Taking care of my voice

I’ve got a chest cold or something going on, and spent most of the morning and part of the afternoon in bed with a fever, chills and a cough. This afternoon I was feeling a bit better, with just some tightness in the chest. I planned to spend some time just answering a few emails and relaxing doing stuff- no voice work.

 But several really good shots for projects came in via my account on Voice123.com.  I’ve discovered that with these sites the auditions either don’t come in for days at a time or you get a bunch at once. I’ve been pretty discriminating with projects I audition for- I only try for about 25% of the ones that come in. But today there were 3 that were right up my alley and one was not only right in my wheelhouse but paid really well, too.

These auditions are time-sensitive; if you don’t send in an audition within a certain timeframe you’ll lose your “spot”. Which is usually not a big deal, as there’s always something else.

However, I felt I had what it takes for these projects- I mean, really solidly matched me- so I decided to go ahead and record them.

The challenge was: How do I ensure I’m not hurting my voice by doing this, especially when I’m a little under the weather?

Firstly, your voice in this business is your tool. It’s your life blood, so take care of it. That said, it is still a tool and you can do a lot with it if you know how to take care of your tools. In my case, what I did was:

  • Took even more frequent breaks– like every few minutes, I took a couple of minutes and just kept quiet.
  • Used technology to my advantage– speaking slightly more quietly, upping the gain and dealing with the noise later in the process.
  • Water and lemon juice. This one is the best advice I’ve ever heard or read. Some people suggest straight lemon juice but that’s not something I’m willing to try; way to harsh. Room-temperature water with a teaspoon or two of lemon juice in it has been the best thing I’ve ever found for my throat and voice.
  • Between each recording session I took an extra-long break and stayed in a warm environment. For some reason, keeping warm helps my voice; I’m sure there’s a medical reason for it, but the basic thing I’ve found is that a warm studio helps my voice stay “supple”.

It’s important- critical- to keep your vocal cords moisturized. That means drink water, people. The lemon juice helps also, and makes the water taste good too. Avoid sugary stuff or anything that’s not clear like the plague. For me the jury’s still out on coffee; I love the stuff but haven’t determined if it has much of an effect on my voice.

So, I was able to cut the 3 auditions, my voice feels and sounds fine, and I’m in good shape for the next round. If you push it too hard you’ll break your tool, maybe for a while, and maybe do it permanent damage. Always err on the side of caution.

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