Teaching Tip of the Week – Sep. 5, 2011
I don’t know if you have noticed as I did many years ago that students (and even I, myself) tend to all have “good days” and “bad days” vocally on the same days. I began paying attention to this phenomenon and spent some time analyzing why this would occur. I have come to the conclusion that these good and bad days have a lot to do with weather conditions. My students all seem to have good days the day after it rains. (I live in a very dry climate.) They all seem to have bad days on days when the weather report says that the humidity level is extremely low and when pollen and other allergy related items are more prevalent, even if the student doesn’t necessarily have specific allergies.
So, why is this of value for us to know? In order to keep our voice in top shape and perform at the highest level possible we need to be aware of atmospheric conditions and how it affects our voice. If we are aware of these conditions we can take precautions and also try and keep our environment in a condition that would be the most beneficial for vocal production. I noticed a big difference when I added a humidifier to my furnace. This way there is moisture in the air even when the furnace is on. Furnaces force dry air throughout which dries everything out. Air conditioning units also produce dry air as opposed to “swamp coolers” which provide moist air.
If you live in a moist climate these weather related issues are probably not as critical, however, if you live in a traditionally dry climate and you can provide ways to increase the moisture content in your environment it will pay big dividends with your vocal health and performance. This is also particularly important if you or any of your students are touring and are traveling to areas with atmospheric differences. If you are used to a moist climate and find yourself performing somewhere that is very dry you will find it more difficult to sing, especially if you have been in that area for more than a day. When you are flying on an airplane you will be breathing who knows what as the air is being recycled throughout the plane.
I personally recommend a “a personal humidifier” a singer can use to moisturize their nasal and throat passages on a regular basis. Also, a nasal rinse and gargle can really assist in good vocal health for a singer.