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Complexity level:
4
Project cost ($):
10
Time required:
It will take an hour to prepare for this science fair project, and 2 hours to conduct it
Material availability:
A musical keyboard, piano or organ is required. The project cost does not include the price of the musical instrument
Safety concerns:

None

Abstract

This science fair project was conducted to find out how drinking cold water will affect the ability of a person to sing. The tests were done by comparing the high notes a person can reach before and after drinking cold water.

Hypothesis

The singers will be better able to hit high pitched notes before drinking cold water.

Background

Caring for vocal health

Singers make a living with their voice. Hence, they take great care of their voice. For example, they avoid consuming too much of dairy products. They also drink a lot of water and avoid alcohol. Lastly, they try not to smoke.

Dairy products are normally more difficult to digest and as a result the body will produce a lot of mucus. This mucus enters our vocal chords and can negatively affect a singer’s voice. The additional phlegm will also irritate the throat causing the singer to cough and sneeze - and this can cause trauma to the vocal cords. In fact,singers are usually told to swallow their phlegm rather than to clear their throats.

It is important that a singer drinks enough water. Drinking water keeps the body hydrated and the vocal cords, lubricated. This reduces the amount of friction in a singer’s vocal cords and prevents them from  becoming inflamed.

A professional singer should drink more than 8 glasses of water everyday. She should not drink hot water: hot water causes blood vessels in the throat to swell, negatively affecting her vocal chords. When a singer drinks cold water, her blood vessels contract and the her throat becomes dry. Lukewarm water is most appropriate for singers.

Materials

The materials required for this science fair project are as follows:

-    5 singers from a school or church choir, or band
-    1 keyboard, piano or organ
-    a keyboardist
-    5 drinking glasses
-    1 bottle of lukewarm drinking water
-    1 bottle of ice cold drinking water

Procedure

1.    For this experiment, the independent variable is the temperature of the water. The dependent variable is the highest note that the 5 singers are able to hit. This is determined by using the keyboard organ with the help of the musician. The constants (control variables) are the amount of water the singers drink, the length of the rest period between drinking the water and singing, and the notes played on the keyboard.

2.    The 5 singers are asked to drink a glass of lukewarm water and to then rest for 15 minutes.

3.    The musician sets up the keyboard. After 15 minutes, the first singer is to go through the vocal test.

4.    The musician leads the singer by playing on the keyboard, testing whether the singer is able to hit the same notes that are being played. Start with middle-C and keep going, note by note, octave by octave until the singer is unable to continue. Record the number of notes hit by the singer. Prior to the actual test, the participants should be allowed 2 minutes of warm-up practice time.

5.    Repeat procedure number 4 with the other 4 singers.

6.    The 5 singers are  then givena glass of ice-cold water to drink and then allowed to rest for 15 minutes. Repeat procedures number 4 and 5 with them.
 

Observation

 It is observed that the number of notes that the singers were able to reach reduced after drinking the ice cold water.

Temperature of water Number of notes sung by the singers
  Singer 1 Singer 2 Singer 3 Singer 4 Singer 5
Lukewarm 12 11 9 14 17
Ice cold 10 8 7 12 14

Use the graph below to plot your results.

Vocal chords science fair project

Conclusion

The hypothesis holds true: the singers were less able to hit high pitched notes after drinking cold water.

For a singer to keep his/her vocal cords healthy, he should drink an ample amount of lukewarm water in order to ensure that there is minimal build up of mucus in his/her throat. He should not consume too much of dairy products. He should also not drink alcohol or smoke. Lastly, he should avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea..

 

Also consider

Get the singers to consume dairy products for a week. Then, conduct the experiment.

Use children of different ages and genders. How do their results compare?
 

References

Vocal health, voice care, food & drink dos & don'ts, singing techniques, free voice analysis software: http://www.consumingexperience.com/2007/07/vocal-health-voice-care-food-drink-dos.html

Singer’s vocal health tips - http://www.starsinginglessons.com/vocal-health-tips.php
 

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