One of the most common sicknesses that a vocalist may experience cold or common cold. As a viral infectious disease, it affects the upper respiratory tract, and primarily affects the nose, sinuses, throat, and larynx. Its signs and symptoms include coughing, runny nose, sore throat, headache, sneezing, and fever after being exposed to the cold virus. It is quite apparent that if you develop a cold, you would surely find it hard to sing since it affects the upper respiratory system. As such, it is not a good idea to go on with gig if you are infected with a cold virus, for if you go on with your gig, you may eventually damage your voice.
However, there are instances wherein you need to sing despite having a cold, and you may not look good in this situation. It is best to cancel your gig, however, if you can, to avoid aggravating your vocal condition. But if you could not avoid performing, it is better to follow the following simple tips on how to sing while you are having a cold:
Table of Contents
- Things You Should Do If You Have To Sing Even With a Cold
- 1) Prior to Your Gig, You Should Clear Your Sinuses and Nose with Steam
- 2) Clear Your Nasal Cavity
- 3) Drink Enough Water and Keep Yourself Hydrated
- 4) Use Essential Oils and Herbal Tea to Decongest Your Nasal Passages
- 5) Try to Drink Honey and Lemon
- 6) Gargle Water with Aspirin
- 7) Refrain from Ingesting Caffeine
- 8) Reduce Your Singing Time
- 9) Turn Up Your Microphone
- 10) Lessen Your Physical Effort
- 11) Do Your Vocal Warm-up Exercises
- 12) Refrain from Smoking
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Things You Should Do If You Have To Sing Even With a Cold
1) Prior to Your Gig, You Should Clear Your Sinuses and Nose with Steam
There is a strong likelihood that if you have a cold, your nasal passage and sinuses will be filled with mucus, and you will experience blocked sinuses and nose. Hence, it would be good that you can clear your nose and sinuses before your performance. You can do this by exposing yourself to steam or by using a spray of Sudafed Blocked Nose. Steam is widely known to loosen the sticky mucus that accumulates in the nose and sinuses. Hence, it is advisable to use steam if you want to unblock your nose and sinuses.
You may do the steaming of your nasal passage several times until all the mucus there has loosened up and sis disgorged out of your nasal passage. You can also add “Vics Vaporub” or “menthol rub” into the bowl of steaming water. It would be good to cover your head with a large towel to expose your face to the steam. You should position your face at around 30 to 50 cm away from the bowl for maximum effect. Breathe in the steam through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Repeat this process several times days before your gig. Do it in the morning, noon, and one hour before your gig. You Should also be very careful when steaming your face because you may accidentally get scalded or burned in the process. Make sure that you use hot water but not boiling water to avoid any accidental burning.
2) Clear Your Nasal Cavity
The human voice is created because of the well-positioned parts of the mouth and the voice box (larynx). However, the voice is also produced via the help of the air that comes out of the lungs. If you have a blocked nasal cavity, for example, you would undoubtedly find it hard to sing. Moreover, the blockage in the nasal cavity may also produce inflamed sinuses and runny nose. This would prevent you from expelling air or breathing out properly. This inability to readily expel air from the lungs would surely have a significant effect on the sound that you produce.
It is surely a struggle for a vocalist to sing with a blocked nasal cavity because the sound that the vocalist can produce would surely lack treble. Moreover, the accumulation of mucus down the throat may cause a cough or post-nasal drip. Hence, it is necessary for you to clear your nose or throat first at the onset prior to your performance.
3) Drink Enough Water and Keep Yourself Hydrated
Cold is sometimes accompanied by fever, and if you have a fever, your body will use up more water. There is a strong likelihood that you will feel dehydrated when you have a cold. Hence, if you want to heal yourself quickly from your cold, you should drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated. Prior, during, and after your performance, you should drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. Being hydrated will help you counteract the added stress due to having a cold. You should avoid drinking caffeinated or alcoholic drinks for these may aggravate your condition and keep your throat and mucus membrane dry. You should also minimize drinking milk for they can cause more production of mucus specifically in your throat.
