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Why do (some) singers sing with gum in their mouth?

As you dive deeper into the world of singing and performing, you’ll find that different singers have a variety of tricks and habits that help them improve their sound and their performance. One of which is singing with chewing gum in their mouths. Famous singers like John Lennon, David Grohl, and Bruce Springsteen have all been seen with gum while onstage.

So why do singers sing with gum in their mouths?

Singing with chewing gum can have positive impacts on the singing voice. Chewing gum can release tension in the mouth and jaw area, and it can also stimulate saliva production, which helps with lubricating your throat. Chewing gum can also be a great way to alleviate stress and nervousness before your performance. 

Although having gum in the mouth while singing isn’t for everybody, it can be an option if you’re having trouble with dryness in your voice or if you need help relaxing your facial muscles to sing without straining. In this article, I’ll be taking a closer look into why singers sing with chewing gum in their mouths and various alternatives for those who are looking for similar benefits and interested in trying something different. 

Benefits of singing with gum while singing

Although some singers have chewing gum in their mouths during a song, they don’t necessarily chew it simultaneously while singing. Some singers choose to chew the gum during music breaks in the song, while others find it helpful between songs. 

Regardless of timing, one of the main benefits for singers to chew gum while they sing is to prevent their throats from drying out by producing enough saliva to coat the throat.

As you sing for more extended periods, your voice becomes fatigued and will sound a bit more hoarse. Especially for singers who need to belt and “scream” for their performance. 

If you are worried about accidentally swallowing the gum when you’re on stage, the best way to conceal and store the gum safely while singing is hiding it in the side of your mouth between my cheek and molars while you’re singing. Leaving the gum at that spot can be much more secure than only leaving it on your tongue. 

Another benefit of singing with chewing gum is the release of tension in the facial and jaw muscles when you sing. Many singers face the issue of tensing up the muscles whenever they try to sing difficult notes. 

The higher the note, the more tension one can build up. 

When you’re singing, you want to sing with as little tension as possible, especially in the throat and jaw area. Too much pressure in those areas can lead to cracking in your voice and also vocal fatigue. Singing in this way long-term can lead to severe vocal damage. 

Using chewing gum to release tension in your muscles and jaws is similar to using a stress ball with your hand. The more you squeeze the ball, the more strain and stress you’re releasing. 

When you’re chewing gum, you’re letting go of the various stressors during a performance. If you do feel nervous before your gig, chew gum backstage before you sing. You can release all the negative energy while you’re chewing and focus on your performance. 

When you get on stage, you can keep the gum in your mouth but only chew it in between songs. Doing so allows you to get the full benefits while decreasing the chance of you choking on the piece of gum when you’re singing.

Read Next: 19 Things to Avoid That Can Harm Your Singing Voice

Best gum to chew for singers

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There are so many brands of gum out there to choose from, but not all of them are the same. Many chewing gums have added sugars, color, and flavoring, which is something you should avoid! 

Chewing gums that have high sugar content can constrict your singing voice by creating unnecessary phlegm. Added colors and flavoring in bubble gums and ‘fruit’ flavored gums will add unwanted coloring to your teeth, tongue, and lips. 

The best type of chewing gum for singers is sugar-free chewing gums. I recommend Extra Peppermint Gum (Amazon) because of the lack of sugar and the fresh, minty flavor. Having mint flavor chewing gum helps soothe the voice when singing and add freshness in your breath. 

Alternatives to chewing gum for singers

If you are looking for the benefits of relaxing your facial muscles and lubricating your throat without wanting to chew gum while you sing, here are a few alternative methods that you can use. 

Throat Tea

One of the most popular teas out there for singers is Traditional Medicinals Organic Throat Tea (Amazon). This tea is one of the pillar teas for many singers because it provides the necessary hydration for your voice and a warm and soothing effect to ease any discomfort you have in your throat. It’s perfect for those who have issues with a runny nose or scratchy throats. 

This tea also has a sweet, earthy taste to it with a hint of licorice. If that is not your cup of tea (pun intended), you can try the eucalyptus tea (Amazon), which is also quite soothing and has a refreshing mint flavor.

Lozenges

If you’re on-the-go and need quick relief for your throat, lozenges are a convenient way to provide temporary lubrication for your voice. Vocalzone’s lozenges (Amazon) are great for singers because it gives a gentle menthol numb when for singers who have sore throats. Famous singers like Sir Tom Jones, Michael Ball OBE, and Dionne Warwick also use this lozenges brand before singing. 

Manuka Honey

Manuka honey (Amazon) is excellent for the throat because of the potent healing properties it possesses. A teaspoon of Manuka honey with hot water can help lubricate your throat lining. If you can’t find Manuka honey, you can use regular honey that you see in the supermarket. Do be careful with choosing your honey because many brands have added sugar, which can create more phlegm in your throat. 

Final Thoughts

Seeing gum in a singer’s mouth can be quite confusing at first. But don’t disregard this method without giving it a try! In singing, there are so many unorthodox ways of improving the voice, whether it’s silly looking vocal exercises or adding a piece of gum in a performance. The most important thing is finding something that works for YOU. And the best way to find out is to give it a shot for yourself. 

Do you want to improve your singing and learn how to hit those high notes without straining your voice? CLICK HERE to get a FREE trial with 30 Day Singer!

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