When singers get sick……

It’s been a tough month. I can’t really tell when one virus stopped and another one started. Needless to say, it’s been a roller coaster, and I’m still sick.

And what I mean by sick, is that I’m still coughing and I have lots of phlegm. Coughing and singing do not go hand in hand. I don’t think there is anything worse for the vocal cords.

I’m trying to do everything I can to get back to my “normal”. I’m resting extra, including not singing and not talking, I’m eating well, exercising some, and drinking lots of water. But, I know the virus has a hold on me because I’m exhausted. So tired, that I can hardly think.

My cords are swollen. I have “man voice”. Ladies, you know what I mean. That deep, froggy tone that sets in and you can’t change. I’m blowing my nose and clearing my throat constantly, especially in the morning.

But, the show must go on….correct? ¬†Well, yes, and no. I can’t cancel my classes for weeks at a time, so I’m doing the best I can. I have cancelled a few singing bookings, but that leaves my clients in a bind to find someone else to fill my spot. So, I try not to cancel last minute to avoid letting others down.

Instead, I put one foot in front of the other, smile from ear to ear, and take on my day with careful attention. Here are a few details that help keep me going…..

I keep my throat free of tickles and dryness by sipping room temperature water continuously between songs. It’s quite embarrassing when you feel a tickle and a need to cough during a song). This is most easily avoided by paying special attention to how hard I am singing, and how well I am supporting my breath. I like to suck on Fisherman’s Friends cough drops. The menthol seems to help keep the phlegm from building up. (I think this is likely because the “candy” keeps me salivating and swallowing more frequently than I otherwise would be).

Another key ingredient to getting through my show is that I don’t sing songs that I know can cause me trouble. This is not a time to try and show off my chops. We all have songs in our repertoire that require that element of more “effort”. This effort translates into more air blowing through the vocal cords, and will definitely cause your throat to tickle and make you cough. I turn up my microphone a little bit more than usual, and let the amplification save my day!

This is a special time to enjoy the simple things about performing, and sharing music with the people I am with. This is not a time to perfect my tone, or showcase my new song. It is a great time to share the spotlight and let singers in the crowd have a chance to use the microphone. (Of course, there is the risk of spreading the virus, but that’s for another post). Involving the audience is a great way to enhance my show and save my voice at the same time.

And, hopefully I have saved it just enough to get me through to tomorrow’s show……..