Hello everyone! It seems like I’ve almost constantly had a cold this winter, and it can be annoying at the best of times, especially when you have a presentation coming up, or you’re a singer. I've pretty much always been this guy:
So, here’s my top tips for protecting your voice during flu season.
The best practise for singers is to steam their vocal cords for 15-20 minutes every day, although not for more than five minutes at a time. You don’t need anything fancy to steam your voice, just a bowl of boiling water and a towel to trap the vapour. But how does this help, you ask? Inhaling steam moistens the voice box, loosens mucus and can be very soothing to irritated vocal folds. They don’t tell you to steam when you’ve got a cold for nothing!
LEMON & HONEY
Lemon and honey in hot water is a god-send for singers. Both ingredients and the warmth soothe the throat, so if you’re able to drink this mixture once a day, then do!
Hydration for singers is so important, as the more hydrated you are, the better able you’ll be to nail those difficult runs. Staying hydrated helps to maintain the protective mucosal lining coating the vocal folds, and protects against the friction that accompanies the vibrations of singing and speech.
Dairy products are notorious for building up extra phlegm and mucus, which makes it that much harder to hit those high notes. If you absolutely can’t give up chocolate, then try to avoid dairy products a minimum of four hours before you’re due to sing.
AVOID CLEARING YOUR THROAT
Clearing your throat can sometimes be a subconscious ritual, and that makes it hard to break. But the action itself is traumatic to the vocal folds, and thus can contribute towards vocal injury. Try taking small sips of water when you feel the need to clear your throat instead.
WARM UP PROPERLY
There are so many singers out there that just open their mouths and off they go. However, if you’re serious about avoiding injury, the best thing to do is to make sure you warm up properly. Our vocal cords are a muscle, just the same as in your legs and arms. Before you play sports, you stretch out your muscles. The same must be done before we sing, or you could risk permanent damage to your vocal folds. So, get cracking with your Peter Pipers!