When, how and what to eat before a singing engagement

Fruits and veggiesWhen it comes to what a singer should and shouldn’t eat or drink, advice will always be as varied as the number of people you ask. I’m pretty sure that’s because people have a tendency to dismiss something as the gospel truth or completely wrong based only on their own experience with it. But the human voice is the most complex and individually unique musical instrument that exists. It’s the only instrument in the world fashioned by the very hand of God. Our vocal instrument is our entire body, not just our voice. So, you have to expect that foods will react differently from person to person.
But as I mentioned in my recent blog about milk, there are some things that are pretty-much universally accepted as just good practice for singers. I’m going to share that kind of common-sense information with you in today’s blog.

So, you have an engagement coming up in the near future. What should you be doing to put yourself in the best possible position to insure your performance is as good as it can be? Aside from regular vocal training, your diet is definitely something very important to think about. When, what and how you eat before a singing engagement can all affect your ability to perform at your best. Let’s briefly look at all three.

 

When:

When you eat-specifically how soon before your engagement- is critical. Let’s first make it very clear that you do need to eat something. Singing is a very physical thing that really involves your whole body. You need some energy to have the stamina to finish your gig. However, it’s important that you don’t eat right before you sing. The main reason is that if you do, the energy won’t be available to you when you need it. In order to benefit from the food you should really eat about 2 hours before a singing engagement.
Another huge benefit of doing that though, is that if you eat too soon before the gig, your body will be diverting energy towards digesting the meal. This will make you tired and less focused. Especially if you ate a heavy meal; which brings us to :

How:

One thing you never want to do right before singing is eat a heavy, full meal. Aside from the the aforementioned zap of energy, you’ll also have a much harder time breathing for singing. That’s because when your stomach is full, it’s bloated and pushing against your diaphragm. So you can’t breath properly. The easiest way to avoid that is to stop eating about 2 hours before the gig. By then, unless you’ve really stuffed yourself to the gills with a bunch of heavy, empty calories, your body should have most of what you ate digested and providing energy to your system.

What:

We’ve already established that it’s a good idea to stay away from big meals full of heavy foods. But we also pointed out that you do need to eat, and you do need some energy to sing well. The best types of foods to eat then, are foods that are light and yet provide you a lot of energy. Foods high in protein are great to eat an hour or two before an engagement. Things like chicken, almonds, eggs and fish are all good foods to eat. They provide you with plenty of protein and yet, if eaten in moderation, will keep your hunger at bay without having to stuff yourself.

As I said before, every singer is different because every person’s body is different. The best thing to do is try to keep an eye on what your’e eating leading up to an engagement. That way if you have an off night you can go back and take a look at what you ate and identify anything that may have caused some of it. Look for trends, or things that tend to happen every time you eat a certain food. While I’ve offered some good common sense guidelines here, remember that at the end of the day which specific foods you eat is usually a lot less important than when and how.

You probably know however, that eating and drinking everything you should at just the right right time you should do it still won’t protect your voice from wear and damage from years of bad technique. To do that you must train your voice with professional vocal lessons. But vocal lessons can be expensive and a real hassle to fit into your busy life.

That’s why I created Vocal Ministry Breakthrough, my home study vocal training course. Vocal Ministry Breakthrough is designed to be easy, affordable and fun. Sign up here.

 

 

 

 

 

One food every singer should consider giving up

 

Another animal that came very close

Although most singers never think about this at all ( and we all should) occasionally someone at one of my vocal lessons will ask me what’s good and what’s NOT good for a singer to eat/drink. Because every singer is different and affected different ways, it’s hard to come up with a definitive list. Something that bothers one person won’t bother someone else’s voice.

Even so, however, There are some food that are almost universally identified as wise to steer clear of for singers. If I could only choose one to get rid of from that list I’d choose:

Dairy Products!!

