Monday, December 19, 2016

How to care for your voice over the festive season

Christmas is a time for singing. It’s everywhere. Sometimes it seems that Christmas is the only time that many of us sing!

christmas singers
photo by Richard Towell

Whether you’re in a choir or just singing carols with friends, you need to look after your voice. Here are some ideas.

There are plenty of vocal dangers around for the unwary at winter time. In the warm glow of Christmas it’s often easy to overlook something that might end up harming your voice. You’ll want to look after it so you can go on singing throughout the season.

  • singing outdoors – there is a lot of carol singing outdoors at this time of year. Plenty of choirs appear at street markets or outside shopping malls or even (in our case) at railway stations. Not only are you breathing in cold, and sometimes dry air, but there is a tendency to shout when singing outdoors (see Performing outdoors – tips and tricks) Resist that temptation and sing so you can hear the other singers near you.
  • the numbness of alcohol – we all love a drink, especially at this time of year. But alcohol can numb our senses and it’s so easy to end up singing too loud or letting technique go out the window. So remember when you’ve had a few, try to keep a lid on the volume or you’ll regret it the next day (amongst other things!).
  • hydrate, hydrate – when it’s cold the last thing we want to drink is plain water. It’s not easy in the winter to realise that we’re not hydrating enough so make sure you keep the drinks coming. Herb teas are a good alternative to cold water.
  • avoid coughs and sneezes – keep up good cold and flu hygiene by washing your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. Most people don’t realise how many germs are lurking on door handles, etc. See Keep it to yourself! – why colds, singing and choirs don’t mix
  • baby it’s cold out there! – make sure you warm up both your voice and your body before setting off to do some outdoor carol singing. And wrap up warm.
  • so many concerts – for those of you in choirs it can seem that this time of year is just one concert after another. Make sure you rest your voice in between performances and don’t always give it your all (keep a little in the bank). See Looking after yourself in a busy concert season.

Whatever singing you do (even if it’s getting the whole family to sing) over the festive season, remember that singing is for life, not just for Christmas!

Happy Christmas to all my lovely readers!!

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Chris Rowbury



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