By Sami DeSocio
When I was first starting out as a singer in my chorus, we would always have a big winter concert and a big spring concert. Before one of them, my parents took me for pizza where I ate two slices of white (ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese-no sauce). Upon arrival to the school, the teacher asked us all if we had eaten dinner before the show,because we would be of no use to him if we were starving under hot stage lights. When I said yes, I had two slices of pizza-he looked at me as if I had two heads!
Today, having done this now for as long as I have I understand why I received the look I did. Eating any kind of dairy before singing isn’t good for your throat. It causes mucus to build up and causes you to choke on your notes.
There are a lot of other singing tips, rules and tricks that singers need to live by in order to preserve their voice. For example, the volume you speak at and how high or low your voice is causes your vocal cords to rub together and if they do this too much, it could cause nodes. Those could leave you without a voice for a few months, or even a year! Sometimes, they even require surgery (see Julie Andrews and Adele).
Singing Tips 1: You also have to be very in-tune with your voice. Know that when the weather shifts from extremes such as from hot to cold, or cold to hot that it will affect your voice as well. Some great tricks for this are a netti pot, or a steam inhaler to help balance things out again.
Singing Tips 2: Another great tool every singer has (and I can hear the singers reading this groan already), is throat coat! Yes, throat coat, that gross smelling, icky tasting stuff that has saved all us singers at one time or another. And if throat coat isn’t your thing, there’s always the old-fashioned tea with lemon and honey, or even hot water with lemon and honey.
Singing Tips 3: If you need to drink things like soda, coffee, or anything else that will dry you out, be sure to follow it with a lot of water (I drink 1.5L of water a day), and try not to use cough drops-contrary to popular belief, they actually dry you out (according to my speech therapist I had to go to when I wound up with nodes from over-using my voice in childcare).
If you treat your voice right, then it will do right by you and make sure that you sound as awesome as you should!
What are some of your own tips as a singer that you swear by?