Whether you love joining friends for Christmas caroling, belting it out at a karaoke joint or going solo in the shower, your hormones affect your singing voice in various ways depending on which week you’re in your cycle, making you better at singing certain songs.
Curious to find out more? Come fa-la-la-la-la–ow along with me as explain how:
Week 1: During your Week 1 (which is your period week), you’re better at giving gritty, soulful renditions reminiscent of Joni Mitchell’s re-recorded Both Sides Now. That’s because your voice is a bit deeper and hoarser during menstruation due to water retention putting pressure on your throat, according to a 2011 study in the journal PLOS ONE.
Week 2: When you want to wow a crowd with the kind of vocal range that would make Mariah Carey jealous, aim to do your singing during Week 2 of your cycle (the week leading up to and including ovulation). This is when it’s easier to hit high notes thanks to high estrogen reducing bloat and lubricating and providing more elasticity to your vocal chords, reveals a 1993 study in the Journal of Voice.
Week 3: Go back to your Joni Mitchell impression because rising progesterone in your Week 3 (the week right after ovulation) is triggering water retention that gives you that deeper, rougher sound again. And a drop in estrogen is taking away that remarkable Week 2 ability to shatter glass with your high notes.
Week 4: During your Week 4 (your premenstrual week), consider covering singers who are better known for their poignant and insightful lyrics than for their, ahem, vocal quality, such as Bob Dylan. That’s because your singing chops take a serious licking as plunging estrogen reduces vocal range, saps vocal power, triggers vocal fatigue and makes your voice a bit shaky, according to a 2001 study and 1999 study in the Journal of Voice.
The takeaway here?
If you’re looking to make a demo tape for a singing competition, introduce a new song to your audience or simply wow a pal with your vocal prowess, definitely schedule it for Week 2 of your cycle, which is when your voice will naturally be at its best and you’ll find it easier to reach all the high notes you want.
And if you’re singing at a time in your cycle when hormone levels are dinging your voice a bit, try overcoming this hormonal hurdle by doing more vocal warm-up exercises, lubricating your vocal chords with warm tea, honey or eating a slice of raw apple like Patty Smyth does, and reducing your intake of salty foods to limit hoarseness-triggering water retention.
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[Photo: ali anne]