Tuesday, May 3, 2011

To Sing or Not to Sing?

To Sing or Not to Sing?

At this time of year, we often get sick despite our best efforts.  Should you try to sing while under the weather or is it best to keep quiet?  It all depends on the illness, how your body feels, and the exact circumstances.  It is always wise to test it out to decide.  Sometimes it might not feel great to talk, but when we sing a little, it feels okay and actually helps our speaking voice to feel better.

If you think it might be okay but are not sure, try the following things to help you decide:

  • Hum a little bit in all parts of your range.  Start with one and two note patterns and then try humming over a series of pitches.  How does it feel?
  • Sigh or siren sound through your entire range.  Can you slide easily through the whole range?
  • Do a few 5 note descending scales on your most comfortable vowel.  Try it on ‘ee’ if you feel like you cannot sing through the flem or ‘gunk’ in your throat.
  • Sing a series of staccato notes (short pitches) on ‘ha’ as if laughing.
  • If it doesn’t hurt, do your normal series of warm-ups.
  • Re-check yourself. Still okay?  Then sing a song that is very settled in your voice.
  • If it still feels good, continue practicing or consider performing.

** Trust your instincts.  If it does not feel good to sing, DON’T SING!  Proceed with caution and stay in tune with your body’s signals.  When in doubt, get the opinion of your voice teacher.  If you have a performance and it can be rescheduled, do so.

  • At the end of practicing, warm-down with sighs and hums.
  • Get enough sleep and drink 8-10 glasses of water a day.  Use saline nose spray and a humidifier. 
Your illness may actually be caused by allergies.  Did you find this helpful or do you have anything to add about singing when slightly under the weather?

Stay tuned for tips on how to keep singing with allergies.

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