Simply put gang, milk does NOT do a body good, despite the very popular and ingeniusly crafted campaigns. There’s a whole lot of very interesting things I’ve learned about milk that really blew my mind. This is not the place nor the forum to discuss them, but consider this:
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3 most popular ways to take vocal lessons reviewed:

3 most popular ways to take vocal lessons reviewed:

 

The 21st Century is upon us, and with all it’s new technology the world is getting smaller and smaller. Gone are the days when your choices for taking singing lessons were limited to your local area. Now if you see a vocal coach you really like and feel a connection with, you can study with him no matter where in the world he’s located. Today I’ll take a look at the pros and cons of the top 3 ways vocal coaches are offering private voice lessons.

 

 

1. One-On-One Voice Lessons In Person:

Pros- Still the most effective, most personal and most interactive method in my opinion. You can see, hear and even feel things with the singer in person that you just can’t any other way.
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One simple mental adjustment that can change your whole attitude about singing

One simple mental adjustment that can change your whole attitude about singing

Most singers make a very distinct difference between what they do and what a piano player, saxophonist or guitarist does. ” I’m a singer, he’s a musician”. “I don’t play any instruments, I just sing”. However, the two are very much the same.

Let’s say I had two pieces of sheet music for “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. One is written for a saxophonist to play the melody line, the other for a vocalist to sing the melody. What would be the difference between the two pieces of music? Only one. The singer’s sheet music would have the words below the notes. Everything else would be exactly the same. The notes on the sax player’s music would look the same as the singer’s sheet music.
 
The difference is the instrument being used to create the notes. Why is that important for singers to understand? Very simple. If you as a vocalist can begin to really see your voice as a musical instrument, then it begins to change the way you think about what you do. Many singers are very passive about their craft. I suspect it’s because most singers are born with most of their talent. “I know how to sing, that’s all I need to know”.

A musician wasn’t born playing his instrument. Once he chooses one he likes he must begin studying his instrument. Soon he knows all of it’s parts and how they work. He knows how it produces tones and how to manipulate those tones. He knows how to take care of it, clean it, even take it apart and reassemble it in many cases.

He hones his craft constantly. The musicians who excel on their instruments ( over others who play the same instrument) are those who know the most about their instruments and have learned to master them by getting to know them inside and out. That and of course, lots of lessons and lots and lots of practice.

It should be the same with you if you’re a serious vocalist or hope to be someday. For example, you may be a soprano who leads that Yolanda Adams song with the church choir. But you really have to scream that high note to hit it, and once you’re done you’re wiped out. You’re hoarse for the rest of the day; sometimes several days.

Yet when Yolanda sings the same song she’s smiling the whole time. Then she goes on to sing for another 45 minutes straight after that! And that’s just that night. She has engagements every day for months lined up. Years for some artists when they’re out on tour.

How is this possible?! After all, you were both born with the gift to sing, right? There’s no denying different singers have different levels of God-given ability and range. And there are some people out there that defy logic. Some people are just flat-out anointed. But there is usually a much simpler explanation.

The simple answer is usually that these singers have learned some things about her voice, how it works and how to use it properly, that you don’t know. Recording artists are faced with a very stark reality once they get signed. They must either learn everything there is to know about their voice, how to master it, get the most out of it and most of all, protect it so it lasts them for many years- or be faced with a very short career.

So the big secret in the recording industry is that almost everybody takes lessons. Many don’t want the general public to know that, so you won’t often see the names of vocal coaches in the liner notes among the “thank-you’s”. But I digress (he says pouting).

So my “homework” for this week is to start thinking of yourself as a musician. You play an instrument, the instrument is your voice. Every musician should learn as much as they can about their instrument. Unless of course, your instrument is simply a hobby or something you do to relax.

If it’s more than that to you, stop accepting your limitations and start asking some questions about how to overcome them. You’ve seen people sing high notes effortlessly. You’ve seen recording artists sing for an hour straight. You know something’s going on, what is it? What do they know about their instrument that you don’t know about yours? What have they done to be able to do what they do, that you haven’t done?

As a singer, you are a musician. Every musician needs to study their instrument. My home study vocal training course will teach you how to use your voice properly. Get started free by signing up for my 5 day vocal training course below.