Singing With a Cold | Fort Lauderdale Singing Lessons

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Cold Tips from Fort Lauderdale Singing Coach

Catching a cold may seem like a singer’s worst nightmare, especially when a performance is nigh – but it doesn’t have to stop the whole show. Known for offering a diverse Fort Lauderdale singing lesson curriculum, Dyce Kimura instructs vocalists in the art of singing while ill. With the right technique and a fair amount of practice, singers maintain vocal quality and range during a performance. Knowing the correct way to sing with a swollen and sore throat can save the voice from additional stress, while soothing and healing the area’s aching muscles.

The Basics


Before you jump into vocal exercises, understand the physiological components affected by illness. A common cold isn’t generally located in the larynx (which is where the vocal folds reside and what produces sound). Instead, it is often located in the pharynx, which is above the larynx. Coming down with laryngitis will put a singer out of a gig until it is healed, but pharyngitis is manageable while singing. However, if a doctor advises not to sing, definitely follow his or her instructions.


What You Can Do to Help Your Voice


Vocalizing is essential when singing while fighting off a cold. This requires deep skills and training to build up the reflexes necessary to maintain a decent singing voice during illness. Often, vocalizing becomes therapeutic to the inflamed muscles surrounding the larynx, soothing and massaging the strained areas. But this use is only reached by skills born of practice and vocal training.


An Introduction to Vocalizing Skills During a Cold


The first step is to find the highest note you can hit easily (without using force), and sing it at the lowest volume possible using the “EE” vowel. This is your head voice, and it avoids using the muscles around the larynx, instead vibrating against them to provide comfort to the stressed muscles. Don’t worry if your voice cracks, but make an effort to sing beneath the point where a cough is induced. From there, move down the scale. This is a process which takes hours, so expect to practice it over the course of a day. Keep in mind that it doesn’t hurt the voice to sound bad. This is therapeutic practice and is not meant to sound good.


Vocal Frye


One handy technique to use while ill is vocal frye. This is the practice of purposely breaking or cracking the voice while vocalizing notes by reducing air pressure, thus moving the voice into a mixed register. Easing pressure, this technique helps massage the muscles around the larynx. Vocal frye is also a convenient way to bridge the gap between head and chest registers when healthy.


Vocal frye helps to stimulate and vibrate the upper head region, making any phlegm or fluid in that area loosen. This will often cause sneezing or coughing, but it is a good thing, as healing will occur more quickly once the liquid has been removed. In many ways, this is preferable to taking medications (which generally function by dehydrating the nasal cavities and sinuses), as they tend to dry out the larynx and create more difficulty and discomfort when trying to sing.


Volume Increase


At this point in the exercise, still using the “EE” vowel, it is recommended to gradually increase the volume of the vocalizations while continuing to remain below the point where a cough is induced. Once this point has been reached, vocal frye is no longer required to move between head and chest register.


Moving Up the Scale


Go up the scale somewhat faster, then move back down the scale. Continue doing this until reaching a note where it is tempting to give an extra push in order to hit the note properly. At such a point, back off and ease into the note. With the swelling around the larynx, there is a much smaller space for forcing the voice to perform outside of its natural range.


This is a process which often takes hours for those not accustomed to consistent vocal training. To avoid cancelling a performance, it is important to begin this process well before the show so any trouble spots can be identified early and gradually worked through.


Moving Down the Scale

Refine your singing skills by changing the “EE” to the “AH” vowel. Move down the scale slowly and carefully, making sure not to push the vocals too hard to hit a note. It is not necessary to go extremely low unless it is a level that will be required for participation in an upcoming show.


Begin moving up and then down the scales, gradually increasing speed. It is important to pay attention to where a tickle is triggered and adjust appropriately, so as not to lean too hard on the voice when it is not equipped to handle the weight of the note.


If a tickle and a cough is triggered, it is an indication that the process is being rushed and you need to throttle it back some. In such instances, lowering the value on the second attempt through the trouble spot can help. This is essential, as stressing your voice can cause more harm than good.


What to Take Away From These Tips


Learning to softly vocalize during a cold is a smart move which will help keep your voice healthy and aid in the healing process for swollen throat muscles. Dyce Kimura tells his students in his Fort Lauderdale singing lessons, “Even if you don’t have a gig coming up, practice this process if you get a cold.”  Practicing while congested can help relieve the pressure and pain without medications and will allow you to become better attuned to your own voice.  Keep in mind that slow and steady wins the race. It is a bad idea to attempt to rush through this process and force the voice to go further than is safe. The vocal range while sick is drastically smaller than during comparative good health, so allow the process to take as long as necessary.  With time and gentle effort, your voice will open up, and the available range will broaden enough that a performance doesn’t have to be cancelled. Again, if a doctor advises against singing with your particular level of illness, heed that warning and avoid performing. It is better to take a break than to completely ruin your voice.  Learn more about this topic here.



Related Posts:

Never too Young for Vocal Training

How to Warm up the Voice for Singing

7 Effective Health Tips to Keep Your Voice in Shape

Larynx Placement While Singing


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Top Notch Fort Lauderdale Singing LessonsDyce Kimura offers singing lessons and guitar lessons to students in the Fort Lauderdale and Miami area. He also teaches students globally thru Skype. For more information call 7864573687. Also feel free to email Dyce at   Remember its always best to get advise from Fort Lauderdale singing lessons professional.  For more information click here.