Keep your voice healthy this winters with these simple tips.

Singers AND NON-singers…we all need healthy voices. Your voice is your communication. A healthy voice means a healthy body. If you suffer from allergies, wake up with a sore throat, always get the flu in the winter, these health tips are for you. I’ve been using them for years and I’m happy to share them with you.

I have to keep my voice healthy 24/7. I never know when I am going to be called into a vocal session, sing at a gig, teach a lesson, have a phone meeting, etc…my voice is my work. I take extra care to keep my voice healthy in the winter months that can be cruel on the vocal chords. Combine that with allergies and we are all in for a mess in the winter. Gross.  Here is what I have found to work for me to keep my voice healthy year round.

  1. HYDRATE: I know we all know this one. Drink water water water. Hydration is the key to a healthy voice. I drink 1 Liter for every 50 lbs. of body weight. Water helps your body produce mucous, mucous keeps your chords lubricated and allow them to move with ease when producing sound. Besides all the other wonderful benefits of hydration. Water also helps flush the toxins from your body keeping your body healthy and strong enough to fight germs. I like to drink 2 glasses of water first thing in the morning with lemon. I carry a bottle of water with me the rest of the day and keep sipping.
  1. SLEEP: Without enough sleep your muscles cannot perform at their best. Your vocal chords are muscles. You need adequate sleep to make sure: 1. Your body is healthy and fighting off winter flu & viruses and 2. Your vocal chords and body are strong and rested enough to perform at peak level when it comes to speaking and singing. If I don’t get enough sleep, I have a hard time singing. And there is no fix for a tired voice but rest.
  1. SCARF: My vocal teacher gave me this tip when I was very young and I still use it to this day. It might sound obvious, but cover up! A scarf protects your neck from the cold, keeping your vocal chords warm and safe. Personally, if I get sick it always starts in my throat. Wearing a scarf helps keep the fortress strong around your treasured vocal area.
  1. MANUKA HONEY: This is a delicious one. Manuka honey is a honey known to have antibacterial qualities. It boosts your immunity and helps fight allergies and viruses. Warm water, Manuka honey, and lots of lemon. Sooo yummy, and so good for you. Manuka Honey is also used to heal wounds and disease. Read about Manuka Honey on WebMD .
  1. HUMIDIFIER: The winter months make everything dry. Your skin, hair, nails, AND throat. And then your heater sucks whatever moisture might be left in the room out and dries us up completely. Sleeping with the heater on can make you wake up feeling dehydrated, similar to the feeling of being hung over. Invest in a humidifier to combat the moisture sucking heater and winter wind. They are not that expensive and do wonders for your voice. They also help your skin stay hydrated in the winter. Well well worth it. Keep your voice hydrated and healthy.
  1. WARM UPS- Do your vocal warm ups. See some of my other videos. And give yourself a little extra time to warm up that voice. The cold can constrict the chords, do some slow and relaxing warm ups to start and add a couple extra minutes to your warm up routine if need be. Don’t judge yourself for taking a little longer to get that voice moving.
  1. NASAL RISE: Another trick I LOVE is the neti pot. I know it’s super odd and a little awkward to do in the beginning, but it’s soooooo good. Warm water, saline solution and rinse it through your nasal cavity with a neti pot. It rehydrates your sinus, flushes out the toxins, keeping the bad guys away and repopulates with the good guys. More on WebMD 
  1. AVOID alcohol/caffeine: I know you can’t always avoid these items. But they are both really dehydrating for your body. If you are feeling vocal fatigue and a little cold coming in, avoid these two items for a little while.

Stay warm and healthy friends.

As always, please feel free to ask questions and comment below. Follow for more updates.
Sonnet Simmons





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Is your voice tired by the end of the day?

I heard a story the other day of a teacher who told his students, he couldn’t answer their questions on break, he needed to rest his voice for lecture because he was experiencing vocal fatigue. I have another yoga teacher who came to see me with a similar problem, she couldn’t get though a class without feeling vocally exhausted, strained, and hoarse. And what about teachers who teach 8 hours a day with bad acoustics, having to speak over the disruption of kids in class? I had another client once who was in sales, and halfway through her day, she didn’t want to make any more calls her voice was so tired. Vocal fatigue and soreness can be experienced in a lot of professions, but it doesn’t have to be a “part of the Job” any longer.

Tired Voices Sonnet Music

So what can you do about it? If you feel vocal fatigue and hoarseness at the end of your work day, chances are you need some vocal rehabilitation and to learn how to use your voice properly to support the sound you are making and eliminate pain and fatigue. I will give you 3 tools you can use today to start rehabilitating your voice and strengthening it for good.

Vocal fatigue can become a serious problem. As a singer, if my voice starts giving me signs of fatigue, I back off because I know, singing on tired swollen vocal chords can cause more long-term damage. The same is true for continuing to speak day after day without proper vocal support. The compounded result of using your voice incorrectly and pushing though the pain can cause long-term damage and sometimes require surgery. So…let’s learn how to use that voice and breath support to have a pain-free dynamic experience speaking each day.

