Monday, August 04, 2008

Voice care

This week I'm going to the National Storytelling Conference, in Gatlinburg, TN this year. I always have a good time at the conference, even the three times when I had a cold and couldn't speak (what's up with THAT, a shrink might wonder). This year I'm taking a bottle of Clear Voice Vocal Spray. I feel fine right now, just want to be prepared if need be.

I learned about this last year in St. Louis, from storyteller Michael McCarty and a bunch of other people who said, "You lost your voice? Talk to Michael!" When I got home, I ordered a three-bottle supply. Truth to tell, I've only used it a couple of times, but I was thankful for it then. I'm definitely taking it to Brazil.

There are lots of ways to take care of your voice. Here are my favorites:
  • Drink lots of water before performances and during if necessary. If you feel a tickle in your throat, take a sip instead of clearing your throat.
  • Warm up before your performance. Sing along with the radio, make faces, stick out your tongue, relax your throat. Yawn. Hum until your lips buzz.
  • Use a sound system if you need it. Try not to put yourself in situations where you have to exert your voice.
  • Wash your hands frequently so you don't pick up germs in schools. Also, don't drink from the water fountains--kids often put their mouths right on these. Get water from a faucet instead. I look for a sink in the staff room or in a kitchen.
  • Mint dries out your throat. Go for lozenges without it, or with only a little. I like Ricola Elderberry lozenges.
  • Get plenty of rest. A tired voice can easily become a strained voice.
If you do lose your voice, don't whisper. That really strains the vocal chords. You might just have to stay silent for a while (scary thought for storytellers!).

If you feel a cold coming on, grate fresh ginger, add honey and lemon juice, and let this slide down your throat (thanks to Fran Stallings and Hiroko Fujita for this one). And/or use Clear Voice. Michael said that it saves his life every February, when he does dozens of shows for Black History Month.

I also use Zicam if I think I'm getting a cold, in hopes of staving it off.

Any other tips out there?

1 comment:

Liz said...

Hey Priscilla - I really wish I was going, too! I can't wait to hear how the intensive goes. I know people are going to love what you and Olga have planned.