. How Caffeine Can Hinder Your Performance

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I am an avid tea lover. I drink quite a lot of tea every day, but when I found out it actually dehydrates your vocal cords, I stopped drinking it at gigs and before gigs.

Caffeine restricts your vocal cords and tightens your throat.

This certainly won’t help you sound on form when you sing. It can dry out your throat and it will feel very uncomfortable too.

This includes:

  • coffee
  • fizzy drinks
  • energy drinks

It is best to avoid them all together before a performance.

4. What’s the Best Drinking Temperature for Singing?

This creates a lot of muscle tension, and as a result restricts a person’s speaking and singing capacity. When I first started out as a musician, I always had ice in my water and I thought that was a good thing. After a few performances I noticed that although the ice water was refreshing, it didn’t really make my voice feel warmed up.

I started drinking warm water before I sing, and it made all the difference!

Ice water always made my vocal cords feel tight and the tension was certainly there. After I cut the ice out of my water and didn’t drink cold water either, my voice felt a lot more free and had room to hit the high notes!

5. What Effect Can Alcohol Have on You?

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What alcohol can do:

  • potential to dry out a singer’s voice
  • potentially rendering them incapable of hitting the high notes
  • preventing them from making the most of their range

Your vocal cords also relax when you drink and so if you shout a lot or over sing whilst you have had alcohol, it can leave you feeling tender the next day and possibly even unable to sing.

As a full-time musician, I cut alcohol out of my diet all together…

…and I only really drink when I see friends during a break. This was a good decision for me as when I use to drink before my vocal performances it would restrict me a lot and the next day I’d have no voice.

The best thing to drink before your gig are:

and the best things to eat are:

  • fruits and vegetables
  • foods high in Vitamin A

I hope that this gives you some good advice on what to avoid before you sing. Performances are nerve wracking enough, without restricting your voice by eating or drinking things that are bad for your vocal cords.

Thanks so much for reading and let me know how you get on with these tips!


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Article by: Carley Varley

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About the Author
LA based video creator, producer and media coach.
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