Magic Choral Trick #77 The Travelling Voice
First of all Happy Groundhog Day! Not a shadow to be seen anywhere around here. Early spring!
Which is good news for anyone whose voice feels a bit scratchy in the dry air of our Canadian homes in winter.
When we’re at home we can always haul out the humidifier, or even open some windows on the occasional mild, wet day – but hotels are a different story.
Many hotels are hermetically sealed, so there’s no way of breathing any real air while you’re asleep. If that air is also dry, it can mean that the entire chorus’ voices will be slightly less flexible and a bit more rough than usual.
No one seems to mind this much when the chorus is travelling to sing a few concerts for fun. However, if they’re singing in competition, having all the voices singing at a level slightly less than their best can make a huge difference.
Apart from all the usual tips about taking care of yourself – enough sleep, eating good food, outdoor exercise – here are a couple of things to keep in mind when we’re on the road.
Humidifier in the room. If this isn’t possible, run the shower till it’s hot; (turn it off for a second while you lean in to…) put the plug in the bath; fill the bath with hot water, and leave the water in overnight. Oh yes – leave the bathroom door open.
Drink more water than usual
Try to refrain from talking late into the night on the evening before the competition. Apart from the physical stress of losing the sleep, most of us do not speak correctly placement-wise (more about this in a later post) and the combination of pressing the speaking voice down over a long period of time, the tiredness, the inevitable raucous laughter, and the dry air can create a small singing crisis the next day.
At Barbershop competitions it’s usually the evening after the competition when the unbridled revelry and song happens well into the wee hours. At that point, nobody is really concerned about the lack of humidity.