Coffee and singing

I am currently the music director at my church, but I also love my morning coffee. This unfortunately presents a problem, because caffeien and singing do not play well together. Thus , I have a two-part question:

Part the First: What exactly does caffeine do to affect singing? I have heard something about how it “dries out the vocal cords,” but I’m not sure I buy that.

Part the Second: Is there some way to mitigate the effects of caffeine on my singing voice that does not involve actually giving up the hot, dark goodness that is my morning coffee?

John W. Kennedy? Anybody?

Basically, it’s good to avoid anything that will “dry” you out. This means anything that will thicken the mucous on your vocal cords. Caffiene is a mild diuretic and is good to be avoided, as is acids, antihistamines, not drinking enough water, etc. Caffiene + Acid = Coffee or colas. Sorry.

A Google Answer page with a lot of good links for improving vocal clarity.

I suppose you could offset your coffee by drinking extra water but I don’t know. When I was training, my coach forbade all dark liquids or alcohol. But that was operatic training and a little overboard at that.

And this page lists several things that are both good and bad as you use your voice…

Good Luck!

Aieee! These are a few of my favorite things. (You could make a song out of that.)
In reading your links, I ran across something odd. The Google answer page you listed has a bunch of links, one of which is to this site , which contains the following:

This seems flaky to me. What sort of sound can vocal cords make make on their own?

My former teacher said she’d never noticed a difference in what she ate or drank unless it was right before she was going to sing. I noticed that I hate the feeling in my throat if I drank soda right beforehand, and I avoided eating huge meals right beforehand, but otherwise I didn’t change anything. I only drink a cup of coffee a day anyway, and when I was taking lessons I was drinking more water than I am right now anyway.

This is, of course, anecdotal. Your teacher may have different ideas. There’s nothing wrong with avoiding caffeine anyway, except for getting off of it. Ick.

When I studied voice (late high school/early college) I was never told to avoid caffeine, but the diuretic thing makes sense. I was, however, told to stop chewing gum, because it tightens the jaw.

That’s a new one on me, but it does remind me of another question: I have seen mention in some things I have read – including some of the things linked to by deVena – of “lowering the larynx.” To what exactly does this term refer?

One further question, although I might be better off to start another thread:

Is there a handy-dandy practice technique for improving the bottom end of one’s range? The whole coffee thing reminded me of this because the lower end seems to be the first thing the caffeine takes away.