Minor ailments can be a real problem….
Two of my private singing students are taking a week off this week with either Covid 19 or with a common cold, the week before I had one person miss a lesson, and the week before three. As I emailed over advice as to how to look after the vocal folds for the sixth time, it suddenly struck me that I was passing on the same advice and that this advice would be valuable to anyone who wants to take care of their vocal cords.
So here goes… if you have a cold and feel blocked up, don’t worry… if you continue to use a good singing technique you can sing as much as is enjoyable and comfortable. Sometimes a singer will go on stage feeling absolutely terrible, but manage to pull off an incredible performance because actually being bunged up does not stop the resonance in your head, and can even help the sound.
The only reason for stopping singing is if your throat is sore and you feel uncomfortable singing. Never push your voice… a rest is sometimes a sensible idea. If you want to continue working maybe learn your lyrics or listen to some different versions of the song you are learning for a change.
Basic vocal care always involved drinking plenty of water and little alcohol… now is the time when you should always have water to hand. Coughing is a reflex action, and can easily become persistent, especially with a dry, tickly cough. The action of coughing isn’t actually doing you any good and can be harmful to your voice. Every time you feel the urge to cough, take a large sip of water instead. Eventually you will probably cough but this will minimise the coughing and the potential damage significantly. If your cough is full of phlegm, the same technique is good, and each cough becomes useful.
Steam is a wonderful healer too. It is possible to buy a steam machine, but a bowl of boiling water with a towel over your head and breathing in as deeply and for as long as you can manage if fantastic for lubricating a sore throat. So keep warm, eat well, drink lots of water, rest your voice regularly… avoid colds and coughs or get well soon!