‘Technique is everything, along with not talking over loud sounds, avoiding excessive talking on show days and drinking lots of water to keep your vocal cords hydrated. Water should be room temperature as it’s better for hydration. Take vocal naps when you can and avoid eating close to bedtime. Voice, mind, and body need to be beautifully connected.’
Of course, the weather can add a whole new bunch of challenges into the mix.
‘In the summer, hayfever can cause real issues and needs tackling head-on. I’m a big fan of humidifiers – it’s great to keep one in your dressing room for pre-show and interval relief. I also keep manuka honey in my medicine chest. Its antiviral and antibacterial properties can reduce inflammation and attack the bacteria that cause pain. Take just half a teaspoon (don’t water it down) when your throat feels dry or sore, particularly at bedtime. Don’t eat or drink anything for 20 minutes after, then it’s amazing magical properties will get to work.’
In the winter, make sure you wrap up properly when outside, especially after a show. It’s natural when you’re feeling hot to want to go outside to cool down, but those rapid changes in temperature can end up making you ill as your body gets confused trying to regulate your temperature. Get that coat on and wrap that scarf around you before you leave the building!
3. Looking after your voice during shows
Aside from grabbing yourself a pot of manuka honey on your way to the theatre, many performers swear by vocal zones during shows. But what does Sally recommend?
‘Vocalzones are okay but shouldn’t be overused. With knowledge, you can have everything you need to be the singer you want to be and deliver the performance you want to deliver. You are in control at all times – how amazing do you want to be?
Singers are settling for less because they don’t realize how simple it is to bring about incredible changes in stamina, range, and power. When you have these things in place, you can sing without compromise. Before this happens, yes you will need to pace yourself during the show and take vocal rest in-between, but no singer should be losing their voice because of how they are singing.’
Sally Rivers has been coaching stars of studio, stage, and screen for over 30 years and has the great privilege of being endorsed by Sennheiser. She works with singers, actors, public speakers, TV presenters and many more from all around the world, and is available in person or via Skype (Skype lessons work really well)!
‘I offer dedicated technical assessments, as well as technical lessons, trouble-shooting, performance coaching, industry advice, and, as an NLP practitioner, I offer specialist confidence coaching with instant results.
Finding a great coach should be life-changing. Seeing singers going from one gig a week to five gigs a week is a blessing. Seeing singers recover so fast from reflux and gaining incredible stamina in just an hour lesson is a gift – I’m incredibly thankful to do what I do for a living.’
If you’d like to find out more about Sally Rivers, you can visit her website or Facebook pages below.