Hi. I'm Anya Singleton. I want to talk about how to take care of your voice; some basic things to do.
The main thing is you should think about how much you're using your voice. Think about strain; it's really easy for us to strain our voice. If we go to a party, for example, and it's loud and the music's loud, it's really easy to scream over music. You want to think about in your daily life, how you're using your voice. That seems like a basic piece of advice, but I've learned the hard way that you want to think about every day how you're using your voice, so that when you go to sing, it's not a completely new world. Talking and singing are related, so you want to make sure that you're not blowing your voice out when you're on your daily life, because you need to use it for singing.
Another thing to think about is that the vocal folds are a muscle. If you think about it, you wouldn't take . . . if you were going to go for a huge run; you wouldn't just run outside and start running a marathon. You would actually warm up, you would take the time to stretch, and it's the same thing with taking care of your voice. Take the time to practice, take the time to warm up; those things are key. It doesn't have to be long, but it has to be something so that your voice is ready to go and it's not a shock to the vocal folds.
Other basics are things like trying not to drink an ice-cold drink before you sing. Some people are fine with that; I find that to be jarring. It's the same thing, I feel, as the analogy that I used earlier of having very cold muscles, and then expecting them to perform at top flight. You really want to make sure everything is warmed up and ready to go.
The last thing is, when you're taking care of your voice, you want to think about what it is that you want your voice to do. If you're in an emo/screamo band and you need to scream at the top of your lungs because that's the kind of music you do, that's fine, but you're going to have to come up with a regime that takes care of your voice in a different way than if you're an opera singer. Customize what's the best way for you to take care of your voice so that you can use it in a way that it's going to be available for you, you'll be able to sustain it, and you'll still have it even as you get older and things change.