The worst thing that can happen to a professional singer who has a performance planned; is a cold, flu or any other vocal problem. I woke up this morning and lo and behold; sore throat and a fever. Coughing, spluttering sneezing and wheezing. How could this be happening; why me I had a practice session with other musicians. I had to cancel. Hallelujah it was not a paid performance; I would have had to look for an alternative singer. But wait a minute, maybe I can sing. In the past I have performed at gigs with a swollen throat, blocked ears and a high temperature i.e. severe tooth ache combined with a cold. Nasty! I feel I managed to get a few notes out. In any case, I think it didn’t sound too bad; the audience appreciated it although I didn’t hear them clap. The following day I had to pay for it. I couldn’t speak, I’d lost my voice; which meant I finally had to ask another singer to replace me. I believe I did more harm than good.
Apparently the vocal chords are composed of mucous membrane stretched horizontally, from back to front, across the larynx. They vibrate, modulating the flow of air released from the lungs during singing. Open during inhalation, closed when holding one’s breath, and vibrating for speech or singing.
And the common cold is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract affecting the nose. Symptoms include coughing, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and fever. A cold can last up to seven to ten days, and sometimes three weeks.
So knowing these facts; why would I as a singer/performer then stress out my instrument, my beloved vocal chords even more? You would think the best thing to do is rest. However in some cultures it can be quite pleasant; a beautiful voice is in the ear of the beholder!
Practice Makes Perfect
Yes, you probably heard this time after time. But it is true! Every day like clockwork; I do vocal exercises (not if I’ve got tonsillitis); about half an hour to an hour. I study ear and sight singing training. Then I work on the songs. My practice time varies from 2 to 4 hours a day.
Study New Material
What I love about a performance is that it motivates me to look for new material and try new siniging techniques. Challenges me, inspires me and increases my singing knowledge while having fun. A new song is usually requested for an upcoming wedding or birthday party surprise. Sometimes I attend a music open podium so that I can perform/practice the material I’ve learned.
Rest & Recuperation
This is one of my favorite past times; rest and recuperation. “All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl”. Taking time out to be with family and friends is vital. It gives me a new perspective on life and my journey so far. And if I my ego; which can be high in the clouds needs a break, then my love ones soon help me with a safe and easy landing.
I love a cup of tea, don’t you? Herbal teas such a chamomile, mint, red bush, red clover, ginseng, ginger, thyme and licorice are my top favorites. Lots of honey soothes my voice and mind. Meditation; I swear by it. Sitting on the couch and listening to BBC radio 4 plays, calms my thoughts too. Walking in the park helps me to relax, rejuvenates my spirit, body and soul. It installs new energy to carry on learning, singing doing what I enjoy best.
What would you do if you awoke with a cold?
Is it True or false? Do colds affect Singing
Do you have any tips for me?