Voice cracking during a performance or even when you are talking can be embarrassing. Instead of letting this shake your confidence, there are ways you can prevent voice cracking, even if it has been caused by hormones. In this article, I will explain nine ways you can help prevent voice cracking in the future.
If you're not sure why your voice is cracking, take a look at these 12 common causes for voice cracking.
9 Ways To Stop Voice Cracks
1. Exercise Your Voice Regularly
Regular vocal exercises should already be part of your daily/weekly routine if you are pursuing singing. However, the reality is that many vocalists forget the importance of these exercises and don't do them as much as they should.
Daily vocal exercises (or every other day) will work to strengthen the muscles around your vocal cords. This will make them less likely to suddenly tense up or loosen (causing the cracking sound).
This is much like exercising and stretching your leg muscles - as you exercise and stretch these muscles more, there is less chance your legs will suddenly give way or cramp up.
You can find a list of daily singing exercises here. These exercises only take 20 minutes and can be done anywhere - in the shower, in the car, while you cook, etc.
2. Stay Hydrated
In order to prevent dry vocal cords (and therefore vocal strain and cracking), you should drink plenty of water throughout the day. The recommended daily intake of water is eight cups.
Ideally, you should be drinking every 30 minutes. This is best done by taking regular sips from a drink bottle. Keep in mind that it takes three hours for the water you drink to reach your vocal cords - so make sure to hydrate three hours before you sing.
3. Eat the Right Foods Before Singing
Certain foods such as dairy, fats and sugar can cause a build-up of mucous in your throat. This mucous can disrupt the airflow as you sing, creating a crack. Other consumables, such as caffeine and alcohol, can dehydrate your body.
Make sure you avoid these foods/drinks leading up to a performance. You can find a more detailed list of foods to avoid before singing here.
4. Keep Healthy
Staying healthy in general is going to help ward off any colds or other illnesses that can affect your voice. This includes maintaining a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water and getting enough nutrients.
You may also want to consider taking regular supplements for nutrients that are hard to get through food (such as Zinc or Magnesium). However, you should talk to your doctor or nutritionist about any supplements you take.
If you do happen to fall ill (it's bound to happen eventually) and you cannot avoid singing, take a look at ways you can protect your voice when singing with a cold or sore throat.
5. Protect Your Voice
Avoiding strain is something you should be doing as a singer to protect your voice long-term. But it may also be the one thing that could clear up any voice cracks.
Protecting your voice includes the following.
- Warmup your voice before you sing (see above)
- Know your vocal range and only sing within this range
- Take vocal breaks when needed (such as after a performance or after a long day of talking/singing)
- Avoid singing too loud or whispering (both can strain the voice)
6. Learn to Breathe Effectively
Within the world of singing, there is a right and a wrong way to breathe. Singers are taught to breathe from their diaphragm. If you're not sure what this means, I have explained it in this article.
As a quick summary, breathing from your diaphragm should push your stomach out instead of your chest. This type of breathing may not come naturally to you, and breathing the wrong way can make singing more difficult. This then puts strain on your vocal cords and can lead to voice cracking.
Don't worry, learning to breathe effectively (from the diaphragm) is something that can be included in your daily singing exercises. You can find some easy breathing exercises here.
7. Strengthen Your Vocal Break
Strengthening your vocal break should happen naturally with daily singing exercises. However, if you are still struggling as you transition from your normal singing voice into falsetto, you can target this part of your vocal range with specific exercises.
If you're not sure what I mean, this is the part of your vocal range where you consistently hear a crack or flip. As you sing higher, your vocal cords transition into a different mechanism of producing sound. This transition will be audible unless you train your muscles to hide it.
You can find exercises to help in this article. This article also helps to explain the differences between chest voice, head voice and falsetto (and why your voice cracks at your transition).
8. Remain Calm
To say 'don't be nervous' is not very helpful to someone who is just about to sing in front of a live audience. But the truth is, nerves are going to increase your chances of experiencing voice cracks when you sing.
You will naturally become less nervous as you sing in front of more and more live audiences. Not being worried about what others think of you also helps a great deal. But until you have gained that bit of confidence naturally, follow this link for several tips on boosting your confidence on stage.
9. See Your Doctor
If you find that nothing is working to prevent voice cracking, there may be an underlying medical condition that needs to be investigated. This includes vocal lesions that can disrupt the flow of air through your vocal cords. In order to be diagnosed, you will need to talk to your local doctor, who can then refer you to a specialist.