Here we are at the border of winter once again and I am reminded in tangible ways that I need to pay attention to watering – myself, my instruments, my home… everything. We live in an extremely dry climate and it is easy to forget how much we need to do deliberately to counteract the dehydrating effects of our environment.
When it comes to our guitars or ukuleles, that means keeping them in the cases with a humidifier (make sure you frequently top up the sponge!). I know that it takes more effort to practice if it means taking the instrument out of the case, dealing with the humidifier, maybe the strap, finding the capo…. and I know how much simpler it all becomes if you can just leave it all out on a stand. I’m with you.
But the truth is that your instrument is made of wood (even those with fiberglass or plastic bodies have wood tops and fretboards) and wood responds to environmental conditions. What that means for us in the Rocky Mountains is that it dries and cracks – you don’t want that to happen! So unless you have a humidity controlled display case or your home humidity system keeps a consistent room humidity of about 40-60% (tropical), keep it in the case, with a humidifier.
The same thing goes for that other instrument we all deal with – ourselves. Right now as the season changes, the air is sucking us dry, quite literally. Drinking lots of water is extremely important. This goes for our all ’round health as well as our vocal health specifically. Our bodies need that liquid – and the first areas that get that served are our major organs. If your body is feeling dehydrated, the first place that water goes is into keeping us alive. Only then do the less major places get a drink as it were, including things like vocal folds and fascia and skin. So if you only drink water when you are singing, you are not meeting the point.
Drinking lots of water is a good change – but the first thing you’ll notice is that you need to, um, powder your nose a lot. Stick with it. Your body is not used to absorbing that much liquid so yes – it will go through you to begin with, maybe for as long as a month, if you’re consistent in your increased intake. But once you DO start absorbing it you won’t have to pee all the time and you’ll feel better all over.
Making a habit of drinking water is one of the best things you can do. Once your body is properly hydrated on a regular basis, you will almost definitely witness the benefits in your singing. It’s a long, cold, dry winter. A beautiful season where we live – both to enjoy the snow and blue skies and to stay warm and play guitar inside.
As for me right now, time for a glass of water.