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Monday, May 7, 2012

Staying Hydrated When Recording

I don't know about you, but one of the biggest issues I face when recording is keeping my mouth properly hydrated.  You've all experienced the different vocal issues when your mouth is too dry, or how about when you're producing too much saliva.  Then there's always the issue of mucous slowly working it's way up into your throat and vocal chords, causing you to cough or have to clear your throat (usually at the worst possible moment).

When you start to analyze why your mouth and throat experience these various symptoms, you realize just how fine an instrument our vocal chords are, and how much effort it takes to keep this instrument properly tuned so as to function effectively.  So many factors play a role in how well your voice sounds in the recording studio.  What you eat, when you eat, what you drink, how often you drink, nerves, health, strain, and fatigue are just a few of the many daily influences that your voice is subjected to.

Through my recent experience of recording an audiobook, I came face to face with all of these issues and factors.  Recording almost every day for about a month really put my voice to the test.  I found a few treatments that seemed to help me.  Hopefully they can help you as well:

1.  Drink water - lots and lots.  I am a notorious non-water drinker.  I can literally go almost an entire day without even thinking about drinking water.  As a voice actor, I have to force myself to drink at least 64 ounces of water every day.  This is by far the best thing you can do for your voice.

2.  Decaffeinated!! tea with lemon wedges and honey.  This drink is very soothing to the throat while recording.  There are some schools of thought that hot beverages can cause the vocal chords to inflame, but the tea cools pretty quickly, and I've found it quite helpful.

3.  My personal quirky favorite is ginger chews.  I use these as a lozenge in between takes.  Ginger can be a bit spicy, but I absolutely love them for soothing my throat and generating saliva production.

Do you have any special things you do to keep your voice in top shape before, during, and after recording?  If you do, please let me know - - I'm always on the lookout for new ideas!


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  1. "I am a notorious non-water drinker."


    1. Not sure where I got it from....must be hereditary :)

  2. Hey Mike,

    I have a similar one to the ginger chews (they sound pretty awesome, love ginger!) - I use salty licorice and it seems to work a treat.

    I often find it hard to keep myself hydrated before sessions, too. Especially since I like to drink black coffee...
    Seeing as we should drinking water 45 minutes before sessions for it to have an effect, what I do is keep a bottle near my bed and then start drinking it from the get go. I used to leave myself a note, but it seems to be a habit now.

  3. Matt,

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll give the salty licorice a try. Coffee is definitely not our friend when it comes to staying hydrated...but we do need to be awake! I haven't had to resort to writing a note, but I do keep a large cup that holds about a pint of water with me, and when it's empty I make sure to fill it up right away. Thanks again for the tips....can't wait to try the licorice!