SOME QUICK TIPS FROM VOCAL COACH CHRIS BEATTY

EXTREME HEAT CAN = DRY THROAT? 

Dressed for HOT weather
Dressed for HOT weather

 

Much of the country is experiencing extreme heat.  We had a heat index of 110 yesterday in Nashville which is very, very unusual.  The good news for Carole and me is that we don’t have to leave the home/office/studio.  The bad news is that with the air conditioner on much of the day the air is almost dangerously dry. Dry skin, dry contact lenses and, if we’re not careful, dry throat.  The one and only solution is a substantial increase in water intake. So, give thanks for air conditioning, and, at the same time recognize the need to super-hydrate.

DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT

We singers are notorious about nervously wondering if the voice will “be there for us” every time.  Why is this? Because, for most of us there have been times when all did not go . . . perfectly.

The solution is twofold. First, don’t waste time worrying about it. Worrying doesn’t accomplish anything. In fact, the stress caused by worrying is likely to make things worse by making you less confident, drying out your throat due to increased adrenaline and, if you are a Christ-Follower you are clearly told NOT to be anxious and worry. It will interfere with what God has for you.  Just check out Matthew 6:25-27 and Philippians 4:6-7.

Second, take action and train with a goal of being the best, most consistent singers and communicator you can be.  I often say that singers are vocal athletes, and really good athletes never stop training. They know that bad habits can and will creep in to your technique and the only way to avoid that is by continuing to get meaningful feedback, being honest with that feedback and being proactive in making changes.

THE GOOD NEWS FOR SINGERS is that you can incorporate many aspects of your vocal training into normal, daily life. Violin players and professional basketball players don’t have it so easy. They have to have an instrument or basketball.

How does this translate to singers?  Simply by practicing and reinforcing the following:

  1. Upright, balanced posture whether sitting or standing.
  2. Breathing that goes low and doesn’t require heaving of the chest.
  3. Speaking with a resonant tone quality whether you are using a soft or loud volume.
  4. Articulating every word clearly when talking to a friend, on the phone or teaching.

By turning your everyday voice technique into a nonstop training session you will be building a muscle memory base that can transfer right into your singing.

LET US KNOW HOW WE CAN HELP YOU BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE.  Email chris@vocalcoach.com

5 comments

  1. CHARLES says:

    please sir i need some vocal articles that i can print…..that will help me in singing….at times i sing from the throat and nose….please help me sir…am from nigeria

    • chrisbeatty says:

      Charles, you should start by printing off the “10 STEPS TO BETTER BREATHING.” Just click on FREE RESOURCES in the banner section of our site. This is, perhaps, the most foundational information for all singers. Then, find any of the BLOGS that apply and feel free to print those just making sure you give credit to VocalCoach.com

  2. Hank Crull says:

    Dear Chris,

    My wife has her masters degree in vocal performance and loves to sing. She is a coloratura soprano, but she has developed acid reflux. Can you give any tips on how to protect her voice from acid reflux damage?

    Thank you.

    Hank Crull

    • chrisbeatty says:

      A WORD ABOUT GERD from Vocal Coach Chris Beatty
      GERD, or Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease is very common with singers. About half of us suffer with it to one degree or another. Why? Because many singers eat the wrong food at the wrong time and live in a state of stress and nervous pressure. GERD is a medical problem and very often causes serious vocal problems. What we often call “heartburn” has nothing to do with the heart. It’s acid backing up from the stomach into the esophagus and then into the larynx. It literally burns the vocal folds with potentially dangerous results.
      Think of it this way: The valve (lower esophageal sphincter) that is supposed to keep the stomach acid in the stomach isn’t working. Here are some common symptoms to watch for. If you have several of these you may consider altering your diet or seeing your doctor:
      1. Burning in the middle chest area, or “heartburn.”
      2. Chronic Hoarseness.
      3. A long-term “lump in the throat.”
      4. Regurgitation of food and liquids.
      5. Bad breath (halitosis) and a bitter taste in the mouth when you awakens.
      6. Vocal fatigue after short periods of singing and speaking.
      7. A rough, scratchy or sore throat, particularly in the morning.
      Remember, the stomach contains extremely corrosive hydrochloric acid. If it is flushed backwards or refluxed into the esophagus it can irritate the mucous membrane lining of the esophagus and compromise the thin, delicate covering of the arytenoids (cartilage-like muscles) in the larynx. If you suspect you may have GERD here are some things you can try to help you know if you should get a medical opinion.

      1. If you feel burning in the mid chest, especially after eating or when emotionally upset immediately drink some water to see if you can “wash” the acid back down. Stay in an upright position.
      2. Taking something like Pepcid Complete can give you immediate relief if it’s a mild case of GERD.
      3. Avoid getting horizontal for three hours after eating. Yes, that means no late night meals. Staying upright will help keep the acid in the stomach.
      4. Right Is Wrong! When you do go to bed try to stay on your back or left side. Lying on the right side may un-crimp the esophagus where it enters the stomach, making it easier for acid to go where it’s not wanted.
      5. Elevate the head of your bed 6” by using bricks or blocks of wood.

      Things that can make GERD worse:
      1. Personal or performance stress.
      2. The process of public singing and speaking.
      3. Acidic foods, like tomatoes, pineapples, alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine and chocolate.
      4. Taking sleeping pills. After taking a sleeping pill you may not awaken to change positions, allowing the gastric acid to stay in the esophagus longer and cause even more damage to the thin tissue lining the food pipe and the tissue covering the vocal folds.
      5. Foods with vinegar like pickles and green olives. Limit milk Products (milk, ice cream, cottage cheese, sour cream cheese, etc.). Active culture yogurt improves the condition. Lactose and butter fat are responsible for promoting reflux. Try 100% lactose reduced milk.
      6. Smoking and smoky places make GERD worse.

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