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What to drink during practice and on stage

Howdy! What does Ken Tamplin recommend we drink during a band practice or during a show?

I've recently been drinking hot water mixed with pineapple juice and noticed it helps a lot during recording sessions. However, it was not so great for live singing because the back of my throat eventually gets super dry from the citric acid. My throat typically gets that dry after a minute of continuous, no break, only small breath singing. From there my voice cracks like crazy (even though my chords are in pretty damn good shape). As soon as I take a sip, however, my voice returns to normal until about a minute later when it starts cracking again from a continuous verse-chorus.

I sing with some heavy distortion like A7X and GnR and Ken says that that type of singing dries out the chords faster-- Any ideas on what I should be drinking during live sessions to help mitigate that dryness in the back of the throat?


  • MatsyMatsy Pro Posts: 168
    edited July 2017
    Hmm, I believe pineapple is not good for the voice, at least this is what I have heard. It's one of those false things where someone once said it was good for the voice... but turns out it isn't.

    Unfortunately once bad info gets out there it is nearly impossible to get rid of and everyone propagates it.

    Like that false premise that when we eat chocolate it triggers the same hormones as when we fall in love - this was something that was made up and deliberately propagated to see how many people would lap it up. And boy did they ever.

    Plain old water is best.
  • Caw_Im_A_RavenCaw_Im_A_Raven Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 22
    Okie Dokie! I'll try it out and see how it goes. Thank ye!
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,353
    Room temperature water is best.

    Avoiding vocal techniques that use a lot of air which dries out the cords is good prevention.

    Water doesn't actually reach the cords for about twenty minutes or more after you drink it. If it went down the trachea where you larynx is, you would choke to death. The epiglottis closes over your windpipe when you drink. It does feel good, though, to take a drink when your throat is feeling dry and parched.

    It's best to avoid breathy singing. That's why learning to cut back the air and also using good cord closure is healthy for the voice. Less air = more moisture. You'll also find that a little bit of distortion can go a long way. So you don't really have to "pour it on" when you distort for it to sound sufficiently gnarly.

    What you are describing as how quickly you need to drink in order to continue singing does not sound healthy to me. Without hearing or seeing you, I can't tell what you may be overdoing, but that's not normal. You should be able to sing for hours with only a sip of water here or there. I do drink big swigs of water when I am able during gigs, but if for some reason I can't stop playing and singing to get a drink, it's just an inconvenience, not a singing emergency.
  • bentkbentk Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,650
    I agree with the room temperature water. Nothing cold or too hot. No sugary drinks, and probably no coffee during the set. Coffee is not much of an issue for me, but i would avoid it just before and during the set.

    Keep yourself hydrated every day, you can easily spread the consumption of 2 liters of water over the day. You should not need liters of water during the set, unless it's terribly warm. Just some sips here and there, or like you would do normally when you don't sing.

    All the best,

  • KevinGremKevinGrem Pro Posts: 217
    Honestly a beer two can do wonders for the voice. Just don't get drunk before a performance.
  • Caw_Im_A_RavenCaw_Im_A_Raven Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 22
    edited August 2017
    An update on this - I experimented yesterday. Here is what happened:
    - I did all of the Vol. 3 exercises and I only ran into cracking/chord-drying trouble on the E vowel (my least favorite haha). I was able to hit all of the notes on pitch except for some of the high ones on the E vowel when my left chord decided to dry up. I only do Ken Tamplin's Vol. 3 with a clean tone.
    - After warming up, I was able to sing several demanding Iron Maiden songs with a distortion tone without any trouble
    - As soon as I tried to sing the high note (F5) with distortion on Guns N Roses' "Dead Horse", my left vocal chord dried up and I tried to push through, but every note was cracking until I drank a sip of water. IMMEDIATELY after drinking a small sip, I could sing again - no sweat. I could even do that long F5 note with distortion-- but only once or twice in a row before the left chord dried again. I had the same experience in other songs with anything higher than an Eb5.
    - After practicing those cover songs, I was able to record my original stuff and hit an Eb5 many times without any dryness or cracking with the distortion tone. My voice sounded normal.
    - At the end of the day, I sang some power metal songs about dragons for fun (all with a clean tone) and was able to sing an F5 several times in a row, cleanly, without drying up at all.

