Nutrition For The Musician

We know, we know. There’s oh-so-much to take into consideration when you’re training yourself as a musician. All those scales, those ever-so-complicated chord structures and calluses to boot - the last thing we have on our mind is what our dinner plates are filled with. 

Now, we always want to start off these particular articles with a friendly reminder that we are simply the messenger on each and every topic. We by no means have degrees or even that much experience outside of our own when it comes to food and diet, yet we do have one thing and that is the ability to research, investigate and deduce our own conclusions based on a wide variety of information that has been gathered. 

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So, let us begin with saying that there are indeed many schools of thought when it comes to what to eat and what not to eat. Some stand behind the vegan diet, while others shine brightly and seem to always stay at a creative maximum despite having the diet of a hungry and sleepy college student at 3AM. None of us truly know what is right or best or most advisable, but what we do know is that we can learn from our own personal experimentation and experiences. 

Today, we will explore some schools of thought and encourage you to soak up as much information as you can find on the topic and then test out your own habits. Have you attempted to cut caffeine out of your diet for an entire month and noticed how it has affected your vocal skills? How about dairy? It’s been said that avoiding dairy, especially on performance days, is a major key element to working with your very best. Music travel informs us that a singer’s “diet should include fruit and whole grains (foods that are rich in vitamins A, C & E, which keep the mucus membranes healthy).” 

How about for the non-singers? Let’s talk about inflammation. Inflammation is “a localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection” as defined by Oxford Languages. Inflammation is the sneaky little silent trauma that occurs consistently in many of our bodies. The triggers may vary between the non-musician and musician, but one thing is for sure, if you’re playing an instrument with any part of your body, you are indeed putting quite the strain and stress even if it bares the best of intentions. Consult your doctor and find out about what foods may cause you inflammation. Be sure to experiment and keep track of your body’s reaction to your daily diet. Give it some time to let symptoms develop or seize. We know that setting a calendar and being incredibly diligent about the real time effects that your daily choices have on your body is less than fun, but you’ll be saving yourself decades of visits to the doctor and headaches over the long term effects of some of your food and drink choices. 

Another tip that we really love is that of consuming complex carbs and lighter proteins in order to be able to produce as much energy as possible. If you’re looking for something on the go in this department, yogurt or bananas do the job. Additionally, some may say that it’s obvious but it’s been suggested by many that the more you can avoid caffeine, sugar, high fat and spice in heavy doses - the better. Don’t forget that you can still enjoy that super spicy taco, but just be wise about when you’re doing so - during your studio session may not be the best time. 

One thing that we can surely suggest based solely on experience is to avoid over-eating right before a performance, yet you don’t want to be hungry either. Consider eating a nice sized meal a few hours prior to when you’re set to hit the stage. It may be wise not to be too adventurous in your food choices either, that way you can count on the typical reaction that this intake may have. 

Stay tuned for next week when we discuss the varying degrees of water. Does alkaline water really make a difference? Is it extra important to go with a particular brand if our bodies are relying on it? We’re set to investigate this next!