Jon Weber at the piano– Learn more about Jon Weber at his website, and there is also a Wikipedia entry for him. He is the host of the NPR radio show entitled Piano Jazz Rising Stars, the replacement show for the long-running Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland–enjoy!
Today I’m thinking about vocal health for cabaret singers, so my tip for you today is this: drink soothing drinks to help take care of your voice.
Here are a few of my favorites that I like to drink when I am rehearsing for or about to perform a cabaret show:
- Licorice teas: any type of tea, preferably herbal so you don’t get the caffeine contained in black teas, work well here. They tend to be very soothing to the throat.
- Water: It is hydrating, non-caloric, and the best for your vocal chords.
- Iced herbal teas–see below
- Seltzer water–see below
- Grain-based coffee substitutes–see below
- Warm but not hot is best. You can really sear the skin in your mouth, on your tongue and down into your throat when you drink very hot liquids, and none of that is good for the voice.
- Alcohol: I hate having to say that, because I love a glass of wine with dinner as much as the next person, but alcohol is essentially a toxin to the human body, and one of its side effects is that it dehydrates you. It dries out your mucous membranes, can give bloody noses, and makes it painful to sing. I feel a big pinch in the back of my throat when trying to sing after having drunk alcohol. Another side effect of alcohol consumption and the dehydration is that it causes your body to try hold onto as much of the remaining moisture as possible, which means you’ll also likely get a temporary weight gain. A good non-alcoholic alternative is seltzer water (not club soda, which has salt added–you’ll likely get water weight gain from this, as you will if you eat really salty foods like potato chips), and a slosh of your favorite fruit juice, or seltzer with a slice of lemon or lime. Iced herbal teas are also nice.
- Very hot liquids: this includes temperature hot, but also very spicy hot. Both can burn the throat, and make it painful to sing.
- Milk: Some people find that the dairy coats the throat, making it unpleasant to try to sing through it. It affects some people more than others, but if there’s any doubt, avoid milk right before you sing. Soy milk is low in calorie and carbohydrate, high in protein, and a good healthy alternative if milk consumption bothers you vocally.
- Drinks with Caffeine: These also tend to dry out the vocal chords. There are many non-caffeinated alternatives you can try. The aforementioned herbal teas, and grain-based coffee substitutes give you the sensations and a bit of the taste of tea and coffee, and are better for your voice.
This, of course, varies from singer to singer, and is not intended for medical diagnosis or treatment. Use common sense–if you think there is a problem with your voice, please go consult with your doctor. These are just some ideas to try out when you are rehearsing and performing, in order to determine what works best for you.
What drinks do you like to take to soothe your voice when you are rehearsing or performing your cabaret show? Do you have any other show rehearsal tips you’d like to share? Do tell down in the comments! We always love to hear from our readers!
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