Friday, October 30, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Musical Monday - Honey & Lemon - does it work

'Tis the time of year for colds etc.  I found this article and I think it is worth a look.  I do enjoy tea with honey and lemon if I have a gravelly voice.  How about you?

Is a drink of honey and lemon really the holy grail for your singing voice? Nutritionist Sharon Zarabi evaluates the claims.
A combination of vocal practice, travel, lack of sleep and demanding performances ahead have left you desperate for a treatment for your voice.
Now you are trolling through blogs that discuss the healing power of warm liquids for irritated throats.  Some of these promote honey, others lemon; still others – honey and lemon.
Could honey & lemon really be the holy grail of vocal health?
Let’s separate the fact from the fiction.

“It Heals My Flu or Cold”

This claim has been around for a long time; Egyptian physicians used honey to promote health and Greeks believed in its promotion of virility and longevity.
There is some truth behind these historic preferences.
Honey is high in many nutrients including iron, copper, manganese, silica chlorine, calcium, potassium, sodium , phosphorous, aluminum and magnesium.
The darker the honey the higher the nutrient content.
The combination of the two intensify the antimicrobial and antioxidant properties
Lemon has been recognized for its natural disinfectant properties. It contains pectin which acts as a vacuum to help clean out the gut including environmental toxins.
The high potassium content aids in the elimination of these pollutants. Lemon has a high source of vitamin C to help fight infection and, like honey, contains calcium, magnesium and potassium.
The combination of the two intensify the antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
Lemons contain almost 90% of vitamin C as a whole fruit which helps repel free radicals and protects the healthy cells from becoming cancerous; all promoting healing when your immune system is compromised.


Don’t be running so fast for the synthetic, orange-lime flavored pack of Emergen-Cee®.
There is no conclusive evidence to say these packaged items work. You need to be careful too with the amount of lemon you use. Too much citrus can irritate the throat.
Too much citrus can irritate the throat.
Too much citrus can irritate the throat.
Also, natural citrus and honey may not help you when you are in the throws of a bad cold or flu.
However, research published by Pediatrics Digest concluded that citrus honey improved the cough symptoms during an upper respiratory infection, leading to a better chance at sleep— I’m talking NATURAL citrus honey.
Remember to always be your own judge. We all react differently to remedies so take the information and personalize what may work best for you.
Give it time to kick in as it may not usher an immediate response.

“It soothes my throat like nothing else!”

Most sore throats are caused by viruses that are common in colds.
For singers and other heavy voice users there are, of course, other causes: vocal strain due to over-using the voice and bad technique (often these go together!)
These factors cause strain to the soft tissue of the larynx.
The edema or swelling of the blood vessels causes the vessels to become more porous and allows leakage of fluid into the tissue.
Singers need to deal with the root cause
This is turn causes swelling, immobility of vocal folds which in turn leads to the feeling of stiffness and a hoarse voice.
So, is honey and lemon THE cure?
In a word: no. Singers need to deal with the root cause, resting during a cold, learning healthier speaking and singing technique.
Of course, hydration is a part of great vocal health – and has rightly been described as the “engine oil” of the voice.
On this score, hot water with honey and lemon is better than alcohol and caffeine based drinks
The thermal effect of the warm liquid will help increase circulation to the affected area and the osmotic effect of the honey will aid in decreasing the swelling of the throat.
But, please, do not underestimate the power of staying hydrated on a regular basis with good ol’ H2O.

“It cleared my throat of mucous so I could sing flawlessly!”

Although a little bit of phlegm may be necessary to lubricate the vocal cords, too much can cause excess vibration.
Here, the combination of warm water and a drop of lemon scores some points.
It can help loosen the buildup of mucous, while the addition of honey can help coat it.
Add a bit of Cheyenne pepper or something spicy to the mix and you can clear up your sinuses to prevent the drip down to your throat.
-Sharon Zarabi

Sharon Zarabi
Sharon Zarabi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Dietitian Nutritionist (RD, CDN) and Certified Personal Fitness Trainer with the International Fitness Professional’s Association (IFPA) and Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA.) She is a contributor to The Singer’s Guide to Complete Health (Oxford University Press) and her work can be viewed at

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fun Friday - Pig Flu Polka

At this time of year when THE FLU is all the talk, here is a rather fun version.  Well played people.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"We Remember" on Wednesdays - Riverdancing Violinist

See how many of these pieces you can remember as they have fun with the violin.  This is really fun.  You will be checking on Google I am sure.  I was.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Vocal Fry / Creaky voice, stop it!!!

Oh my goodness.  Who told the younger ladies that talking in the back of your throat with that "growly" voice was sexy.  Oh the damage you are doing.  Those of us who have choirs, or teach music in schools etc. have the opportunity to share this information with our young people especially.  Correct sound production and breathing will help them no matter what they do in life.  Speaking and singing require a correct use of the voice.  This constant strain placed by this current trend is dangerous.  This is a great video to point out exactly what is meant by "vocal fry" and why we shouldn't be doing it or allowing it.  Go forth and create GREAT sound correctly!!!!!!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Fun Friday - PDQ Bach - Beethoven Symphony No. 5

I sure wish I had had something like this for my students.  This is done as if it were a sports event with commentary and a referee and penalties.  This is funny.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"We Remember" on Wednesday - Muppets "I've Got You Under My Skin"

This is from the first season of this marvellous show.  What songs can you think of that could be dramatized like this one?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Musical Monday - A Quick Way to Relax Your Voice Before Performance

Sometimes we come to a performance having had a not so great day or having been very busy.  Suddenly, we have to be in top form.  Here is great short video to give you a really great way to RELAX that voice and allow you to be in control whether you are singing alone or in a group.  You don' have to go to a quiet room or invite a zen moment.  Listen up. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"We Remember" on Wednesday - Ode To Joy | Muppet Music Video | The Muppets

Our kids loved the Muppets but I think their dad loved them more.  He was the one who knew the times and made certain they were there with him when the show came on.  Here is one good reason for kids to watch.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Musical Monday - BBC Proms 2011: Tim Minchin - F Sharp (Comedy Prom)

Sometimes we get WAY too serious about some of our musical details.  Some people get bent out of shape because someone doesn't think an auditioned choir is the highest form of choral work.  Others think we should never use sheet music.  I on the other hand, believe there is room for it all. 
We need to be true to the music.  Good tone production, rhythm and harmony are paramount.  Whatever our format, teaching and supporting people who want to learn and grow are SO important.  
Not taking ourselves too seriously really makes it work.  There are any number of ways to get to the same goal that of really well done music that people enjoy producing.  
However, that being said, wait until you hear how this comedic bit has a really tough half tone.  Tim Minchin is a really great musician.  There is nothing harder than singing what seems like a "wrong" note.  Although it is in fun, it is really good musically.  What do you think?