    Here's my conclusion:
    - My left vocal chord is drying up extremely quickly anytime I go higher than an Eb5 using Hyper Glottal Compression (distortion tone). The issue is resolved immediately after a sip of water; however, I believe it will get worse and creep down into the lower notes if I don't take some sort of action such as resting or seeing an ENT.
    - My left vocal chord takes more of a beating due to my right nostril being closed 90% of the time. It also is my dominant vocal chord (I have no idea why) and I can't seem to get my right vocal chord to take the same amount of pressure when singing. It may have to do with my tongue placement or my overall jaw shape leaning slightly to the left.

    Other significant info:
    - I drink 2 cups of coffee in the morning
    - I sleep with a warm mist humidifier
    - I take green algae, vitamin d, fish oil, and vitamin e
    - I drink orange juice when eating meals
    - I typically don't eat crap food especially when I know I'm going to sing that day
    - I drink a crapload of water between meals
    - I drink 2-3 landsharks (light beer) occasionally at night when I'm not singing
    - I sing primarily after 4pm on average

    I'm mainly just thinking out loud here, but if anyone has any thoughts or advice - I am certainly all ears. Thanks!
  • Caw_Im_A_RavenCaw_Im_A_Raven Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 22
    Turns out I have a granuloma and now I have to lower my acidic food intake. This means I have to lower my coffee, orange juice, and Landshark intake :'(
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,353
    At least now you know what's going on. :-(
  • bentkbentk Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,650
    Sorry to hear about the granuloma, get well soon!

    On the plus side, sticking to water is a very healthy option :)
  • Caw_Im_A_RavenCaw_Im_A_Raven Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 22
    Good news- I was able to fix this by taking vitamin B12. I had band practice before a live show and my voice was cracking like crazy. The next day I took some vitamin B12 and my voice only cracked like twice during the live show and during my warmups prior to the show. I now take it regularly about 2x a week and haven't had any issues since. But, damn that was my absolute nightmare. It was depressing as hell hearing my voice crack like that for like 2 weeks straight.
  • omkarpanchamomkarpancham Member, 2.0 ENROLLED Posts: 91
    edited March 2018
    I will also try to see if I can get Vitamin B12 on the counter medicine.

  • AlyonaAlyona Member, Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 288
    I drink room temperature water on stage, between several songs. One or 2 sips.
    I noticed that any juice or any sweet drink helps to produce mucus, and that's what we don't want to have when we sing. It just have to be moistured. Also citrus, sweet citrus, fruits, milk can give some mucus in the throat. That makes it feel heavy. also no carbonated and not hot and not cold.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 2,111
    Room temperature water is what I mostly drink. I may have coffee if I need something warm, and even then it's just black.

    Peace, Tony
  • AlyonaAlyona Member, Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 288
    As Ken said that coffee can also dry the body a bit. So it's good to drink water in between, and maybe before or after coffee))))
  • bentkbentk Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,650
    I like to keep coffee before the work-out or after. Or none at all. I usually drink a strong espresso, and it's drying effect is very minimal as i sip water constantly throughout my workouts and singing.

    Keep hydrated throughout the whole day and drink water during singing. That is the most important.

    On the other hand, if you drink 20 cups of coffee in a day, that might counter your attempts at hydration...

    All the best,

  • AlyonaAlyona Member, Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 288
    20 cups - ahaha right. Some people do drink a lot of strong coffee - I'm curious if they can fall asleep at all. If I drink coffee after 16.00 - I can't fall asleep at night. ))
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