Esther Fortune's Guide on Keeping Your Voice Groovy
Everything is better in song. We sing songs to remember presidents, to commemorate holidays, to show affection. Our minds love music, and work better with it — it’s why you have to sing the alphabet to find out if P comes before Q. And let’s just agree, life without music is boring. Go ahead and try to remember your mother's phone number. No? What about that new Adele song? Thought so.
We all sing, but we don't all know how to take care of our voice, which is important for all vocalists, even if you’re just a shower-star. Esther Fortune is the lead vocal instructor at Live! and vocalist of the reggae-rock band Jahfe, and she has a few tips for all of us on taking care of our pipes. I sat down with her to ask her secrets on keeping your voice polished (and booming) over the years.
Written by Mark Meneses
Guitarists treat their guitars with care. Your voice is no different. The way an athlete won't push their body, a singer can’t either. But how do you take care of something you us so often? Get into the habit of taking vocal rests. You should always let your voice recover after rehearsals or performances.
Water is good for your vocal cords only if it's room temperature; cold liquids will freeze up your voice. Anything with milk in it is a terrible idea, you don’t want to be coughing up phlegm while you’re performing (ew). The best liquids to drink before rehearsal are warm teas, especially with ginger and honey.
But you know that.
There's no way around this one. Just like you wouldn't be able to wake up and run a mile, you can't just start singing at any time. Warming up lets your voice know that it's being expected to perform soon, and it stretches it out so you can sing to your fullest ability. If you don't stretch out your voice, you can do some serious damage to those cords.
This one is more about your delivery. The key to being a good singer is confidence and following through. Hitting the wrong notes is okay in your lessons — that's where you're supposed to make mistakes. The focus and emotion that you see on stage isn't something that just appears; you have to work on it. And even if you mess up a little, at least you’re learning for next time.
Every singer brings something unique to the mic. No two singers are going to do it the same way, and no two audience members will hear you the same way either. We all try to emulate our favorite artists, but what really gets the crowd going is when you bring something new to the table. Raise the stake every time, because there's a fine line between singing music and singing karaoke.
Some of these tips may work for you, but we also know that every performer is different. The best way to tackle stage fright is to sit down with your instructor and develop a personalized plan. We know music isn’t just about learning and practicing — it’s also about connecting and collaborating with others. At Live!, we offer an experience that takes you from the practice room to a virtual stage, with help at every step of the way.
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