This is the time of year for colds and sniffles and lots of singing. With the changes in weather and here in Canada the turning on of heating, our voices can really start to feel less than great.
How can you tell if your voice is "sick"? And more importantly, what do you do about it?
1. I can't sing softly or reach my usual sounds - When you have a cold or an overused voice, it is often really hard to sing softly.
- stop talking & singing and DO NOT WHISPER. Whispering can be really hard on your voice. If you must talk, do so in a normal tone and try not to be too loud. Your best bet is to rest your voice.
2. No matter what I do, my voice is scratchy after singing & talking.
- you need to change your voice placement. You probably have learned to keep your voice at the back of your throat. It is a common speaking method these days. Try standing feet apart, balancing on the balls of your feet. Be comfortably tall. Sing a simple song like Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Now, without moving your stance pull up your spine, open up your mouth and pull your chin down slightly as you sing. Feel the difference. Do all of the above and pinch your nose just below the bridge. Sing again and pay attention to how your voice feels. If you can't change your voice placement yourself, perhaps a couple of lessons from a vocal coach will be worth the investment. Your choir leader would be happy to help as well.
3. Why can the other singers sing without difficulty & I struggle with my vocal health?
- heredity plays a big role in your vocal health. Ask family members to find out if there are things you can do to minimize your vocal problems.
- if you stay up late, eat poorly & talk and sing all the time, you are causing damage. Regular rest is really important. Maybe the other singers are not abusing their voices in the same way. Rest, eat well and drink lots of clear fluids.
In summary, get enough rest, eat well. Don't have milk before singing or speaking. Check your voice placement and get help if needed. Protect your voice and you can be like Tony Bennett at 85 or Tina Turner at 69 still doing concerts.