How To Rock Your Performance (or audition)
With A Sore Throat!
by Kate DeVore
You have an audition at 2:00pm and your throat is sore. You have a performance later that night and you’re worried that you might lose your voice. What do you do? Kate DeVore, a speech pathologist and dialect coach extraordinaire, has some useful tips for helping with that pesky sore throat.
Performing When You’re Hoarse or Sick
- Stay hydrated. The vocal cords vibrate between 100-1500 times per second – they have to be flexible. Water hydrates you. Caffeine, alcohol, sweating, talking, singing, smoking, and certain medications dehydrate you. Drink enough water that you “pee pale” all the time, and you are good.
- Inhale steam. Your vocal cords sit at the top of your airway. Nothing you eat or drink touches them. If it does, you cough. Everything you breathe touches them. That’s why smoke is especially bad for them, as are inhaled irritants. You can buy a “personal steam inhaler,” which is great. Or you can use a towel and a pot of boiling water. 5-10 minutes twice a day, probably before a show.
- Rest your voice (but not for too long). If you have a day off, rest. Also do some gentle lip trills through your range every hour or so
- Place your voice forward. It feels like you are talking “over” your throat. Whispering does not help at all.
- Don’t use cough drops (unless you’re coughing). Just stay hydrated, and use a glycerin candy if you want something. Cough drops dry you out (but are worth it and great if you actually have a cough).
- Remember that no one cares as much about your health and career as you do; know your limits to avoid an injury.