Ok so it’s only days until your big show, I know you want to be the best you can be so here are a few of my quick tips and tricks for getting your voice on top form for the big day!!
Drink plenty of water
It’s a pretty obvious one our body needs water to function the way it’s supposed to and our vocal cords need water to stay flexible and hydrated! We don’t want any tickly coughs when we get up on stage. Its recommended that you drink 2-3litres of water a day – Not all at once mind you! You don’t want to keep nipping off to the loo! Sip regularly throughout the day, and in the days leading up to the show 🙂
If you want a little bit of extra hydration and a little bit of soothing for your voice (particularly if you have a scratchy tickly cough) I always recommend steaming with a Steam Inhaler, you can get two types – a plastic cup one (kind of like a Sippy cup) which you pour hot water into and breathe in the steam, or an electric steamer which plugs into the electric and creates steam for you (the electric ones are very good but do get quite hot)
PLEASE!!! BE VERY CAREFUL! You should treat your steamer the way you would treat a hot cup of tea! It’s very hot water so please be careful! I always recommend to my younger students to check with their parents / guardians before using it to make sure it’s safe!
If you are going to bring your steamer to the gig remember to put your name on it, last year at the Big Annual UVG gig we had about 15 steamers backstage with no names on them!! Don’t get yours confused with someone else’s – Gross!
Warm up before singing!
Do you warm up? It’s important for your voice to be ready for singing, even humming a few gentle scales or sirens (singing a low note to a higher note and back again) are helpful to get your voice into singing gear – just try not to go in too high, too low or too loud before your voice is ready!
Your voice is a muscle and ideally, we want to keep it flexible and relaxed! Humming gently keeps your vocal cords moving without too much pressure and can help to relax a tired voice. If you think you’ve over done it try humming low and quietly. You can try humming from low to high and back down again to help stretch your voice!
Do the Bottle and Straw Exercises
For those of you unfamiliar with the bottle and straw exercises they are fantastic at helping to relax the voice! Take a simple water bottle and fill a third way with water, use a straw to blow ‘bubbles’ into the water.
By blowing into the water we create a good pressure back into the throat and onto the vocal cords. It helps to help stretch and relax the voice as well as release and help bring back your voice and range when you’ve sung a bit too much. First try blowing into the bottle, feel the pressure build up. Next try singing as you blow, it will feel odd at first but persevere with this exercise as its one of my favourites for poorly voices or singers who want to keep their voices healthy, and I’m sure it will be yours too!
Know your set / vocal part and practice your lyrics
Hopefully by now you know your parts and have been practicing as much as you can – By at least the week before we want to be sure on our lyrics and vocal parts. But if you still feel a bit wobbly on some them try and give yourself some time to practice even if it’s a quick run through a few days before or even a gentle run through on the day – it helps to set our mind at ease that we know what we’re doing, or at the very least highlights areas we know which needs work!
Don’t get too carried away!
Its’ very easy to get carried away with practicing at home, but are you allowing your voice time to recover? Does your voice feel tired or sore when you’re finished? It’s important that you feel prepared and know your parts but don’t push your voice when its best to let it rest! You can still listen to the tracks and brush up on your lyrics without needing to sing. Don’t tire out your voice before you even get to the show!!
Eat well and get plenty of sleep
Singing takes a lot of energy and focus, if were tired we can expect our voices to be also! Try to take it easy the few days before the gig, eat well and don’t push your voice or stay up too late. Try to get as much rest as possible.
Find out where you need to be and when
It’s pretty simple but you won’t believe how many people don’t find out what time sound check or where they need to meet on the day of a gig! Find out where you need to be and for what time before the big day!
Don’t panic! Go and Have FUN!!
I’m sure you have worked hard preparing for this gig and it’s important to just go out there and enjoy yourselves!! Even the most prepared singers face hiccups on stage so go out there with the aim to just do your best and have fun!
What to do on the day
- Warm up gently
- Bring plenty to eat and drink
- Get plenty of sleep the night before
- Go easy on the screaming and shouting and general talking – I know you’re bound to be excited but remember you only have a certain amount of voice a day! Don’t tire it out before you get on stage!
Things to avoid
You’ve probably all heard not to eat chocolate when you sing but there are a few other things which MAY affect your mouth / throat / vocal cords and lungs when you sing – here are a couple of things most singers try to avoid:
- Dairy / cheese / milk can affect your voice by building up gunk in your throat
- Caffeine (found in tea / coffee / coke etc.) can dehydrate you
- Perfumes / Hair Sprays / Aerosols / Room Sprays / Scented Candles / Smoke / Dry Ice – Can dry out / aggravate your throat
- It’s important to know also that alcohol and smoking can inflame the vocal cords and alcohol numbs the throat (which can cause you to push and potentially damage the vocal cords) try and limit this as much as possible the few days before!
And finally – DON’T SELF MEDICATE!
The worst thing you can do for your voice is take throat numbing sprays, decongestants and throat pastilles designed to “help bring back your voice” most of these medicines work by drying out the top layers of the vocal cords, the gunk in the throat and the nose. Effectively dehydrating your voice! Be very careful of throat numbing sprays – if you are numbing your throat you can’t always tell what pressure you are putting on your voice! I’ve known many singers to “blow” their voices during sets by taking numbing sprays or numbing sweets. The best thing to do if your voice is tired – hum, steam and hydrate!
Good Luck!! I hope you have a wonderful gig!!! If you have any worries don’t hesitate to get in touch!!
If you have any concerns about your vocal health check out The Vocal Health Pages Here