Written by Chelsea Smith, instructor at Metro Music Makers
We’ve all had the days when we weren’t getting well quickly enough and needed to get on with life. Numbered days like these are comparable to ER visits for singers. It’s hard to keep paying gigs when you’re sick. Fortunately, I’ve lived this scenario, been to the speech therapist and seen doctors for it, so I’ve got the inside scoop on what’s needed to get better. While our students may not have jobs depending on their voices YET, there are still auditions to be held and national anthems to be performed. I’ve got three secrets to share with you that can assist in the rehabilitation of the voice and often speed up the process of healing.
GINGER – The minute I feel something coming on, I start drinking ginger tea. Ginger is known for assisting in digestion, code for “get this infection out of me!” It’s also known to combat nausea and is a solid method of easing nerves in your stomach before auditions or speaking. When you drink ginger tea, it rehydrates your body and fights phlegm in your throat. Many singers claim it opens the nasal passages, and it’s proven to assist your immune system as you fight off colds. A natural anti-inflammatory, ginger is my go-to when I’m singing a lot or am sick.
SUPPORTED SPEAKING – Hopefully, this “speaks” for itself. Think about it: most of us put effort into singing with support from the diaphragm and try to sing correctly, but do we even think about how much more we’re speaking than singing? Supported speaking will often elevate your pitch and keep you from falling off your words at the end of sentences into a “vocal fry.” (Vocal fry is the gruff sound, often at the ends of words, where the chords are clapping together uncontrollably resulting in swelling and inflammation.) When you are sick, you are tired and likely don’t want to take the effort to support your speaking. If you have to speak, make it a priority to speak supported, and your chords will thank you for it.
THE KAZOO – In speech-language pathology, this is called “the straw technique.” Blowing and “kazooing” through a straw releases tension in your vocal chords from coughing or improper use. The straw moves pressure from your breathing muscles in the neck and brings them forward into the face and straw. This causes the chords to relax and strengthen at the same time. Out of all the secrets that I have, the straw technique is truly my number 1 in rehabilitating my voice quickly when I’ve been sick, I’ve lost my voice, or when it’s just plain tired. If you want to try it out, click here for an article that includes two videos that explain the technique.
While these recommendations are definite additions to your regimen, don’t forget the basics: drink extra water, rest as much as possible, go on vocal rest, and definitely see a doctor if it’s a sickness.
All My Best In Your Healthy Singing!
Chelsea Nicole Smith
Vocal Pedagogue and Piano Instructor
Office: (678) 637-7293
Direct: (870) 208-4535
Bringing Private Music Instruction Up an Octave!
M.M., Georgia State University
B.M.E., Evangel University