4) Use Essential Oils and Herbal Tea to Decongest Your Nasal Passages
If you try steam inhalations, you should also add several drops of eucalyptus, tea tree, or lavender oils to further enhance the effect of the steam on your nasal cavity. You should, however, consult your physician before doing this for you may have allergic reactions to these substances. Begin with a single drop of Eucalyptus. You should also drink herbal tea with a tinge of honey, grated ginger, and lemon. But before doing so, you should ask the advice of your doctor.
5) Try to Drink Honey and Lemon
Two of the most widely used substances even before the onset of modern medical science were the juices of lemon and honey. These two substances are known for curing the sore throat. They are even better than some over-the-counter medicines for a cough. Moreover, they are not artificial remedies but natural, and thus they don’t have side-effects.
They are likewise easy to prepare. You need to slice a lemon fruit and squeeze its juice into a mug. Then, you should add a teaspoon of quality honey. Afterward, you can pour in boiling water into your mug. Stir the water until the honey and lemon juice is dissolved into the water. Wait for the water to cool a bit and then drink it while it is still warm. This concoction is known to loosen up mucus while at the same time, it gently lubricates the throat.
6) Gargle Water with Aspirin
It is believed that aspirin that is dissolved in water can work wonders for those with a sore throat. Aspirin is not expensive, but it is known to be very useful in remedying sore throat. You must dissolve a tablet of aspirin into tepid water and then gargle the concoction for three minutes. Do this around three times a day. You should spit out the water and refrain from swallowing it. One caveat, however, is this—that you should not use this method together with other anti-inflammatory medications.
7) Refrain from Ingesting Caffeine
Caffeine is a potent substance. It can act as a diuretic likewise. This implies that the more you drink caffeine, the more you are going to urinate which can leave you less hydrated. Hence, if you intend to keep yourself hydrated, you should refrain from drinking caffeinated drinks like fizzy soda and coffee. You should instead drink herbal tea if you feel like drinking coffee.
8) Reduce Your Singing Time
As mentioned above, if you have a cold, you should refrain as much as possible from scheduling your gig. However, if ever you can’t afford to avoid or cancel your gigs, you should at least lessen the number of songs that you are going to sing in your gigs. You can do this by directly talking the audience out into something. You can also play background music while you entertain your audience with casual talks.
You should also ask your bandmates to sing with you instead of you singing your band’s songs alone. You can also schedule a front act that could consume some of your performance time. Moreover, you can drop from the list of songs the more difficult songs to perform and choose only those songs that are not very demanding to sing. Furthermore, you can also tell the audience that you’re having a cold and thus performing difficult songs would be very taxing to you. Your audience will surely empathize with you if they understand and know your predicament.
9) Turn Up Your Microphone
If you can configure the mixture of the sound system in such a way that your microphone is turned up higher in volume than it would usually be, it would be very advantageous to you. Let your PA system carry the additional load that you are carrying. Ask your bandmates to tone down the volume of their instruments. In this way, your voice will be the only dominant sound in a song, and you will not be required to sing louder to overcome the loud instruments of your bandmates.
10) Lessen Your Physical Effort
Having a cold sometimes would surely make you feel enervated and lacking in energy. Hence, to conserve your energy, you need to lessen your physical effort during your performance. If you usually sing while standing, you can get a stool and perform while seated on the stool. If you dance while performing, you should at least remain still without necessarily lessening your enthusiasm for your performance. In this way, you can conserve your energy and prevent you from becoming dehydrated.
11) Do Your Vocal Warm-up Exercises
As usual, you should do your vocal warm-up exercises prior to your performance. You should not think that this may strain further your voice, for if you do it correctly, it would surely help you prepare your voice for the actual performance. Gently stretch your vocal cords before you perform. You can try some light humming or just start talking in various pitches without singing. Rest your voice immediately if you feel that the exercises are further aggravating your voice condition.
12) Refrain from Smoking
If you have the vice of smoking, you should at least control yourself and refrain from smoking prior to your gig. Smoking is definitely bad for your health, and it is even worse when you smoke while you have a cold. Moreover, it could damage your vocal cords. So, if you can harness all your effort to refrain from smoking, you should do it to save you from the concomitant maladies due to smoking.