Preparing your Voice

September 10, 2011 by  
Filed under A Cappella Blog

3 to 7 days before the singing:

Drink plenty of water. Keep yourself hydrated and your thirst quenched.

Stay away from chocolate that is just about the worst thing you can eat before performing.

Drink hot tea, cider, or just hot water with a teaspoon or two of honey in it.

Take Vitamin C tablets or eat fruits/vegetables rich in Vitamin C to aid your bodies natural defenses. Hot Lemon & Honey or Blackcurrant both contain vitamin C and anti-viral properties and fresh ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties – grate a little ginger and add it to hot water, sweeten with honey if required.

Whip an egg white, stir in one tsp of honey, the juice of a lemon and 2 drops of glycerin (available at any pharmacy-not harmful in these quantities). Take two tsps. a day. Your ranges will be less strained.

The day of the singing:

Use honey. Just having a teaspoon will coat your throat, making your voice sound smoother. A tablespoon of honey before you sing will coat your throat and relieve soreness from your vocal cords being overworked or stressed.

Don’t drink any dairy the day before or the day of. Also don’t eat anything to sugary. It messes up your throat.

Don’t practice too much before you perform. It will just dry your throat.

Massage your neck front and back in a downward motion.

Get plenty of rest/sleep before the singing

Avoid Tea, Coffee, Cream & Alcohol before singing as these will cause the vocal cords to constrict and can have a dehydrating effect.

Keep room-temperature water on hand in the recording session. Room temperature water won’t shock your vocal cords the way that hot or cold water will. Drinking water that is hot or cold stuns the vocal cords and will make them stressed. If you must drink hot or cold water (sometimes, it’s the only thing on hand), swish it around in your mouth to get it at the proper temperature. When drinking tea, stick to herbal tea, and again try to cool it down in your mouth before it hits your vocal cords.

Slippery Elm lozenges and other throat drops are used by some singers to soothe the throat. Menthol based drops and lozenges cool your throat, however the menthol also numbs your vocal cords slightly. Look for non-mentholated drops with more of a honey, lemon, and herbal base such as Halls Fruit Breezers and Ricola cough drops. You can also try an non-medicated lolly pop such as a barley sugar or a fruit tingle instead.

What if I have a sore throat or am congested:

Hot Water Steam Inhalation, with or without a few drops of Eucalyptus, Peppermint or other Essential Oil helps to clear the sinuses. Many proprietary brands like Karvol, Olbas Oil and Vicks Vaporub use aromatherapy oils as their main ingredient but you should be careful using these products as menthol can have a drying effect…. use sparingly.

Do NOT attempt to Sing and avoid Talking until all medication is finished to allow the inflammation an opportunity to reduce.

On recovery start with some gentle humming for 5-10 minutes at a time and slowly build up to a few vocal exercises in your mid-range gradually expanding the range over several days. The rate of recovery will depend on the severity of illness and how experienced a singer you are. Any recurrence of hoarseness stop and rest the voice for another couple of days.

Honey is a very soothing sore throat remedy
One well-known remedy for a singer’s sore throat is honey. Honey can be very soothing to a sore throat when added in a healthy dose to a cup of warm herbal tea or water. Singers also have been known to drink honey straight from the bottle.

Salt Water
Another basic sore throat remedy is warm salt water. Used as a gargling rinse, warm salt water is very soothing, and has been touted to improve circulation of infection-fighting antibodies. It doesn’t take much salt to do the job—just a teaspoonful in an 8-oz. glass of warm water, gargled several times a day.

Pickle Juice
Vinegar has been long respected as a home remedy ingredient, but many people can’t get past the flavor of vinegar in its natural state. A tasty way to get vinegar to a sore throat without the pucker factor is by drinking pickle juice. Any flavor of jarred pickle contains a vinegar base, and the higher the vinegar content the better. Simply pour the pickle juice in a glass and sip on it throughout the day.

contributed by Darrell Woodard


2 Responses to “Preparing your Voice”
  1. brian baird says:

    Does Gatorade count as a way to get ones self hydrated? If I drink all that water, I’ll be LIVING in the bathroom =(

  2. Tara Taylor says:

    I’ve heard of a gargle using honey, vinegar and warm water before singing. I think the vinegar might be a cider vinegar. I don’t know what the measurements would be, though. Any suggestions?