Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tips For Singing With A Jacked Up Throat

Vocal strain is unfortunately a common issue for active live performers who are not doing good, consistent vocal training. "Jason" emailed me this question:
I think that I overused my voice last week. I had a couple of extra gigs I picked up and am just not used to the extra singing and now my throat is all kinds of jacked up... Any tips you can send my way to help me make it through tonight and tomorrow night?
OK, first of all, it's best not to sing with a jacked up throat. That said, for the real world of contracts and scheduled performances, here are some rescue tips:
  1. Get yourself hydrated. Drinking water and inhaling steam (bath/shower vapors, humidifier or towel-over-head-over-pan-of-hot water) are vital.
  2. Get yourself some sleep. There is no substitute for a good night's sleep. It helps to eat and drink things with lots of minerals to soothe your nerves so you can sleep soundly. Also, make sure room is darkened so you can sleep as late as possible instead of having the sun interrupt your dreams.
  3. Get yourself some nutrition. Eat easy-to-digest meals that are full of lean protein (eggs, avocados and nuts for vegetarians) and simple carbs. I find it good to start the morning with fruit, then go for the heavier lunch.
  4. Warm your voice up carefully with perfect form in your exercises. When your vocal cords are swollen in a jacked up throat, it may take longer than usual to condition your voice properly. Take the extra time and warm up slowly.
  5. Prepare some performance aids: ginger tea (steeped raw ginger and lemon juice), pineapple juice, fire water (water, lemon juice and ceyenne). Drink between songs and during instrumentals you're not playing.
  6. Don't talk!!!!!!!! (are there enough exclamation points there?) ...unless you absolutely have to. 
  7. If you are doing more than one set, warm up again in  your head voice between sets.
  8. Be sure to warm down! This is the thing we most neglect... but very important if you don't want to wake up next morning with vocal cords that sound like Darth Vader. A vocal warm-down is the same as a warm up except it is shorter. Bubbles, trills, sirens, "the voiced consonant" exercises from my Power, Path & Performance course are all great exercises to put your voice back on roller skates.
And finally... resolve to train your voice so that you never get a jacked up throat from singing again. And yes, you can!

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