3 Vocal Tools to eliminate vocal pain and fatigue when speaking.

  1. Support:

Not going to get out of this one people. BREATHING. I mean it is everything. You cannot make sound without breath…it is what makes the sound through your vocal chords and it is what you need to support your voice when you speak.

When you speak powered by your diaphragm, not your throat, you will find your true voice and be able to project rather than yell to increase your volume. Connecting your voice to your breath is number 1 in my book for increasing your vocal strength and eliminating fatigue.

Watch my video here for a quick easy breathing exercise to get you on your way to diaphragm breathing. Practice this exercise daily, and start to be aware of when you are breathing correctly and when you are not. You want the power of your voice to come from your diaphragm, not your throat.

  1. Relaxation:

Okay so now we need to get your voice to relax and rehabilitate. How do we actively relax the voice besides just not speaking? The humming exercise below will help you relax your vocal chords and strengthen the connection of your voice, as well as help you find resonance for your speaking voice.

  1. Strengthen:

So now we want to connect the breath work to the sound. Vocal warm ups and exercises are vital for this part. A great one to start off with is Humming. Humming is an amazing, accessible and relaxing exercise to get your voice to open up and also start connecting your voice to your breath. You can watch my video here for an example. Humming using your proper breath support learned above and feel the vibration in the mask of your face, not in your throat, that is where we want the sound to resonate!

You can look up other warm ups online, see my videos, find a local vocal coach and start practicing your vocal warm ups for vocal strength and connection. Remember, always use proper breath support when you are doing any of these exercises.

AND one more tip for good measure – Drink lots of water. The vocal chords vibrate extremely quickly even making the smallest sound. Water helps your throat stay hydrated and helps mucus production keeping the chords lubricated and moving with ease.

This information is not a substitute for medical advice. If you’re voice continues to feel strained and in pain and you are constantly hoarse, please visit an ENT for more personalized attention.

As always, please comment and questions are welcome.

Happy Healthy Speaking and Singing!

Sonnet Simmons






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Singing is my New Resolution!

Is learning how to sing or improve your singing on your new year’s resolution list? You are not alone. I have had a few new clients come to me with this very goal this holiday. So if that’s your goal, here are 3 simple things you can start doing today to improve and strengthen your voice.

Watch my video on 3 Tips for a better singing voice or read below.

ONE: Breathing– Singing is literally air passing through your vocal chords…if you are not breathing you are not able to sing- or for that matter live. So proper breathing and breath support is ESSENTIAL to good singing.

There is a lot I could say on diaphragm breathing, but here is a quick easy diaphragm breathing exercise to get you started. More in the video above

  1. Lay on your back
  2. Put your hands on your belly in and inhale
  3. When you inhale your hands should raise up as your belly fills with air, as you exhale your hands should lower as the air leaves your body
  4. Inhale for the count of 5 and let your hand raise up and your belly, lungs, back all expand
  5. Exhale on a Shhhhhhhh sound with a steady stream of air for a count of 10. Your hands should lower, your body comes in and you exhale.
  6. Repeat. As you get better and more connected to your diaphragm breathing, decrease the length of your inhale and increase the length of your exhale. (Just like when you sing a phrase in a song, you have a very short time to inhale all the air you need for the long phrase.)
  7. ** Pay attention to that feeling at the end of your exhale when your abdominals tug up on your diaphragm in efforts to get any last air out. That is the diaphragm connection!!
  8. For more on this please see my video.

TWO: Vocal warm ups– Okay so the vocal warm up is VITAL!! I mean if you were about to run a race, you’d do your warm up and stretches to get the best results on that race wouldn’t you. Same thing applies to singing. A proper warm up allows you to balance your voice so you have access to your full vocal range, strengthens and increases your vocal range and hit notes you didn’t think you could.

Here is one of the easiest warm ups you can do, no matter where you are. HUMMMM. Doesn’t have to be a big sound. Get the sound to tickle behind your noise, getting mask resonance. Try to keep the sound from coming from your throat.

Watch the video for a demonstration.

Another great little tip I love is humming along to an easy song. In a relaxed and non-forceful way, hum along to your favorite song and warm up your voice. There are so many more benefits from humming along to a song, we’ll have to cover another day. Remember to move the sound into the front of your face.

THREE: Make Space In Your face – Okay this is a strange one I know. But you have to realize singing is a whole body experience. Your body is the instrument. So you have to allow the air and sound vibrations to move through as they need to for each note. As you sing higher, the sound vibrations resonate higher and higher up the face. So get comfortable with letting your body be the instrument, to feeling the sound travel and vibrate in your body.

Again…the video has more details and examples.

P.S. Okay one more tip- Practice. You have to practice your breathing! You have to practice your warm ups. You have to practice to improve. It’s like going to the gym, build the muscles and the body connection, tap into your true voice, and see how your voice starts to take off.

