I received an email from a former client recently, asking for advice on how to prepare to record professionally. She says,
“I have recently been working on music more and have had the chance to record professionally with a friend. I was having a hard time keeping my voice up to par as it would get pretty tired after just an hour (I admit to not doing many vocal warm ups these days). I was just wondering if you had any tips or specific warm ups you suggest to strengthen my voice before a recording session? Any and all advice is much appreciated!”
- Get your voice in shape. If you haven’t been vocalizing and warming your voice up regularly, get to it. There is no substitute. I would say if you are going to sing for an hour or more in the studio, you need to be singing an hour or more at least 5x/wk, with up to 30 minutes of really healthy, strengthening vocal exercises each session. Sing bunches, but make sure you’re singing with healthy vocal technique. If you’re singing a bunch, but with unhealthy vocal technique, you can very likely cause vocal damage, and that is sometimes serious or irreversible. So please, please make sure you get guidance if you’re experiencing strain, discomfort, hoarseness, or other kinds of symptoms when you sing. On the other hand, if you are singing with good vocal technique, once you’ve built up the strength, flexibility, and stamina, you’ll be able to sing for extended periods, and (within reason), it will just make your voice better and better.
- Record yourself singing before you go into the studio. If you’re not prepared by listening to yourself in advance, you are likely to be not-so-pleasantly surprised when you get into the studio, with your voice not sounding as you expected it would. So record yourself during practice sessions so that you can iron out and improve areas you’re not happy with well in advance. This way you’ll feel much more confident that you and your voice know what to do when you get into the studio.
- Stay super hydrated. This goes not just for the day of the recording, but in general, on a daily basis. Coffee and black or green tea are dehydrating, so I would avoid them and drink plenty of high quality water and herbal tea. Yogi Throat Comfort or Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat teas are very soothing to drink before and during recording. They help comfort and coat your throat with beneficial herbs. You might also want to avoid drinking lots of water during recording. I know people who find this helpful, as water can strip our throats of their natural lubrication. We still need to stay hydrated if we take this route, just earlier in the day of a recording session, instead of during it. I also find that I personally get more gunky after eating, so I try to give myself about an hour after eating to let things settle down.
- Take good care of your body/instrument. Get good sleep, eat well, maybe add fresh veggie and fruit drinks to your weekly diet. Cut down on meat and cheese if you eat them, opting for a plant-based diet that will support your overall health.
Honestly most of recording preparation takes place outside of the studio, so don’t be in a rush. Take the time that you need to prepare yourself for putting your best vocals down. This may not be the advice you want to hear, but it’s the simple truth. Recording is sooooo much more fun and effective when we’re ready for it!
You can also check out my blog Top 10 Vocal Tips. You’ll find helpful advice there too.
With Love & Om On!
Hi! I’m Kimberly Harrison, singer on a mission… to help YOU enjoy your voice and your life more. You can do it in so many simple ways. A great way to start is by asking yourself “What Makes YOUR Soul Sing?” and then letting the answers be your guide…