This guest post comes to us via Vincent Reina, a piano teacher.

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Now, here’s Vincent to tell us how singers develop vocal cord disorders, and how you can avoid it.

Many amateur and professional singers are faced with the challenge of giving their very best every time they go onstage. The problem is that even professional singers don’t have unlimited vocal capacities, so they must go to great lengths to keep their vocal cords healthy.

You must be here because you are a singer yourself, and you know that this is a hurdle you must overcome.

If you have been singing for a while, you’ve probably had some bad days when you’ve had to stop training and performing. It is crucial to have this rest period, because your cords need rest. Your body needs this rest, too, because singing can be taxing physically, mentally, and emotionally, especially when done every day. Rest is important, particularly for professional singers.

But some singers still develop vocal cord disorders such as laryngitis, vocal polyps, and vocal cord paralysis. These are common illnesses that professional singers face due to voice overuse and lack of rest.

These disorders often start with the singer developing a raspy voice, where even normal talking can be painful and takes a lot of effort. These are bad signs, because it means you have stretched your vocal folds too much, not leaving enough space for your cords to rest.

What can you do if you develop a vocal cord disorder? Do you stop singing altogether? Would you blame the vocal lessons company whom you have partnered with for training?

Here are some tips to help you avoid vocal cord disorders. And no, it’s not the fault of the vocal teacher you are currently training with.

Know When to Stop

It can be challenging to stop singing when you have lots of projects lined up. It is hard to get contracts, so if you have work coming, it is difficult to stop. However, you must know your limits, because not resting when you need to can cause more severe damage to your voice. It’s better to miss out on a week of work than to be unable to sing for the rest of your life.

If you have an agent, let him/her know that you cannot take contracts until you get well. You can have someone fill in for you in the meantime. It is hard to say “no”, but you must think long-term.

The best way to tackle this is to take breaks. Schedule time off and let people know when you’ll be available to work again.

It is better to set these hard boundaries than having to say “no” to clients, because you may not get calls back after turning down too many gigs.

Remember, rest is essential. But don’t just rest for the sake of rest. Enjoy your time off, and get quality rest. Stay away from foods like sweets and cold drinks, and give your voice as much rest as you possibly can.

Watch Your Lifestyle

Talent can get you ahead with professional singing, but lifestyle plays a huge role in your success, too. If you are a singer, you must be willing to sacrifice many of the things you used to enjoy.

Food and drinks with caffeine, sugar, too much oil, and colder drinks and food must be avoided at all costs. You should also say “goodbye” to smoking, even the occasional puff. Smoking and a bad diet can cause your vocal cords to deteriorate, so it is crucial to be on guard at all times.

There are many ways for you to avoid developing vocal cord disorders, but the most important step for you to take is to take breaks when you need them.

No one likes turning down gigs, but it may be necessary if you want to keep your voice in the best shape possible.

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Vincent Reina

Vincent Reina

Vincent Reina began teaching piano lessons as a high school student, and has continued to do so ever since. He received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance from Purchase Conservatory. He then earned a Masters of Arts in Teaching Music from Manhattanville College. Today, Vincent is co-founder of Music To Your Home, a New York City based music school. He’s the proud winner of many significant piano competitions, including the Westminster Choir College Artistic Excellence in Piano Award.
Vincent Reina

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