Advice Clinic

Looking After Your Vocals, Hearing and Overall Health as a Musician

15th June 2017

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Think of your voice as an instrument – if you’re always practicing but not taking the time to properly maintain and take care of it, you’ll run into problems! We speak with voice therapist and vocal coach Florian Unruh of Vocal Center Berlin for the best advice on how to make sure you’re musically healthy.

Be honest

Authenticity is a great way to stay healthy. It’s a typically human characteristic to be inspired by the things around you – that applies to artists as well. Not everything you chose to imitate (consciously or unconsciously) might be beneficial to your health, though. If you’re a singer and you pick a sound that’s contradictory to your character, your body or mind will fight it on some level. That’s what people mean when they say someone is ‘unauthentic’.

The most masterful musicians find a sound for themselves that’s an expression of their emotional life, not just a sound they like. If you do the same, you’ll prevent certain health problems arising in the future.

Care about your body

Fitness training is a great way to stay healthy. Build stamina, build strength but don’t lose your fine motor skills (fingers, etc.). Hydrate! Most artists aren’t drinking enough water.

Advice for singers: it takes up to two hours after drinking to hydrate your vocal cords, so think ahead! Try to avoid greasy or spicy food in the late evening – and don’t do drugs. In the old days musicians could get away with it. The business has changed – if you don’t deliver, someone else will!

Protect your ears

No party or concert in the world is worth losing your hearing for! Invest in in-ear monitors if you can, or at least use ear protection. That, of course, applies to both band rehearsals and live gigs. If you can’t distinguish the different instruments anymore, it’s too loud. If your ears actually start hurting – RUN!

Practice – and know your stuff!

Though having a good technique seems to get more and more important in the music business, consider it your personal expectation to have a flawless technique whether you’re an instrumentalist or a singer. Stretch, warm-up, practice precisely on a daily basis and you’ll be able to rely on your abilities even in stressful situations. Don´t be arrogant and think you know it all – the best people are always willing to learn.

Stay inspired

Positivity will protect you from low self-esteem, stress and existential fears. Remind yourself of the reasons which made you become a musician in the first place and think about all the things that inspire you. Listen to other artists, watch movies, read poems, enjoy nature. This mindset is your health insurance as an artist in our times!