Yesterday I was talking with a singer friend of mine who let’s just say likes to drink
And by drink I mean he likes to take a lot of alcohol
And he wanted to know if alcohol was affecting his singing voice and if there’s anything he needed to be prepared of.
There has been a lot of talk about what singers are supposed to be aware of especially when it comes to vocal health.
There are foods that you need to avoid because they cause more harm than good for your voice.
And then there are exercises that you need to keep up with to strengthen your vocal cords and find your vocal range.
But what about alcohol?
What are the effects of alcohol on your singing voice?
Is is good or is it bad and should be avoided completely?
In this article, we will be looking at everything we need to know about alcohol and how it affects your singing voice.
Here is an article I wrote showing you how to sing
What is alcohol made of?
Before we can begin to look at the effects of alcohol on you as a singer, we need to see what are the components of alcohol.
According to wikipedia, alcohol is any organic compound in which the OH group is bound to a saturated carbon atom.
Most times it is referred to as ethanol, which is the type that is commonly found in your beverages and drinks.
To fully understand the effects of alcohol on your singing voice, you need to know that alcohol is made by a process called fermentation.
Fermentation is simply a process whereby you take carbohydrates such as grains, fruits and vegetables and leave them to ferment.
After some time the carbohydrates turn to alcohol.
Does alcohol affect your singing voice?
The simple answer is YES.
Allow me to explain in detail why. Here are some effects of alcohol
One thing you need to know is that drinking alcohol causes dehydration.
According to this guys, excess intake of alcohol can cause dehydration in your body.
What happens is that alcohol being a diuretic makes you lose water from your body. This usually happens either by excess sweating or by peeing a lot.
When this happens you become dehydrated with your mouth and vocal cords going dry.
Now try singing with a dry mouth.
You know very well that your vocal cords and the muscles need to be hydrated to function properly?
So how do you hope to achieve that when you are dehydrated and your mouth is dry?
This is one of the negative effects of alcohol and why you should avoid it like the plague.
2. High level of mucous production
Another disadvantage of consuming alcohol is that it produces a lot of mucous in your vocal folds.
Now you might think that this is normal as mucous is usually produced by your vocal folds.
But where it becomes bad is when it is produced in excess.
When it becomes excess, it reduces your vocal fold flexibility.
Simply put, this means that it becomes really difficult for you to sing within your vocal range and brings about the uncomfortable feeling of wanting to clear your throat.
As you know, this is both an uncomfortable and annoying thing to keep doing.
Here is an article I wrote that shows you how to sing like Ariana Grande
3. Dilated blood vessels and capillaries
Another side effect of alcohol consumption is dilated blood vessels and capillaries.
What this means is that when you take excess alcohol, it tends to disrupt your circulatory system
When this happens, it then restricts the amount of blood that is flowing from your heart to your vocal cords and your larynx.
This is one of the reasons why people have a hoarse voice after drinking alcohol
Without getting into too much scientific, know that alcohol is bad for you especially as a singer.
4. It causes you to be numb
Most people like to take a drink before singing or before a performance.
They argue that it helps them relax and most times takes away the feelings of nervousness they experience.
While this is not a bad thing, it might be causing you more harm than good.
For example, your throat and larynx muscles are responsible for producing sounds. When they go numb, then you just might have the reason while you sing off pitch always.
Also alcohol strips your body of vitamin B which is necessary for the proper functioning of your nervous system.
When this happens, you find out that your nerves and the flexibility of your vocal cords are greatly affected.
Is it all bad news?
While you might feel that alcohol is bad and you should avoid it, it actually has some benefits
Research has found that taking 8 to 14 glasses of red wine per week actually helps in reducing cold.
It was suspected that this had something to do with the antioxidants found in the wine.
Here is an article I wrote that shows you how to sing like Chris Brown
What can you take instead?
This article will not be complete if I do not give you an alternative to alcohol.
While i have talked extensively about foods to avoid here and some foods that are good for your singing voice, here are some tips to help you get started.
- Lemon and honey
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Herbal tea
There is no way to sugarcoat this.
Alcohol is bad for your singing voice.
The disadvantages far outweigh the advantages (if any)