Sing from your diaphragm! Don't eat cheese before singing! Only learn to sing from an amazing singer! Drink tea! Man, there is a lot of information out there about singing, and to be honest, some of it is downright "malarkey." In the age of the internet (and everyone being an expert on everything!), it is hard to know what is true and what isn't. In this month's blog, we are going to explore five of the most common myths we hear about singing!
Myth #1: You can’t improve your singing with voice lessons. You either have it or you don’t.
Umm, take it from our team of experienced voice teachers: this one is definitely incorrect! We meet many students who have never sung before and some who cannot match pitch at all. With training, patience and perseverance, many students who were told throughout their lives that they “could never sing” make incredible strides with their vocal talents.
Myth #2: Do not drink or eat dairy before singing.
This is a popular statement in the voice community! The belief is that milk products produce, and thicken, mucus. (Sorry you had to read that word.) However, there is actually little to no scientific research that actually supports this notion. “The evidence is very scarce to support any relationship between dairy consumption and either symptoms of mucus or worse asthma control,” said Dr. Sonali Bose, assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York).
However, I will say- if you believe dairy intake affects your singing personally, it doesn’t hurt to continue to avoid it.
Myth #3: Voice type (soprano, baritone, alto, etc) is only determined by vocal range.
False! While your range (the notes that are comfortable for your singing) does play a part, there are a few elements that determine your voice type. One of the biggest deciding factors is the voice's timbre, which is defined as "the character or quality of a musical sound." Think of this as the voice's color or texture- it could be dark, bright, rich, thin, etc. The flexibility of the voice can also play a part in determining the vocal type. For instance, even under the umbrella of "soprano," a soprano can be a coloratura soprano (a very agile voice!), or a lyric soprano (a light, clean sound). Ask your teacher if you'd like help determining your voice type.
Myth #4: Drinking water during your performance will hydrate your voice.
Ok, this one is a little tricky. Of course, drinking water during the performance certainly will help continue to hydrate you and feel soothing on your throat. However, as a singer practicing healthy vocal hygiene, you should keep your body hydrated constantly! Continue to drink water every day, especially in the days and hours leading up to the performance (or even your lesson!). If you wait until you have to sing to start hydrating, you’re most likely too late.
Myth #5: Do not attend your voice lesson if you’re feeling sick at all. It is not healthy to use your voice.
If you're not feeling up to it, of course it's perfectly fine to skip! However, if you’re feeling a little stuffy or have extra mucus (ha, said it again!), it is ok to attend your lesson! Your teacher can help by giving tips on how to continue to care for your voice during sickness, and go through some very gentle exercises that won’t fatigue your voice.
There you have it! If you have some “questionable information” you’ve heard along the way, it is always best to ask a professional. That’s why we’re here. ❤️