It is something we don’t think about until we lose it. It is powerful, captivating, and extremely important . . . it is your voice.
Like the Little Mermaid found out the hard way, once you lose your voice it can make things a bit challenging, especially if you are a performer.
Before the Show
Much like hydrating before an outdoor event, you can start preparing yourself for greatness several days before the performance. Here are some dos and don’ts.
Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the performance. If you live in a dryer climate you might want to consider getting a small humidifier to help keep your money maker moist and happy.
Never forget to warm up. You wouldn’t take off and run ten miles without stretching, so don’t expect your vocal chords to do the same. They are a muscle too, and before you exert them, do some vocal exercises to make sure they are limber.
During the Show
Remember these words: “Project to Protect”. While you are performing, use the vocal tool of projection. This means diaphragmatic breathing to draw power from the bottom of your lungs to the top. This puts less strain on your vocal chords.
Projecting also gives you a better performance. You can get far more volume this way, especially if you are not using a microphone.
After the Show
After you’ve sung your heart out or belted your best, it’s time to give that voice of yours a rest. Cool down exercises can reduce inflammation and encourage the chords to relax. If your pipes are a little bent out of shape, gargling with warm salt water can help minimize swelling and honey is a tried and true staple for vocal recovery. Some other libations that can be helpful are peppermint tea, which clears nasal passages, and cucumber water, which is super hydrating post exertion, especially after an outdoor event.
So go ahead and sing, or shout, but remember to take good care of your voice. Unless you are getting paid to mime, protecting and projecting will be essential to ensure the show, and you, can go on.
Break a leg!