With the cold weather upon us, the voice can take a real bashing so it’s important to look at how we can best look after it in the winter months.
Going from one temperature into another – i.e from a warm room inside to the freezing cold outdoors, can really affect your singing voice – so be sure to get into the habit of wearing a scarf outside and in any drafty environments. For carol singers singing outside in the cold wrap up warm in lots of layers, particularly making sure you put on a scarf to keep your throat covered. Don’t stay out in the cold too long and treat yourself to a hot chocolate or a hot toddy afterwards to warm you up and soothe the throat!
‘Tis the season for coughs, colds and winter lurgies so keep your immune system in top shape with vitamin C, plenty of fluids and Echinacea. Avoid being around others with colds, particularly in stuffy, radiator-heated environments – the ideal breeding ground for germs.
Rest your voice immediately if you feel illness coming on. Pushing through with singing when you have a cold or sore throat can make winter ailments all the more severe and cause them to take a great deal longer to go away and even cause serious damage. It is not advisable to sing at all if you have a sore throat and the best remedy is complete rest. Steaming is a great way to relax inflamed vocal chords and a little Friars Balsam added to the hot water, which can be purchased from chemists, often helps.
If you MUST sing and you know your voice isn’t on top form, make sure you do a gentle, slow vocal warm-up, drink plenty of hot water with lemon, ginger & honey and wrap up your throat with a scarf as soon as you finish singing. Be very aware of singing with good technique when you are under the weather – it can help see you through many a ‘sticky patch’.