Singing when you've got allergies can not only be frustrating but restricting in many ways. Starting from stuffy nose and scratchy throat that can stop you from sleeping well at night, through coughing and sneezing, then feeling hoarse in your voice... All in all, it can really take its toll on how well you can 'function' when it comes to your singing.
Here's a few things that can be help manage or alleviate your symptoms as you sing:
- vocal creak/ vocal fry; begin with gentle vocal fry at the beginning of the day. Starting low in your range and slide into an easy, clean connection still low in your chest voice. Walk up as steady as you need to in your range always starting your slides from vocal fry. It helps your vocal cords to connect properly in a healthy and non forceful way. You can either exercise this on an open vowel, or if you find it easier do it while humming on an 'mmm' sound.
Be patient with yourself and with your voice...
I personally don't find it easy at best of times to 'wake up' in the morning and get going, let alone waking my voice up while having allergies. So think about it - take it as slow as you need to! Your voice will not be more ready than you are, and it's best to take it at a super slow pace rather than overdo it and be more frustrated afterwards.
- Lip roll; on an easy 3 or 5 note scale, or mix it up back and forth within an octave. Lip roll, humming, vocal fry are all very good to start your practice with but especially if you're not feeling at your best - these are the top 3 exercises I'd use to help open up my voice as they take pressure off the vocal cords and help alleviate all tension. You really can't go wrong with them! :)
- Drink plenty of fluid!!! That is a true essential in our day to day for all times, but especially if you're on any medication for allergies ie. antihistamines, nasal sprays etc. - just be aware that you will need to increase your daily water intake. These medications can be of help to relieve you from allergies but can have a drying effect on your throat. So best to keep hydrated.
- peppermint oil; you can either pop some in your diffuser and enjoy breathing in while relaxing, or put some on your finger and gently rub in onto your soft pallet - it works wonders. Can be really helpful to clear your airways and get rid of that stuffy nose. Your sinuses will feel much more open and your nasal cavities clear. Use it as often as you need to while exercising or practicing a song - theres's nothing worse than trying to push your voice when you can't breathe properly.
Vocal Coach Adri x