How to relax your vocal cords

Updated April 17, 2017

Vocal cords will suffer if you are tense, stressed or don't take the time to look after them. Short, tight vocal cords affect your singing ability and can lead to a hoarse voice, sore throat and inflammation and infection in the larynx. Relaxation and moisture are the most important factors. Relaxed, moist vocal cords will stay healthy and keep you sounding great.

Sit in a comfortable place. Make tight fists with your hands, then relax them. Tense your leg muscles, hold the tension for a few seconds then let them go limp. Do the same with your jaw muscles.

Smile widely and hold it for 60 seconds. Allow your body to relax, but don't stop smiling. Enjoy the positive feeling as endorphins are released by the brain.

Shake both arms vigorously, then let them hang limp by your sides. Do the same with your hands. Move your head from side to side and back and forward to relax your neck muscles. Open your mouth wide, then control the movement as you close it. Be aware of how your muscles feel as you do these tension-releasing exercises.

Drink plenty of water every day to keep your vocal cords moist. Fill a spray bottle with water and spray down your throat regularly.

Practice singing while showering. The steam from the shower fills the air with moisture, which helps relax and elongate the vocal cords.

Cut out alcohol and caffeine, which shorten the vocal cords. Stop smoking, because the chemicals in cigarettes and cigars dry out the vocal cords.

Push the air deep down into the abdomen when you are singing, which is known as singing from the diaphragm. Breathing deeply pushes the diaphragm downwards, and as you breathe out again it springs back up, pushing the air out without straining the vocal cords.

Practice breathing exercises to master air control. Sit in a comfortable chair. leaning forward until your stomach is resting on your upper thighs. Let your arms drop down towards the floor. Breathe in deeply, letting the air move your upper body upwards. Exhale slowly as your upper body moves back down onto your thighs.

Lie flat on a carpeted floor, with a cushion under your head. Sit a large book on your stomach. Breathe in and out slowly to move the book up and down.

Things You'll Need

  • Water spray
  • Large book
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About the Author

C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."