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General voice/throat care

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Les in Chorlton 03 Sep 14 - 10:19 AM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Sep 14 - 03:05 PM
GUEST,# 03 Sep 14 - 06:24 PM
GUEST,Rahere 03 Sep 14 - 06:43 PM
GUEST, topsie 04 Sep 14 - 03:47 AM
Les in Chorlton 04 Sep 14 - 04:57 AM
Leadfingers 04 Sep 14 - 05:04 AM
GUEST,Rahere 04 Sep 14 - 10:13 AM
GUEST,Rahere 04 Sep 14 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Sep 14 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,Rahere 04 Sep 14 - 10:46 AM
Rumncoke 04 Sep 14 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,Punkfolkrocker 04 Sep 14 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Desi C 04 Sep 14 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,# 04 Sep 14 - 02:51 PM
Les in Chorlton 04 Sep 14 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,Rahere 04 Sep 14 - 04:40 PM
Brakn 04 Sep 14 - 08:15 PM
Les in Chorlton 05 Sep 14 - 03:32 AM
GUEST,Jane of 'ull 05 Sep 14 - 05:27 AM
Rumncoke 05 Sep 14 - 05:53 AM
GUEST 05 Sep 14 - 06:31 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Sep 14 - 06:41 AM
Les in Chorlton 05 Sep 14 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,leeneia 05 Sep 14 - 02:50 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 05 Sep 14 - 08:52 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Sep 14 - 02:54 AM
GUEST,Rahere 06 Sep 14 - 03:33 PM
Rumncoke 06 Sep 14 - 08:11 PM
GUEST,Cathy 07 Sep 14 - 02:12 AM
GUEST,Ian 07 Sep 14 - 05:36 AM
Bert 07 Sep 14 - 01:02 PM
GUEST,Rahere 07 Sep 14 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,Throaty 07 Sep 14 - 05:48 PM
GUEST,Rahere 07 Sep 14 - 06:50 PM
Rumncoke 07 Sep 14 - 07:13 PM
Bert 08 Sep 14 - 12:27 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Sep 14 - 02:21 AM
GUEST,Rahere 08 Sep 14 - 05:30 AM
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Subject: General voice/throat care
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 10:19 AM

Ok, I have had a look in past forum threads but they seem to be about damage rather than preventative care.

Any evidence based advice?


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 03:05 PM

I read a magazine article once about the "Throat Doctor to the Country Stars." He said to avoid alcohol, chocolate and caffeine. All dry the throat.

Of course they won't hurt you in moderation on an ordinary day, but when performing, avoid them.

He also said that the reason country stars get into trouble on tour is that they are not trained and their voices are not up to singing concerts on tour. It sounds to me like getting lessons is a good idea.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,#
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 06:24 PM

See a good voice coach and heed his or her advice, period.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 06:43 PM

Good warm ups, long practice - the Lessons thread on the go at the moment has it right, find a Natural Voice practitioner to get the best exercises, far better than anything I was taught in the 60s-70s. You need someone watching you attentively, so I won't tell you how here.

Also at this time of year, start to boost your vitamins against the dread autumn cold, when the seasons change.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 03:47 AM

In fact, the 'dread autumn cold' tends to arrive in September (any day now), after the children have gone back to school and met all the germs harboured by the other children, which they then take home with them.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 04:57 AM

Vitamins almost certainly wont help against viral colds.

Gargling anyone?


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 05:04 AM

Prolonged LOUD chorus singing especially at the high end of ones vocal range doesn't help !


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 10:13 AM

Vitamins won't help once you've got the cold, but they will boost your general health before it's on the agenda, and good general health means you're firstly less likely to catch the cold, and secondly will throw it off more easily if you do. The OP was asking about prophylaxis, not cure.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 10:17 AM

Prolonged LOUD singing is bad technique: you can get every bit as much volume by being efficient with your voice as you can with brute force, which is why we're pointing folks to an NV practitioner so you can learn how. I'm by far the loudest in our choir that way, if I want to be.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 10:35 AM

That's good advice about warming up before singing.

Often I warm up by singing easy songs, not by doing exercises. "Stewball Was a Racehorse" is a good warm-up song.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 10:46 AM

Still going in too soon, Leeneia. Singing is, or at least should be, a fairly physical exercise demanding continuous precision in control of most of the body - and playing an instrument at the same time takes up most of the rest. That means you need to do some particular stretching exrecises first, much as a runner stretches their leg muscles - in our case, stretching neck and jaw muscles, which are a very subtle network extending all over the head, and are not as obvious as it seems. For example, did you know there are two different sets of muscles closing our jaws, one overlaying and slightly offset from the other?
Do a physical warmup first, then by all means do a tune-up as you suggest so you are back at home in your pieces. If you're singing somewhere new, it's often worthwhile to run through something with a lot of dynamic range so you have an idea how the venue resonates to you, especially where the sweet spots are in the acoustic which you can milk in the choruses.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: Rumncoke
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 11:32 AM

I have found that lots of water with a little pineapple juice added is the stuff to drink when singing.

orange or grapefruit juices will not do, it has to be pineapple.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,Punkfolkrocker
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 11:38 AM

Maybe worth mentioning.... errmm.. for more 'mature' singers...

