Every runner knows that if you sprain your ankle you keep weight off it for a while. What you DEFINITELY DO NOT DO is try to keep running to get your miles in just because you’re training for a marathon. In fact, EVERY professional athlete knows to head to the doctor at even the slightest sign of injury. Why do they do this you ask? Because they care about their bodies! That's their livelihood! That's where the moolah (cash-money-dollah' billz) is at! Without it, they don't have a job.
Which brings me to my point...
You, as the professional, amateur, or aspiring performer are a vocal ATHLETE! I know it doesn't result in calories spent or muscle mass gained, but what your vocal folds are doing every time you take the stage is the equivalent of a teeny weeny Olympic gymnast going for the gold inside your throat.
So why do we, as singers, keep running on “sprained ankles”?
If you’re sick, hoarse, vocally off for whatever reason – DON’T do whatever it takes to keep singing. Don’t snort cayenne pepper and mainline apple cider vinegar just to get through your performance. If it is imperative that you get on stage, then get to an ENT so they can help you reduce the damage done at least. And then after the show? GO TAKE A BREAK!!
Taking care of your body is how you take care of your voice.
They are one and the same. You don’t just have a magical talent box hidden in your throat that sometimes needs constant infusions of hot tea, honey and lemon.
So what can you do? How can you make sure you’re consistently keeping your voice in tip top shape and giving your body the love it needs to keep on trucking through that day job right on to those long and late rehearsals? Try these 3 things to up-level your voice care:
If you’re having consistent difficulties with voice loss or health issues that are impacting your ability to perform – go click on the contact page up top to start a discussion with me and find out how I can help ☺
Can we talk about a pet peeve of mine for just a sec?
Every singer’s been through this. You’re half way through your rehearsal process, two weeks away from the show, working your ass off, and then you get sick and lose your voice.
And what do most singers do at that point? They HYPER focus in on getting their voice working again. No matter what, they’ll do anything, just to get it up and running. But… what about the rest of your body?
The reason that this bothers me so much is because of the inherent assumption that there is a complete disconnect between the voice and the body. And let me assure you, no such difference exists!
Your voice (just like the rest of your body) is made up of muscle tissue, cartilage, blood cells… you know all that gross stuff that goes on inside you? That’s the anatomy that creates your unique sound.
Which means, that when your voice is sick your BODY is sick. The same things that are going to make your body well, are the things that your voice needs. So you have a cold? And you lose your voice? Go to bed, drink liquids, cancel your rehearsal (or the performance and let your understudy go on) and take care of yourself.
So then what IS the “connection” between body and voice?
Well... your body IS your voice.
Because the thing that creates your voice is your anatomy (AKA your body). There isn’t really a “connection” because there’s no distinction between the two. When you ask your body to keep on trucking when it's at the point of breakdown (AKA sickness) you're astronomically increasing your risk of permanent and ongoing voice harm. And this is probably the one part of your body that you REALLY don't want to break down. Bye bye career!
Your voice crapping out on you is a symptom of your body being out of whack or out of balance as a whole. Sometimes this is just because of a cold - one that we will all get every once in a while. But if you’re the kind of performer who is consistently losing their voice, that is always having to “mark it” at rehearsal, who is missing rehearsals or performances because you are sick so often, then you need to look at your lifestyle and balance overall.
Getting a cold every once in a while is part of the human condition. And it's a sign that the body needs REST. Being stuffed up, bloated, nauseous, laryngitis-y, or any of these things on a consistent basis is something you can fix with consistent lifestyle changes.
As performers, we live for our art. Without it, we are incomplete. Don’t drive your instrument into the ground because “the show must go on”. Honor it. Love it up. Take care of it.
If you’re having consistent difficulties with voice loss or health issues that are impacting your ability to perform – e-mail me here to find out how I can help ☺
Make sure you don't miss Part 2 where I discuss HOW to start making these changes to support your vocal career! Sign up to receive blog announcements directly to your inbox!
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