Hydration for Music Pros

Musician with water bottle


Best beverage to drink during a performance: WATER!

Before, during, and after each performance, you need to replace the fluid you lose through sweat and singing. Not replacing most of the fluid that is lost could impair your performance. When performing in the heat or at higher altitudes (above 8,200 ft or 2,500 meters), you will need to drink more fluid to compensate for the extra fluid that is lost. If you are a vocalist, staying hydrated is extremely important for maintaining good vocal health.

Why does everyone keep telling you to drink water?

Water is required for the body to function. Water is an essential component of body tissues, works to maintain body temperature, and is important for vocal health (keeping vocal folds hydrated). Water lost throughout the day through the mouth, sweat, and human waste needs to be replaced.

Consuming water throughout the day, not just while performing, is important to hydrate the body, help stay energized, and optimize vocal performance.

How much should you drink?

How much fluid you need to drink is unique to you and the environment where you perform (temperature, humidity, altitude, etc.). How much you regularly sweat and how accustomed you are to the particular environment are important factors in determining the amount of fluid you need to consume. Also, if you are a vocalist and/or spend a significant amount of time talking, you will need additional fluid to compensate for the extra fluid lost through your mouth. A registered dietitian or doctor can help you determine the amount of water you need to feel and perform your best.

When do you need a sports drink like Gatorade?

Sports drinks such as Gatorade are made up of water with sugar and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) added. The carbs from sugar in these beverages provide fuel and help to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). The added electrolytes replace electrolytes lost through sweat.

Sports drinks are typically used during vigorous exercise that lasts longer than 1 hour. If your performance involves continuous vigorous activity that lasts over 1 hour (similar to running for over an hour), consuming a sports drink while you perform may be beneficial. However, if your performance does not involve constant vigorous activity lasting over 1 hour, the sports drink will provide calories from the sugar that can contribute to weight gain and extra sodium that can raise blood pressure.

Does caffeine cause dehydration?

Recent research shows consuming moderate amounts of caffeine (less than 180mg per day) is not likely to cause dehydration. However, beverages containing caffeine should not be used to rehydrate the body. Also, some voices may be more sensitive than others to moderate amounts of caffeine.

Caffeine Content of Common Beverages:

Beverage Serving Size Caffeine
Regular Coffee, drip 5 fl oz 110 -150mg
Tea, brewed 5 minutes 5 fl oz 20-50mg
Regular or Diet Cola 1 can (12 fl oz) 35-47mg
Red Bull 1 can (8.3 fl oz) 80mg