We depend on our vocal cords all day and between phone-calls, shows, sports games, parties and everything in between they can take a beating. There are measures we can take to make sure our vocal cords are healthy and performing at their best ability.
1. Be Mindful in Noisy Environments
Every time we yell or push our speaking voice, our vocal cords bang together. This irritation creates swelling and mucus on the cords which causes a hoarse, unclear sound. Avoid holding prolonged conversations in noisy environments. If you have to talk in a noisy environment, stand as close as you can to the person you're speaking to and avoid raising your voice over the sound. Avoid yelling at sports events or concerts, clapping your hands always works!
2. Use Proper Breathing Technique
Support your singing with good breathing technique. Proper breathing technique will take pressure off your vocal cords and give you more stamina. Click here for more information on proper breathing technique.
3. Warm-up every day
Just as you would stretch before and after running, it is important to always warm-up and warm-down for singing. Vocalizing with also improve your range and vocal resonance. Think of your vocal cords as a muscle...a weight lifter wouldn't expect to lift 400 lbs without working up to it day by day. Don't expect to sing difficult notes without training your vocal cords everyday.
Getting proper sleep will keep you healthy Your vocal vords get a chance to heal from irritation when you sleep. Aim to get 8 hours of sleep a night.
5. Drink Water
Drinking 8 glasses of water a day will keep you healthy and hydrate your vocal cords. Remember that nothing you eat or drink directly touches your vocal cords when you swallow. The water goes into your system and in turn hydrates your vocal cords. For every caffeinated beverage you drink you should compensate with 5 glasses of water.
6. Watch Your Diet
Everyone is affected differently by foods. Right before you sing it is best to avoid foods high in dairy as they can clog your throat. Foods that are high in spice, citrus, and oils can cause acid reflux. Acid reflux causes mucus production and can cause inflammation on the vocal cords. One of the best ways to avoid acid reflux is to avoid eating 3 hours before you go to bed. For more information on acid reflux click HERE.
7. Don't Smoke!!!
Smoking will destroy your voice, simply not worth it!
Play these Billboard Hits on piano, guitar, and ukulele today! Read the chord descriptions below and get playing!
1. Shape of You - Ed Sheeran (4 chords!)
Shape of You moves between the chords G, Am, Em, C. Each chord gets 1 bar (2 half notes).*
Notes in Dm chord: D-F-A Notes in Gm chord: G-Bb-D Notes in Bb chord: Bb-D-F Notes in C chord: C-E-G
Shape of You is in the meter of 2/2, meaning each bar gets 2 half notes. Once you are comfortable playing the chords, you can add the riff in the chorus. The riff alternates between the notes D-F-D, and repeats for the whole chorus. *The chords are transposed up one half step from the original key, for easier playing.
2. Attention - Charlie Puth (4 chords!)
Attention moves between the chords Dm, C, Am, Bb. Each chord gets 4 beats.
Notes in Dm chord: D-F-A Notes in C chord: C-E-G Notes in Am chord: A-C-E Notes in Bb chord: Bb-D-F
Attention uses an eighth note bass pattern, arpeggiating the notes of the chord. If you're playing piano, try incorporating the bass pattern in your left hand after you feel comfortable playing the chords.
3. Now Or Never - Halsey (4 chords!)
"Now or Never" moves between the chords C, Em, C, and Am. Each chord gets 4 beats. *
Notes in D chord: C-E-G Notes in F#m chord: E-G-B Notes in E chord: D-F#-A Notes in Bm chord: A-C-E
Throughout Now Or Never, Halsey uses an effects pedal on her voice to manipulate her tone into an "other-world" sound. A popular vocal effects pedal for vocalists is a TC Helicon. *Chords are transposed down one whole step from the original key, for easier playing.
Jammin' With You is proud to offer piano lessons, voice lessons, guitar lessons, ukulele lessons, drum lessons, and flute lessons in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Park Slope, Gowanus, South Slope, Carroll Gardens, Red Hook, Boerum Hill, and Clinton Hill . JWY! has an all star list of Brooklyn teachers - this week we get to know piano teacherBelen Cusi!
Belen is a multi-lingual pianist, singer and composer by way of Argentina and Texas. She has an album under her belt, and has appeared in multiple commercials, including a McDonalds commerical. Her musical background, combined with an extensive foundation of personal development and peak performance coaching have combined to allow her to teach with passion, perception and effectiveness.
JWY: What got started in music?
BC:I started playing classical piano at 8-years-old and continued with lessons until age 21. I went to BU for journalism, but realized I couldn't give up playing piano and connected with local piano teacher and music producer Tim Lukas at Blink Music. I began singing and studying songwriting and composition. Soon after this, I began to work on my first album, "Closer".
JWY:How did you come to be featured in a McDonald's commercial!?
BC:I model and act for agency in Boston and was connected through to the commerical. I've also done print work and a few German films.
Watch Belen in a McDonald's commercial!
JWY:What made you want to teach music?
BC:I really enjoy working with kids, and wanted to find a way to give back and share my love for music. During the 5 years Ispent at Blink Music I began teaching children piano and voice - I fell in love with it.
JWY: How do you get started teaching beginners on piano?
BC:I like to use the Piano Adventures lesson book series to start lessons. This is the same book that I began with, and it's fun for kids while leaning towards classical themes. I keep kids engaged and busy throughout the lessson. If my student's have interests in other genres, I bring songs they love to supplement our lesson material.
Belen is available for Brooklyn piano lessons in Park Slope, Gowanus, South Slope, Carroll Gardens,Red Hook, Boerum Hill, and Clinton Hill, as well as Long Island. Sign-Up For Lessons With Belen!
It is always fun to mix up practicing with fun games. The best way to become skilled at reading music and other musical concepts is to drill the information regularly. The more times your brain has to recognize and identify the notes, the more automatic it will become. Playing the games below will improve musical knowledge, sight-reading, and rhythm. These games are easy to access on your browser and a great supplement to practice on any instrument.
Compose Your Own Music- Drag notes into the staff, and create your own song that you can send to your friends! This is a great and creative way to practice your musical notation skills.
Musical Memory Game- Play back the notes that are played. This game helps students to memorize patterns.
Mission To Magmamon- You get sent to the musical planet of Toness where the inhabitants only communicate through music and tones. Get through volcanos, pirates, and trpas with your music skills! Very fun.
Composer Time Machine- Scroll through time different time periods and find the composers of that time. Hear their music and learn about different styles such as Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern.