Keep Your Voice Moist!

Keep Your Voice Moist!

Here is a guest blog by my friend and colleague Voice and Performance Coach Laurece West. To receive The Artful Voice, a weekly e-zine with voice wisdom writings, videos and home practices to improve your singing and speaking sign up at


Are you currently using a humidifier? All professional vocalists understand the importance of moisture both internally and externally for vocal health.

Let’s explore it so perhaps I can encourage you to get yourself set up so you have more comfort, vocal endurance, longevity, ease and a great sound.

The lungs and vocal cords are happiest in a moist environment. The lungs need moisture to easily expand and contract, thus with every breath we need internal moisture for easy lung movement. Yet, we lose humidity with each exhalation! Think of the fog we create exhaling on a cold day. Most people breathe 10 – 18 times a minute. That translates into losing small amounts of internal moisture 14,400 – 24,960 times each a day!!

The relative humidity of the air has a great impact on how much moisture we lose through breathing and our skin. Breathing in drier air requires more internal moisture to compensate. Outside during the summer or winter, due to rain or snow, the relative humidity may be high. But inside, with the heat or air conditioning on, the air becomes significantly drier. With a wood stove the humidity can be even lower. Who hasn’t awakened to a dry nose and throat in the middle of winter? And another easy indication of inside humidity…who’s skin isn’t dry?

The simple solution: buy humidifiers! Run them in your major living spaces during the winter, and especially in your bedroom as you sleep. Keep it clean. I use the cold water, sonicating, mist humidifiers. These use light sound vibrations to change the water into mist. I advise against the types of humidifiers (still being sold) that use a filter to wick up the water that the fan blows against. Beware! One year I had such a humidifier. I let it sit a week or two and unbeknownst to me it grew mold. When I turned it back on I didn’t realize until after I got sick that I had been blowing mold spores all over my bedroom! Yech. For the first time in years I had a respiratory infection. I personally also don’t prefer the type of humidifier that heats the water to create mist as I think it allows a better breeding ground for bacteria. I want to know that the only thing going into my air is mist.

For my home I use one that holds more than a gallon so it will run for 16 hours. There are small humidifiers you can buy for your office.

So let’s say you are traveling, but not yet a touring singer or speaker who would travel with a humidifier. You get to a place that is really dry. Run the shower and either get in or sit in the closed bathroom and breathe the moist air. Ten minutes of this twice or three times a day will help.

Remember to stay well hydrated internally as the vocal cords have a gel component that acts as a shock absorber. We need to be internally lubricated for the gel to be at the best viscosity. You need 8 oz of water per 20 pounds of body weight per day. Drink more if you are exercising, in dry weather, in air-conditioning or heat, drinking caffeine or alcohol, when your skin is dry, detoxing from illness, releasing mucous, and when flying.

Keep your skin well hydrated with your favorite moisturizer. I like coconut and sesame oils.

And really enjoy those showers and baths! Think of how much singing we do in the shower. That small tiled room creates great acoustics so the voice sounds more resonant. Using a bathroom as a vocal booth has been a trick of many recording artists, including myself. But in addition to a great sound, it is the moisture and warmth that really loosens us up. Maybe the playful associations of childhood bath time put us in a good mood too. And the skin is undergoing a chemistry change, as the water changes the charges on the skin we not only feel free of the obvious dirt, but cleansed, lighter and freer. What ideal conditions for singing and speaking!

Until next time, Sing and Speak from your…



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Many Blessings, Laurece

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