By Sandra McKinney
As a choral training director and accompanist, I’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of singers for over fifty years. Vocal abuse is something that singers don’t think seriously about until it happens. In shock, they find themselves unable to talk, sing, and even rehearse. This can be scary and place your performance or long-awaited recital in question. Here are some tips that are critical to the maintenance of your voice if you’re serious about singing and you’re thinking long term.
Your voice is your built-in, sound producing, sound supporting instrument. It matters how you use it and how you take care of it. To help you keep it intact, here are a few tips that will aid you in handling all of your vocal chores.
- Add a banana, apple or orange to your day.
- Ginseng is good especially for those times when a lot of rehearsing is required for concerts. Read the label for details.
- Grapefruit juice can help to cut down on the amount of mucous formed in mucous cells.
- A slice of wheat bread works well for a dry throat. It can act as a filter for ridding your throat of mucus.
- Keep Peppermint candy on hand.
- When your nose is stopped up, rub a small amount of vapor rub under your nose and even on your tongue. It opens the air flow in record time.
- For dry mouth and throat, hold your tongue at the back of your bottom teeth and your saliva glands get busy in seconds.
- Avoid smoking and smoke-filled environments.
- Avoid excessive yelling.
- If you have a raspy voice from a hard day of vocal work, drink lots of water at room temperature and try singing falsetto in your rehearsal. Save the full voice for later. If it’s really hard, ask the sound technician to turn your microphone up and you won’t have to work your voice as hard.
- Get some rest.
- Rest your voice. Let your team know if this applies.
- Whisper if you have to talk.
- Use a writing tablet for conversation purposes.
- Keep herb and honey flavored cough drops on hand.
- Practice singing softly without pushing out excessive air.
- Get a good breathing regimen down as you learn to work your diaphragm.
- Inhale to a count and speed.
- Exhale to a count and speed.
- If you’re learning a new song, listen to it many times before singing it in order to maximize your voice during performance.
- When you feel the cold or flu bug coming on, cut two lemons in half, add one and a half cup of water and bring to a boil. Add a teaspoon of honey. Drink it as warm as possible.
- Wrap your neck with a warm shawl after you finish singing.
- Practice good posture.
- Listen to your voice. It will let you know when something is changing.
- Resolve to remain peaceful.