A Vocalist’s Guide For Preventing Illness – Rosanna’s Top 3 Tips!
Want to learn how to prevent illness so you can keep singing all autumn and winter long? That’s a tough one. Winter is a singer’s nemesis. Actually, even autumn is the enemy, despite how gorgeous it is out and the return of long skirts and boots and scarves, my favourite!
Just in the first week of September, I already had the sniffles and a tickle in my throat, half my students were coughing at the piano, and my kids missed a day of school from illness. And it was still smoking hot outside! The school germ petri dish might seem smarter than we, but there’s actually a few things you can do to help you prevent illness. In this article, I list my top 3 tips for preventing illness:
- Clean hands and space are essential. Avoid contact with public doorknobs, railings and other surfaces. If you have to touch them, use a part of your scarf, your sleeve, your coat or anything. I even use the flap of my purse when I have nothing else. There’s no need to be a germophobe, but just use common sense. Wash your hands frequently and keep your hands out of your eyes, nose and mouth. No nail biting or nostril rubbing; do the latter with a tissue. If you need to rub your eye, use a tissue or the back of your hand, for example. If you have a sick student, disinfect a bit after s/he leaves. Keep your workspace and music space clean. I quickly wipe down my music studio every day with a wipe after my rehearsal partners and students are done for the night.
- Stay warm & rest up! This is so important for vocalists! Because our body is the instrument, sleep deprivation shows up in the voice very quickly, with reductions in range, power, resonance, endurance, colour and many other qualities of sound. My teacher recommended 8 hours minimum per night for a professional singer. Your sleep is really your best medicine! Also, stay warm. Have an extra layer, scarf and gloves handy all the time. Keep your throat warm as soon as the weather starts cooling down; don’t let cold air touch your neck! The viruses and bacteria that inhabit our larynx and pharynx apparently don’t like warmer temperatures, so if you heat them up a bit with a scarf you might cook ’em to death! Sometimes I have felt a bad throat situation approaching, and will sleep with my neck wrapped up in a giant scarf as well as extra blankets, and the bug never manifests. Works for me, so I hope it helps you, too!
- Salt water is your best friend and should be gargled with or used via a neti-pot at the first sign of a cold or sore throat. This is even good for hangovers and over-eating; sometimes we get toxic from eating too much processed food or yeast in wine, beer, and you will feel the sludge and restriction in the larynx/pharynx immediately. Salt water sorts that out asap. It even can get rid of strep throat without antibiotics, if your condition is not very bad. I swear by a saline rinse via a neti-pot; I have not once had a bad cold since I bought a neti pot about 8 years ago.
I hope this helps! Again, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write me.
Thanks! Rosanna D.
P.S. Check out my piano trio’s website at www.LiveWeddingMusicCalgary.com