Coffee is that little kickstarting secret weapon that most of us keep close in our back pockets. You may be thinking, what does this have to do with music? Did you know that many rock musicians have their own coffee brands? How about that coffee dehydrates vocal cords?
Did you know that members from Greenday, Aerosmith, Metallica and Megadeath all have their own versions of coffee brands? When you think of legends rocking out on stadium stages, you may have guessed that the last product that a rockstar would invest in would be something as seemingly simple as a coffee bean. Perhaps we’ve overlooked the workhorses in our morning cups?
As we’ve stated before, we are by no means doctors or experts in any field in particular, but we do love to research, reason and let ideas percolate. Today, we’ll be diving into the effects of coffee on a vocalist’s precious cords, as well as the theories as to why coffee can be beneficial for a musician’s practice schedule and ambition boosts.
Just like everything these days, it’s all up for debate. Some people think that coffee is less than ideal for almost everybody. Others say that it’s harmless and can even benefit our health. Where do the truths and myths lie? Although we do not have an answer for this, we can definitely explore some of these ideas.
Open Mic UK states that “Coffee dehydrates the body – especially your vocal cords. With little moisture on the cords, this creates more tension between them which shortens your vocal range and limits your capabilities. The task of singing also becomes more difficult because your body has less moisture to lubricate the cords.” Meanwhile, Such A Voice chimes in and adds “Unfortunately, coffee can seriously dehydrate you and create havoc with your voice. It can damage your vocal cords, increase acid production, and act as a diuretic – not a good thing! As it tightens and restricts muscles, your pitch or dynamic range can be affected.”
As for the positives, coffee can be a great way to provide that extra jolt to get you in the zone for that songwriting session or even for solo practicing at home. For even the non-musician, it’s been said that coffee can potentially “lower risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, lower risk of certain liver diseases”. Although we cannot say that any of these claims are scientific facts, we can at least take into account that coffee may have more beneficial effects than we thought.
Just like athletes, us musicians and especially vocalists have to have some self-restraint when it comes to indulging in food, drink, environment and lifestyle choices mixing with our performance abilities. If you choose to partake in something such as coffee, because trust us, we need that little wake up boost too, then we suggest to do so minimally. In particular, it’s best to avoid anything questionable close to a performance or recording session. When you’re in the moment later, you’ll be thanking yourself.
We understand that it's hard to be strict with yourself on a daily basis, so feel free to live a little, however in general, you must take your instrument seriously and make good choices throughout the day to support its health and your happiness.