Grapefruit juice may also be a problem if taking statins....


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 01:30 PM

Vocal exercises are better than singing exercises. there are several good exampls on You Tube. I had a very low voice and vocal ex's cured that perfectly. Also do your vocal exercises a good few hours before you perform, then just a quick warm up on the night. One more thing, though many oractise inproving their volume, few practise their diction. I've lost count of how many singers, even top pro's, who you can't understand 90% of the lyrics, no good being heard if you're not understood!


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,#
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 02:51 PM

"orange or grapefruit juices will not do, it has to be pineapple"

That's what WC Fields insisted, too.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 02:52 PM

I have this feeling that my vocal chords are sort of tight and only loosen up somewhere in the second or third song.

Is this likely?


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 04:40 PM

Very much so. It may be the lubricant alongside you, of course.

Joking apart, if you're not doing any kind of warmup your voice won't have settled into singing "mode". When we sing, we process the words from the left hemisphere through the right-hemisphere, adding the musicality, whereas when we speak it goes straight to the voice. I have hangups with the second I don't have with the first, for instance. It takes a moment or two to find one's bearings, that's all, like Leeneia says. She warms up beforehand, you when you're singing. That's all.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: Brakn
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 08:15 PM

Gargle with BiCarb Les.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Sep 14 - 03:32 AM

I believe this has worked well for you Mike. Who gave you the idea? Just a bit wary of drenching my 'priceless(!)' chords in an alkaline solution.

Has anybody else tried this?


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,Jane of 'ull
Date: 05 Sep 14 - 05:27 AM

What about if you have health problems that affect the voice, I have underactive thyroid (can make your voice weak and husky due to thyroid enlargement) and a dustmite allergy which causes sinusitis, post nasal drip and bouts of coughing. Not sure how to alleviate this and I don't like taking antihistamines (they don't really work anyway).


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: Rumncoke
Date: 05 Sep 14 - 05:53 AM

I take Thyroxine which sorted out the defunct thyroid after only a little while, and I used to get hay fever until I took a homeopathic remedy the chemist had on the shelves.

I know it could not work - should not work, in no way should it have worked - but it did. It worked for a couple of years the first time, so I tried it again and it is still ongoing. I don't like finding out that such things are effective because it leaves me baffled, but I'd rather that than hay fever.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Sep 14 - 06:31 AM

That's interesting Rumncoke. I take Thyroxine too but still think it affects my throat. Which homeopathic remedy do you take? I'd try anything to solve my allergy problem if it worked.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Sep 14 - 06:41 AM

For instant use prior to a performance, try Vocalzones pastilles (as originally made for Enrico Caruso, as it used to say on the box)
Not particularly tasty, but bearable, and they really can work wonders on a cold night when your voice isn't at its best - and the black tongue makes a fascinating conversation piece.
They became difficult to get for a period, but we still manage thought our local Boots Chemists, though there have been occasions when they had to order them
VOCALZONES
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Sep 14 - 08:40 AM

So Jim Carroll, Vocalzones pastilles - washed dwon with ......... erm ..... what - to amke a cocktail?

Maybe dissolve the Vocalzones pastilles ina glass of vodka?


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 05 Sep 14 - 02:50 PM

Here's something I learned from more than one voice coach.

Never "clear your throat." If there's phlegm in your throat, cough it away. Clearing the throat is hard on the vocal folds.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 05 Sep 14 - 08:52 PM

Uncontested world leaders in voice for the past 400 years are the Netherlanders. Small in country they owe their claim to automatic herbs and exquisite distilling

Dutch Gin

www.bols.com/products/bols-barrel-aged-genever/


Salted, herbal candy.... Salmiak

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Small> nice accents to a funeral.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Sep 14 - 02:54 AM

"Maybe dissolve the Vocalzones pastilles ina glass of vodka?"
"Just suck 'em and see" as some comedian in the dim, distant past ued to say.
Seriously, they really do help.
I'm pretty sure that when the audiences used to turn up for The 'Festival of Fools' way back in those cold, dark winter nights they thought that black tongues were a fashion statement.
One tip though - like Strepsils - never fall asleep with one in your mouth.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 06 Sep 14 - 03:33 PM

That is doubtless why they have replaced the G with exactly the throat-clearing H sound advised against, then, Hrarhroyle?

