Choir waiting for its performance at the World Choir Games © Gangneung-si

5 Things to Eat and Drink Before a Choir Performance (and 3 to Avoid)

Learn what to consume on the day of a big choir performance or competition.

About Choir Singing

Singing in a choir is a physical activity — and your body needs to be in great condition if you want to perform at a high level. For that reason, great singers put a lot of focus on what they eat and drink before their choir performances.

Below, we’ll list some of the best things to eat and drink, and well as things to avoid, before you sing.

5 Things to Eat and Drink Before Singing
   

1. Water

There is no single better thing to consume on the day of a big performance than water. It has so many positive effects, it would be impossible to list them all. But the major ones include:

  • Keeping Your Vocal Folds Hydrated: Water helps your vocal folds stay lubricated, which means they can vibrate to their full potential.
     
  • Keeping Your Mouth Watered: If you’ve ever experienced singing with a dry mouth, you know how uncomfortable and distracting it can be!
     
  • Keeping Your Body Hydrated: Above all, your entire body benefits from drinking adequate water. And great singing means a healthy body!

Though water is important, you will want to lower your intake a couple hours before the performance so you won’t be interrupted by trips to the restroom.

2. Fruits and Vegetables

Whole foods like fruits and vegetables give you lots of fiber and nutrients while also avoiding high sugar and fat content. This typically leads to less risk for indigestion.

Fruits and vegetables can also support you with the energy you need, all while avoiding the energy spikes and crashes that refined carbohydrates tend to cause.

3. Non-Caffeinated Tea (especially containing licorice root)

Teas that you find relaxing are typically perfectly fine pre-singing beverages. They provide a great ritual for becoming present in your body, taking a moment to simply enjoy what you are doing and taking your mind off of the big performance.

Licorice root teas have been shown to coat your throat, reducing irritation and improving performance. So these are a favorite among many singers!

Some low-caffeine teas can work also, but you’ll need to balance that with the risks of caffeine (as we’ll see in more detail below).

4. Lean Proteins

Proteins like tofu, chicken, and fish are great foods to eat on a day you’ll be singing. They don’t cause issues in your gut, and they can make you feel satisfied for long periods of time. That comes in handy if you have a long choir competition or performance.

5. Unsalted Nuts

If you aren’t allergic, unsalted nuts provide a lot of benefits. You get tons of nutrition from them, and even a handful can keep you feeling full for quite some time. Just be sure that you are eating them unsalted, or else you’ll have to contend with the issues around salt, which we’ll dive into in the next section.

3 Things to Avoid Eating and Drinking Before Singing
   

1. Caffeine and Alcohol

Coffee seems to promise you the energy you need before a big performance, but it also comes with major problems. It can dehydrate you and also acts as a diuretic — meaning you might find you’ll need to use the restroom much more than usual.

Alcohol causes many issues with singing. For one, it lowers inhibitions and can make things more confusing, hurting your ability to focus on your voice. It also dries your vocal folds out. Last but not least, it can also send you to the restroom more than you want.

2. Salty, Greasy, and Spicy Foods

Salty foods run the risk of dehydrating you. While a little salt isn’t the worst thing in the world, managing your intake will keep you sounding your best.

And while undeniably delicious, greasy foods can cause indigestion. That’s something you want to avoid any risk of if you can. You don’t want to find yourself up on the risers with an uncomfortable stomach. That indigestion can also affect your ability to breathe and project fully — core elements of your vocal performance.

Spicy foods run the same risk as greasy foods. So put off the hot stuff until after you sing!

3. Dairy

Dairy products often encourage your body to create mucus. That can lead to issues while singing, so it’s best to avoid these foods and drinks altogether.

Final Thoughts

As a singer, you rely on your body. So when your body is at its best, your singing is, too. That means taking care to watch what you eat and drink — especially on days when you’ll be performing.

Are you looking for more tips to enhance your choir singing, make sure to follow INTERKULTUR on X, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or Youtube!

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