The Three Day Rule consists of everything you need to do and stay away from for three days before a performance.
- 10 to 12 glasses of water a day. No kidding. Water moisturizes the vocal folds and acts like a lubricant. It makes your voice flexible and resilient and you'll hit higher notes with more ease and clarity.
- Extra fruits and veggies. Foods with high water content help hydration and are an energy source. Watermelon and melon in general is particularly hydrating to the muscles of the throat. Put pieces of melon in your water (love this!)
- Eat lightly the day before and the day of **see below. No heavy foods like red meat or rich sauces. Eating light will improve your energy. Chicken, turkey, fish and tofu/beans are the best sources of protein that are easy to digest. Fresh ORGANIC juices (no orange juice causes acid reflux). Juices are great sources of energy: carrot, celery, beet, kale, parsley, apple with a smidge of ginger is my favorite fresh juice chock full of vitamins and protein yes kale is a little known source of protein. Take your vitamins too!! (Organic please!)
- Gargle with warm saltwater for 30 seconds before every rehearsal, singing lesson, performance and recording. Even better, make a cup of Throat Coat tea and pour a bit into another cup, add some salt and gargle with that! The salt moisturizes like no tomorrow and the Throat Coat diminishes any inflammation and gives an extra coating of moisture to the vocal cords!
- If you have nasal congestion, use a salt-water spray for your nose morning and night for three days prior.
- If you have mucous the day of performance, gargle with Alkalol. Will get rid of mucous for up to 3 hours (you can find Alkalol at most drugstores or online).
- Throat Coat tea daily (Find Throat Coat tea at most health food stores). This tea moisturizes your throat. I also use Vocal Eze throat spray (some similar ingredients) the day before and day of performance. (Find it at www.travelwellness.com or Guitar Center or my studio.)
- No dairy. That means no milk, no cheese, and no yogurt! Dairy causes phlegm.
- No caffeine. That means no coffee, black or green tea, no Coca-Cola, no chocolate or hot chocolate. Caffeine in any form is dehydrating.
- Stay away from foods that cause acid reflux like sodas. Sodas, alcohol, cooked tomatoes like marinara sauce, citrus fruits or juice, caffeine, chocolate and peppermint tea or gum all cause acid reflux that burns the mucous membrane of the vocal cords. The result is irritated and inflamed vocal cords, which translates into raspiness/hoarseness and a compromised vocal range. Consult the fabulous ENT Dr. Scott Kessler 212-496-9300 for diagnosis and treatment and visit http://www.texasvoicecenter.com/advice.html for more info.
- No spicy foods. Spicy foods also cause acid reflux, which burns the vocal cords and leaves them dry.
- No eating late. Eating late also causes acid reflux regardless of what food you eat. Leave 3 hours after eating before bedtime. If you eat late, do not lie flat. Prop yourself up with one or two pillows. Position the pillow under your shoulders so your neck is not strained. This will help keep the stomach acids from washing up on to your vocal cords.
- Absolutely NO antihistamines. They are severely drying to your voice. If you suffer from allergies get tested by an allergist and get on a treatment program that does not include antihistamines. There are many alternatives including herbal tinctures and Chinese medicine as well as dietary changes. Many people who suffer from allergies are allergic to wheat and dairy.
- No alcohol. Alcohol is dehydrating. One beer or one glass of wine during this time won't kill you but it won't help you! However, absolutely NO hard liquor. Hard liquor (rum, tequila, vodka, gin, whiskey) is extremely drying. It is best to completely stay away from alcohol of any kind 2-3 days prior to performing.
- No smoking. If you are a singer you shouldn't be smoking period. It makes singing so much harder than it should be and can cause polyps, hemorrhages' and other vocal problems. When you smoke, your vocal cords are in a constant state of dryness and irritation which causes friction which can cause nodules or polyps (and vocal hemorrhages.) Stay away from second hand smoke three days before a performance as well.
- Eight to ten hours of sleep every night. For those of you who have trouble sleeping try herbal teas (chamomile rocks!) Another remedy that works with some people is to take 500 milligrams of calcium an hour before bed to get a more restful sleep works wonders. Check out www.travelwellness.com for her natural sleep aides for performers too!
- For hoarse voices: Use Roxalia made by Boiron, also called Sore Throat Hoarseness. It is a homeopathic remedy that reduces swelling of the vocal folds. Take for three days prior and the day of singing.
- Steam 5-10 minutes a day with the essential oils of lavender and eucalyptus (use pure and organic essential oils). Or you can steam with plain water. Sometimes I make a cup of Throat coat tea and inhale the steam from that.
Share what tricks you use before your performance below
Happy Healthy Performance!!
©2012 Cari Cole, Vocal Mag, Inc. All Rights Reserved.