This applies to most singers, speakers and other performers whose career depends on their vocal chords. For some of these performers (me included), there are instances where we just get chosen to sing or speak in front of an audience on a sudden date, thus giving you only a few days to prepare. But there’s another problem:
Having a ‘hoarse voice‘.
Everyone has their normal voices, that normal tone and quality that retains everyday; when you talk to someone, when you sing in the bathroom, when you talk to the barista to get a to-go coffee, when you order a meal and a lot more daily activities that basically requires you to speak. But there are days where you let yourself go and shout with the crowd or speak loudly or continuously for hours, then when you wake up in the morning and notice that you greeted yourself a ‘good morning,’ with such a rough voice. It’s as if there’s phlegm stuck in your throat but no matter how much you cough it out or push it down with water, it doesn’t go away. You’ll spent the whole day with friends asking, “What happened to your voice?”. But alas, you remembered you’ve got a performance after two days.
Based from what I’ve been through, during some ‘musical’ experiences, hoarse voices sometimes don’t go away in a day (If you get lucky though, it’ll go away after you wake up and drink water the next day). But here below are some pretty effective yet simple tips on how to save your voice and on your fast recovery towards gaining back your own voice.
Breathing is the first thing you should do after realizing you have a hoarse voice. But don’t do it normally. There’s a process to it.
1. Stand up and relax yourself. Remove any tension, especially on the shoulders.
2. Inhale deeply. When you inhale, don’t carry your shoulders with it. Don’t lift your shoulders, instead, inhale with only your chest (or lungs, if you will) gaining air.
3. Hold for at least 5 seconds.
4. Exhale slowly. Don’t do a sudden release of air. This separates you from the pace that you’ve started. Form an ‘O’ with your mouth, and slowly release the air.
5. Repeat the process. Every time you hold your breath, try and increase the seconds.
Breathing helps in clearing out any phlegm or anything that’s in your throat that might be causing your voice to be rough. Immediately drink water.
2. Don’t Drink Cold Beverages.
Some consider it okay to drink just a little bit of cold drinks available on their fridges or during lunches. Yes, for some, the cold temperature on their drinks don’t affect them as much as others would say when you have a hoarse voice. Others even say it cures them from it–they say, it smoothens their throats and clears out anything bad in their throats (much like what I’ve said about breathing).
But, we are dealing with ‘sudden performances’. A sudden event that requires your voice to be in great condition. So, adding up to the tips I should give you is to not drink cold sodas, waters, juices, or whatever damn cold drinks that are available and tempting.
Hot outside? Tired day? Want a cold drink? Tell your body and mouth, “No.”. As tempting as it is, your throat tends to be surprised at the cold drink and may end up worsening your hoarse voice.
Try and drink lukewarm water for the day. Don’t go for sodas of any kind. Doesn’t really hurt to take the advice. Besides, when you’re done performing. Sing and talk and drink cold sodas all you want. It’s a reward.
3. Don’t talk too much.
Don’t talk so much when you’re prepping yourself for your performance. Don’t talk loudly and don’t scream or shout at anything or anyone so freakin’ much. It really ‘saves your voice’. Trust me on this one.
4. Cover yourself up.
By this I mean, wear a scarf, put a hanky on your throat or simply cover your neck with fabric. It’s important your throat doesn’t get cold. It’s the same as drinking cold beverages. When you’re in a motorcycle or in any open vehicle or walking during a (even mildly) cold night, cover your neck, twist that scarf around and keep it warm as possible. Drink coffee or hot chocolate, if you will. It helps your voice recover fast and without any hassle.
5. Apply and Cover.
This one, is a process I’ve kept sacredly because it’s really helpful and effective.
Before you sleep, apply some of those liniment oil in your neck. It’ll make your throat a bit stingy and suddenly hot, but it’ll be warm for later. Immediately put a sweater on and wear a SCARF. Cover your neck so the warmth remains and amplifies. Much like tip #4, it’s important you and most especially your neck, should be warm. But not to the point where you sweat. Just make sure you don’t get cold all through the night.
Then have a good night’s sleep.
Repeat the process until your performance. You’ll feel a sudden clearing on your throat and try to engage in talks a bit less loud before your performance.
When you follow all of these, I guarantee good results. Of course, this goes for extreme cases too. It might not always return quickly on the scheduled date, but the process is also helpful for a recovery, nonetheless. I guarantee it.
When you’re prepared, you’re hard to beat.