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!

Friday, June 25, 2010

When You Wake Up With Thick Vocal Cords

There are lots of things blooming in this area of the world (Nashville). Beautiful, but for a singer sensitive to those particular flowers, scary. What do you do when you greet the morning sounding like a frog? Well, because many allergy and cold medications dry the throat and vocal cords out, I recommend trying these non-medical suggestions first (but if in doubt, check all this out with your medical professional).

Start with a drink of lemon juice and water, then I would really recommend a freshly juiced 'green drink'... put in (as long as you are not allergic to them and can digest them) things like lettuce, carrots, celery, beets, tomatoes, apples, pineapple, asparagus... you get the picture.

Then eat a light, non-mucous forming, protein rich breakfast. What is non-mucous forming? It varies with the individual, so start to keep a journal of how foods affect your mucous thickness. Should you drink coffee? Observe its effects on you. Even black tea can feel dehydrating to some. Watch how much dairy you consume, this usually encourages excess mucous, as does rich and heavily sugared foods. Here are breakfasts I eat that my voice likes:
  • A fruit smoothie. To a frozen fruit mixture I add soy, rice or whey protein, or a suppliment I particularly love called "UltraInflamX". I add a little orange or other 100% juice and water to cover before I blend.
  • Oatmeal with vanilla soymilk, nuts and seeds (especially pomegranate) , raisons and bananas. I sometimes add half an avocado.
  • Fresh avocado, pineapple and orange slices, plus fresh nuts and seeds.
  • Eggs scrambled with loads of saute'd veggies. I'd call it an omelet but I use more veggies than eggs. Instead of heavy bread, I accompany it with a rice cake with tamari sauce.
I also like to take a hot bath or shower and really breathe in the steam. Then using my Neti Pot helps get rid of whatever is irritating my tissues. 

This is a morning you seriously need to warm your vocal cords up if you are singing that day. Warm up slower and longer than usual, and don't forget... form is everything when doing vocal exercises if you want to make your voice better and not worse!  Your vocal exercises should be stretching your sinus openings so they drain... a sign that you are doing it right. I also like to do a physical workout to get the junk in my chest moving out.

Hydrate heal...
I add ceyenne pepper and lemon juice to a glass carafe of water and drink it throughout the day, or my ginger tea concoction. I definitely up my water intake, and even bring a shaker of ceyenne with me if I need to eat out. This may sound strange, but ceyenne is a healing herb for the mucous membranes!

What about you? What's your favorite way to wake up a thick voice?

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  • At July 2, 2010 at 1:08 PM , Blogger Walter's Real Deal said...

    Hey, Judy, I took a lot of interest in this one, as I'm highly affected by pollen and the like.

    I often drink V8 juice with lunch, but would it be good in the morning also, perhaps?

    Also, you asked what those of us out here do.

    Oddly enough, for about a month, I've been gargling AIM brand mouthwash.
    It's alcohol and sugar free.

    After I brush, I gargle the mouthwash.
    Not to be gross, but in the sink, you can literally see the film that was bothering your throat.

    I then follow with lukewarm water, to rinse off any of the artificial qualities of the mouthwash.

    The days that I don't take time to do this, by afternoon, I'm having to avoid the urge to clear my throat.


  • At July 2, 2010 at 2:10 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Thanks Wally...for sharing what works for you! I actually make my own (fresh) 'V-8' juice... I juice lettuce, celery, beet, apple, tomato, carrots, sometimes asparagus and kale. I KNOW this helps my voice. If I want a "Spicy v-8-ish" drink, I sprinkle some ceyenne pepper in it... which is a mucous membrane healing herb. Interesting about the mouthwash! Thx again for writing.


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