PRACTICE & PERFORMANCE
Everything that affects your health, skin, or mood can affect your performance. The good news is that you can control these things by keeping the following in mind:
Avoid Bad Habits – At all times, avoid excessive coughing, clearing of throat, sneezing, screaming, or over-rehearsing to avoid tiring, straining, and permanently damaging the vocal cords.
Physical Performance – Singing is a whole body experience. The best vocalists get plenty of sleep and a moderate amount of exercise to perform at their peak. Many of today’s artists MOVE on stage. So the real trick is to be in good physical condition. By maintaining a physical fitness regimen you will have more support for those long, high notes and phrases and be less winded and stressed during performance.
Hormones – Changes in the thickness of the cords due to hormonal fluctuations can be compensated for with the correct SLS techniques.
Nerves – Allow yourself to be nervous and use it as an energy boost. Many performers get nervous; so you are in good company. Tightening the stomach and diaphragm muscles will aid in “chasing away the butterflies.” Stress is something different. If you’re stressed, physically, emotionally, or otherwise, make sure you get into a routine that will put you in a healthier place. A balanced personal life, and a healthy spiritual life will help in all areas of your life.
Singing often helps stress disappear. Many vocalists pretend to be someone else during performance in order to put thoughts out of their mind and perform at their best. Do allow yourself to have fun . . . and your audience will, too!
Anxiety + Other Irritants – Aside from meditation, streaching, warming up, or various mind games, there are some nutritional aides to keep the nerves and stressors in check. Avoid caffeine, sodas, processed fruit drinks, and non-herbal teas before performing. Calming herbal-teas that contain chamomile are very soothing for some.
An often overlooked calming resource is the banana; unless it happens to give you indigestion, as it does me. When you’re nervous or anxious, you may perspire more or have to use the bathroom more. The loss of potassium in those fluids can make you even more edgy or even irritated. Bananas are rich in a natural relaxing mineral, potassium. So, having a small banana an hour or two before show time or your studio session can be a benefit if you’re prone to serious stage fright.
Always eat at least an hour before a performance for a boost of energy and to avoid what singers call a "gunky" throat. Don't stuff yourself. Just eat until you are satisfied. You may have the temptation to clear your throat (which can be harmful) if you perform immediately after eating; but waiting an hour is usually enough time for your meal to settle.
Indigestion often goes hand-in-hand with pre-performance jitters or anxiety. Avoiding spicy, high fat, and sugary foods the day of performance should benefit you greatly. Also avoid dairy foods and orange juice which cause phlegm for most people.
Before & During Performance – To exercise and strengthen your diaphragm muscles, close your mouth and pant like a dog while breathing through your nose, using the diaphragm muscles. Panting through the mouth will only dry out the vocal cords.
Dance, jump, bend, shake, and stretch your body before going on “stage” to loosen and relax muscles. You cannot sing your best when your body is tense.
Sipping room-temperature water during practice/performance will help to keep the vocal cords hydrated and more relaxed; especially when having allergies and nasal drainage. Add a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to a glass of water to cut phlegm.
Sing 45 minutes, stop, sip room temperature water, and rest your vocal cords for at least 15 minutes before resuming.