In the June 2003 “Journal of Voice”, a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information was published entitled, “Effect of hydration and vocal rest on the vocal fatigue in amateur karaoke singers”. Noting that it’s not uncommon for karaoke singers in Asia to sing for hours at a time, the researchers grabbed 20 amateur singers and gave them some specific measurable vocal tasks to do during a long karaoke session. Half were given water to drink and regular breaks to rest their vocal chords while the other half just went for it; no stopping and no water.
As you might imagine, the results were predictable. According to the abstract, “The subjects who were given hydration and vocal rests sang significantly longer than those who did not take any water or rest. The voice quality, as measured by perceptual and acoustic measures, and vocal function, as measured by phonetogram (that’s the thing-a-ma-jig that they used for the testing), did not show any significant changes during singing in the subjects who were given water and rest during the singing. However, subjects who sang continuously without drinking water and taking rests showed significant changes in the jitter measure (an indication of their voice quality) and the highest pitch they could produce during singing.”
Our rehearsals run for a solid two hours and with the swapping around of which-part-is-singing-now and the midpoint break, the vocal rest is covered. The other piece is up to you. Did you bring water to keep the pipes hydrated? It not only keeps you singing at your best during rehearsal, it also keeps you from sounding like a chain smoker the next day.