Staying Hydrated as a Musician

You may know that we tend to go on & on about water. It’s the simplest concept but is too often underrated as many people seem desensitized to the importance of it due to the fact that they just hear about it far too much.

UT Southwestern states “The most important thing we can consume to improve vocal health is water. Staying hydrated helps your body produce thin, watery mucus. Your vocal cords vibrate more than 100 times a second when you speak, and they need that mucus to help them stay lubricated.”

“Scherer in a Voice Council Magazine article, drinking eight glasses of water per day is essential to maintaining your vocal cords. Singing is obviously stressful on your vocal cords. Sustained use can cause the folds between the cords to become irritated, causing irritation and degrading performance.”

How about those drinkers out there who just can’t stand the bland taste of water? If it’s not you - you certainly know people like this. It’s a must to break this trap and find a way to enjoy water. Perhaps a little visual flair of fruit will spice up your seemingly boring water schedule. Fly Paper lets us know that “Everyone knows that drinking water is the easiest way to stay hydrated. But did you know that drinking melon water is even better? Not only does it add some welcome flavor to your bland ol’ H2O, but adding chunks of watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew will actually hydrate your vocal cords and throat faster than plain water. The molecules of the melon are larger than those of water, and therefore stay in the vocal tract longer, resulting in higher levels of hydration!”

One behavior that we can really get behind is the art of muscle memory. If you can get in the habit of always carrying a water bottle on you, not only will it become muscle memory as you’ll go to reach for it in all of those moments of peace - such as waiting at a red light - but you’ll be doing your body so good by adding this little habit to your day. In addition to carrying water around and keeping it casual, you can also incorporate water into your solid food diet. “We often forget that we can get much of our hydration from food as well, specifically plants that add a source of nutrients to our body too! Raw, uncooked foods like salads, fresh fruits, and veggies will increase your water content and keep you hydrated. Keep things like cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, strawberries, and grapes in the rotation so you can “eat your water.If you must cook your vegetables, just be aware that that often removes much of the water and nutrient value. And of course any kind of melon, and specifically watermelon, will hydrate you fast.“

While it’s crucial to pay attention to what your daily intake is - let’s discuss what’s affecting your body in the negative. One massive culprit that is always up for debate is one thing that so many of us are hooked on - caffeine. This is a major player in your dehydration. Pay attention to other items like salt, that will have a similar effect on you and your vocal quality. 

Finally, if you’re really struggling to get this healthy havit up and running - find a way to be accountable for your daily intake. You can keep it simple and just mark your wrist every time you have a glass, or you could get a little more disciplined by setting alarms all day to remind yourself to drink another glass or having a magnified schedule up on your kitchen wall. Whatever you do, do whatever makes you actually want to do it.