How food and drink affects your vocal performance
Even though we speak continuously all day, the second a video camera is introduced we often suffer from a dry throat. Obviously nerves and stress play a part in this, but can we do anything to prevent it from happening? After a little research and advice from professional performers and singers, it seems that food and drink can make a big difference. The following article looks at some of the foods and drinks to avoid and which ones improve your vocal performance.
Water, water and more water
It may not come as a surprise that water is rather useful in this situation. However it does need to be room temperature rather than chilled. Cold water tightens the vocal cords and is a bit like jumping in a plunge pool, it shocks the body into behaving differently and changes the way you speak. Warm or hot water is good as it loosens the vocal cords and helps to remove mucus build up.
As mentioned above hot drinks have a positive effect on vocal performance. Do remember that caffeine is a diuretic and therefore coffee and tea will dehydrate you. Also as mentioned below milk can cause problems for some people. Fruit teas and herbal teas (especially ones containing honey) might be a better alternative.
It is advisable to avoid milk, milk drinks (such as hot chocolate), yogurts and other dairy items such as biscuits and cake. These can clog up your vocal cords with mucus and effect the way you sound when talking. This can totally change the way you sound and cause you to constantly clear your throat.
A boiled sweet (especially something a little sharp/sour) can help to stimulate the salivary glands which has the effect of lubricating the vocal cords. Obviously you need to have finished the sweet before you perform!
Eating a meal first or after?
Singers would never perform on a full stomach as it impedes full inflation of the lungs. It is also recommended that you are not hungry either as microphones can be sensitive enough to pick up the louder stomach rumbles. The middle ground is to have eaten a meal one to two hours before performing.
This may all be too much information, especially if you don’t suffer from a dry throat or notice any voice issues. However it might be worth remembering these points for the next time you present to camera as it may improve your performance further. For those of you who do suffer, try the ideas above to see what works for you.