We all know New Year’s Resolutions are hard to stick to. Check out my latest blog,  5 Steps to New Year Resolution Success to help set yourself up for success in sticking to your resolutions this year and every year!

As always, thanks for being a part of the Connect to Your Voice community. Find me on IG and facebook and follow here for more tips and tricks on everything song and singing.

Happy New Year!

Sonnet Simmons

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Well it is that time of year again…the holidays have us scurrying about to wrap up this year and start thinking about what we want for next year.

It is a time to get a little retrospective. What worked this last year? What do we want to change this year? Now is the time to take a few moments out of your day, sit with a pen a paper, and write down your goals and desires for the New Year. I know New Year’s Resolutions can seem a bit cliché – but the truth is, it really is a great time to take inventory on where you are in your life and where you want to be and set those goal markers. There is something inspiring about a new start.

Making the resolutions is the easy part, sticking to them is where the work comes in.

Here are my 5 tips on setting yourself up for success sticking to your resolutions this year. (And every year.) Special thanks to G.M. for helping me set and stick to my goals based on the advice below.

5 Tips for your new year resolutions

  1. Write it down – Declare your goals this year. Tell the universe (and yourself) what you are going to achieve this year! Get specific.
  2. Break it down – What are the steps you must take to achieve this goal? You can’t get to the top of the mountain without a lot of steps between the bottom and the top. What are those steps? Get specific and REALISTIC.
  3.  Schedule time – Get out your calendar and schedule real-time where you devote to your new goal. If you wait to see if you have time, there will be no time. Carve out REALISTIC time for the specific steps that makes sense in your schedule.  Make your weekly/monthly calendar and schedule in the action you will need to take to achieve your goals. It is better to take a long time to reach the top of the mountain rather than sprint half way and not be able to sustain. Devote realistic time each week.
  4. Take action: Keep motivated and on task by achieving one step at a time your goals. When you become overwhelmed by the big picture it can be paralyzing. Follow through on your scheduled steps, keep the steps manageable and realistic so you can stick to the action.
  5. Gratitude – This is the most important step in sticking to your goals because if you practice keeping a light and grateful heart you will enjoy the process of sticking to your goals and follow through on them. Take a moment each day to practice gratitude for where you are in your life, the process and lessons you are learning along the way, and the journey of achieving your goals. Can you be gentle with yourself to allow yourself the joy of learning and doing, rather than beating yourself down every step of the way? Give yourself the space to achieve rather than the pain of not being enough.

If singing has been on your resolution list, make 2016 your year.

Vocal lessons are more than just learning how to sing, it is learning how to use your own voice to support your express, your opinion, and your ideas; it is honing a tool we all poses, and creating a more confident, empowered, and dynamic self.

Are you ready to begin your singing journey?

Let me help you find and connect to your true voice.

Follow my blog for singing informational videos and confidence building tools and start your singing journey today.

Not another bad sunday sonnet simmons

Come out and celebrate awesome talent with us at our (Sonnet & Allee Futterer) first not anther BAD SUNDAY. This will be the first of a monthly showcase where you can show off all your best dance moves.

Sonnet + The Satellites will be opening and closing the night with some of your favorite tunes from across the decades. This event is totally free.

Redd Carter and Yonatan will also be playing sets of pure magic!

Artwork: The one and only Amelie Laurice


Connect to your voice Sonnet SimmonsCan anyone learn to sing?  This is a question I get quite often. Well, the answer is, yes. We all have the ability to connect to our voices, it’s a powerful and effective tool and part of who we are.  You may not be Celine Dion, but anyone has the ability to connect with power to his or her voice.

I am continually observing a sense of self that emerges from my clients as they begin to discover the strength and even just the sound of their own voice. It is almost like claiming a part of who you are, that you have been removed from your whole life. It is empowering and liberating. I am on a journey to discover more about the link between the voice and the person.

Wether it is a speech, a song, or a conversation you are having with a loved one, your voice is the vehicle that gets your point and emotion across. If you are supporting your voice, in touch with your voice, aware of how you are using it, you can eliminate vocal fatigue and get a more pleasing and projected sound…but more so- you can speak, sing, make sound, with confidence. And with that confidence comes a sense of risk taking. And how do we accomplish things in this life…by taking risks, by putting ourselves out there, by knowing who we are so well that it doesn’t matter what other people say or do…we stay on course, we speak our minds and we move toward our dreams.

I am in the early stages of uncovering the science behind this all, but I can tell you I am seeing it over and over again in each of my clients and it is quite impressive- the power of introducing yourself to your own voice. You have all you need, you just have to claim it, commit to it, and a little proper breath and vocal support doesn’t hurt either.

The voice is the connection between the heart and the head.

Do you have similar observations or have you felt a personal pull toward connecting to your voice? Please share and let’s discuss.