Here in the UK this week, we've been plunged into an icy wasteland; with sub-zero temperatures and conditions that we're just not used to. Weather like this is really not great for our vocal health, so we need to take extra care with our voices. Below is some of the things we can be doing to help keep our voices healthy:
- WEAR A SCARF. This will keep your neck warm and in turn the vocal chords. You rarely see me without one this time of year - inside and out. It's the simplest way of keeping your voice warm.
- COVER YOUR HEAD Our heads release the majority of heat from our body, so the warmer we can keep it the better. I'd suggest a trapper style hat for maximum coverage!
- HYDRATE. This appears in every single piece of advise I give, so I'm just gonna say 'WATER' and leave it there.
- ACCLIMATISE BEFORE SINGING. Coming straight in from the cold to a warm room is always a bit of a shock to the system and in these kinds of temperatures, the heating is up a lot higher than usual, meaning the transition is a lot more dramatic. Leave yourself plenty of time to arrive before a gig to let your body and vocal chords adequately warm-up.
- WARM UP YOUR VOICE. Seems obvious, but it's often overlooked and in these kinds of conditions it's more important than ever. Start by humming through the parts of your voice you're going to be using at the gig (perhaps use the song with the most range from your set to hum along to), then moving on to a lip trill. Finding a place to do this can be tricky, particularly in smaller venues - the loos are always a good spot!
- BREATHE THROUGH YOUR NOSE. Not something that comes naturally to everyone, but if you can master it, it's highly beneficial: your nose acts like a sort of filter for your throat, catching irritants such as dust; stopping them from reaching and aggrevating your throat. It will also warm the air so there's not an immediate cold snap hitting and shocking your vocal chords.
And there you have it; just a few things you can be doing. If you have anything else you're doing I'd love to hear it. Until then, keep warm!