They used to be good, they're not bad, but they have been overtaken in the last 20 years.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: Rumncoke
Date: 06 Sep 14 - 08:11 PM

Ah - now that is a question I can't answer - I just took the one for hayfever with total confidence that it could not have anything in it that would have any effect whatsoever.

I can go and see if the chemist still has them on the shelves and see if it says anything about what isn't in the bottle - if you see what I mean.

It still so gets to me that it worked. Twice.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,Cathy
Date: 07 Sep 14 - 02:12 AM

It has been mentioned to try a little pineapple juice with water.
How many oz. of pineapple juice should be used in the water?

Or if straight pineapple juice was used (instead of adding it to the water) still be effective?

In other words, do you have to have the pineapple juice added to water? (to work)


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 07 Sep 14 - 05:36 AM

I agree with Jim, vocalzone seems to work really well. My daughter who is a classical singer really rates bella canti pastilles .


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: Bert
Date: 07 Sep 14 - 01:02 PM

The first step in reducing strain on the vocal cords is to learn to use the microphone correctly.

And I am going to steal a line from Jim Carroll's post in the singing lessons thread.

...Most of the older singers of folk songs tended to sing the way they spoke - similar tonal range, same speech patterns...

So try speaking the song a few times before you sing it and then gradually introduce the tune. That way you won't find yourself singing outside of your vocal range.

The only medication that I have found effective is beer. Just don't drink it BEFORE your performance.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 07 Sep 14 - 04:45 PM

At the obvious risk of being a party-pooper, beer doesn't help - you need oxygenation from increased blood supply by warming the throat if it starts to go sour, beer does the opposite. Topical sugars help the absorption of the oxygen in healing whatever's up.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,Throaty
Date: 07 Sep 14 - 05:48 PM

1. Prevention: Drink a couple of pints of water over the hour before showtime.
2. Practice: Do exercises to get you singing from the diaphragm. Your throat is the bit that holds the vocal chords, not the muscle that pushes air past them.
3. Remedy: Honey by the spoonful - manuka is antibacterial if you don't want tooth decay from cough sweets.
4. Recovery: Then there's the one where you chop an onion, cover it with brown sugar and leave it covered overnight. Drink the brown syrup that results (not all that bad actually). Poor man's Covonia which is supposed to bring your voice back YMMV.

Alcohol might help in relaxing the throat, I don't know. It certainly relaxes the brain.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 07 Sep 14 - 06:50 PM

We're not that interested in relaxing the throat, though, if by that you mean collapsing the neck. We need space, and that actually means working the neck muscles, which is why the warm-up: we have a head weighing 5kg, 12 pounds or so, wobbling around on top of the body which contains the windchest and diaphragm pump, connected by the neck which contains the resonator, the larynx. If we want to get the same good tone every time we have to manage how the head is held, to maximise the scope for the resonator to work: that means sorting out what goes where for each of us. Once we know that, we need to find it pretty much every morning, so we live in that space. I'm actually holding my head quite high to get a clear sound path from my diaphragm through my larynx into the sinuses, which uses my muscles more than total relaxation does.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: Rumncoke
Date: 07 Sep 14 - 07:13 PM

Undiluted pineapple juice is not good for singing it is too thick or strong somehow.

I estimate that as little as 10 percent juice is effective. The maximum I'd think 25 percent.

Microphone?

Hmm - I am just trying to remember how long ago it was - must be over 30 years since I used a pa system for singing. I did record some songs onto a cassette about twenty years ago, used a microphone then.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: Bert
Date: 08 Sep 14 - 12:27 AM

SNOT true Rahere, Beer contains hops which are a good antiseptic (which is one of the reasons that they are put in beer) in moderation beer is very good for a sore throat. Also the fluid intake helps as well.


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Sep 14 - 02:21 AM

"Prevention: Drink a couple of pints of water over the hour before showtime."
Don't know if she still does, but Peggy Seeger used to drink pints of water whenever she and Ewan took the whole evening at the Singers Club, she wouldn't drink anything else.
I remember one night when she was sitting on the stage during the half-time break, clutching her three-quarters full pint glass, a regular, somewhat tipsy, reeled up to her and said, "Can I top up your gin and tonic before you re-start, Peggy?"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: General voice/throat care
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 08 Sep 14 - 05:30 AM

However good beer is for a sore throat, Bert, it's no use whatsoever for a singer's sore throat. If you need that level of antiseptic, then you should not be singing. What you need to differentiate is soreness from illness and soreness from overuse: what we're on about here is the latter, and mostly extending stamina by good technique so the vocal chords in particular don't get tired and sore in the first place.
I sing for one of London's top venues, the Southbank, in passing.


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