Learn how to take care of your voice, it’s your most important instrument.
With winter coming fast, it is good to know these tips to help you if you are feeling under the weather. Your voice, like you, can get tired and so firstly I’d like to say if you really do feel unwell, please rest and recover as best you can and don’t perform. These tips have helped me for the past few years at gigs. I have lost my voice and even managed to get it back due to these helpful remedies.
5. Avoid Caffeine
Now you may think ‘hot drinks like tea and coffee are warm and must help your throat right?! WRONG! Tea and coffee are the worst drinks for your voice. It certainly doesn’t help drinking these when you have a sore throat as it will only restrict your voice more. I drink 10 cups of tea (maybe more) a day, so I really struggle with this one. Instead of tea, I’d recommend having hot water and the other tips I have listed. Energy drinks and alcohol should be avoided too. You can end up damaging your voice badly. These will help your voice LOADS.
4. Drink Ginger
You can cut it up, grate it and even use it in cooking to soothe a sore throat. It has helped me many times when my voice has felt really awful. I often take a flask of boiling water and ginger to gigs to drink and man does it help your throat. This is one of the best tips I was ever given as a musician as I have managed to get through gigs due to drinking hot ginger. I hate the taste of ginger so I hold my nose when I drink it, so if you think ‘I hate it!’ don’t worry just hold your nose! It is one of the best remedies so it may need to be done.
3. Rest Your Voice
If you talk alot (I know I do), this tip may seem impossible but vocal rest is one of the BEST things you can do to help your voice recover. I often write on a white board to communicate with family and friends, not even speaking and certainly not singing. I would also say please don’t try to practice your high notes or shout/sing along in the car to your favourite songs. Vocal rest is so key to making sure you don’t damage your vocal cords. It can be difficult to rest but listen to your body and don’t sing/talk if you feel your voice is painful.
2. Lemon and Honey
This is an age old trick that really does do the job. I have been drinking lemon and honey for years when I have had a sore throat. You can also add tip 4 and add ginger to your drink. It is a very comforting drink and makes your throat feel better in minutes. It is a very good remedy and if you need to sing and your throat is a bit croaky definitely drink this everyday before your gig, multiple times in a day.
1. Gargle Salt Water
This is the BEST tip and with me it always works. You do not drink the salt water (please don’t do that!), you simple fill a mug with boiling water, wait for it to cool, add salt and then gargle and it does wonders. It is recommended by doctors and when I lost my voice and had to sing at a festival it gave my voice a bit more life and I managed to sing for an hour. It tastes awful but it really does the job, salt has natural healing properties so don’t just take my word for it, try it yourself!!
Article by Carley Varley
cover image Sarah Gualtieri