Vocal Rest for Vocal Best?

I've been asked many times by many people what I do to keep in vocal shape on the show given the hectic schedule of 8 shows a week (not to mention all the PR stuff we do, rehearsals, after show talk-backs and having a baby in the house).

So today's blog is about just that.

I don't do the vocal rest thing. It's simply not an option with what I've got going on a daily basis. That might work for some people but for me... it's just not practical.

That's not to say that I go around shouting every second of the day... I don't do that either. But I'm not one to carry around a pad of paper and pen to write notes to folks instead of talking.

What do I do?

I drink water, water, water.

I don't drink soda or alcohol of any kind and I try to stay away from caffeine. No coffee at all and just an occasional Iced Tea or a Soy Chai from Starbucks on a cold day. Caffeine definitely is bad for the vocal chords and dries them out. I really notice a difference on the days I have a Chai and the days I don't. I'm trying to save them for my days off.

Sleep is also an important part of vocal preparedness. With the baby, that's been difficult but I sneak in a cat nap when I can. It's really the only true way to recover from fatigue (and that's when you could say I get my vocal rest).

I also look at performance much like I would a sport. I'm onstage (on and off I should say) for 2 1/2 hours straight and 5 hours on matinee days. That's very taxing physically on my body and it's also emotionally draining to play a character such as 'Carton' 8 times a week. So for me, I need to keep my body and mind in the best shape I can so that I can meet the challenges and rigors of the show.

I guess that's kind of the nuts and bolts of it. Simple really.

And oh... we did have the family outing today and Buddha (my older Golden) actually found two tennis balls in the park. He was in Heaven. He tried for about five minutes to carry them both but ended up carrying... the most disgusting one!


DZRACER34 said…
Vocal Rest ofr Vocal Best??
don't tell me you thought of that corny line, jim... haha
Daniel Zorovich
Lucy said…
Hi James,
Thanks for the inside info on your routine. I am also a singer, and while I wish I could take a nap on performance days (community theater), when I'm singing, I lose my voice when I nap!! - so that's a problem. If it's a straight play, no problem, but I try to sleep later/rest later in the mornings for a musical performance, then start my warmup. This time of year especially, my chords get all gluey due to allergies. I try musinex as well as just water on performance days and sometimes even that doesn't help. DO you have any other "secrets" you can share? Also, (I have a feeling I know the answer to this question already) do you do a whole long warmup, or a short one and just sing? Thanks for this diary, it's fun to catch up with you,

Lori Ann
Rae said…
Hi James,

Take care of that voice. #3 for us tomorrow nite. I am planning to buy a poster. I hope you will sign it for us!!!

My daughter picked up a magnet for me from your show. What a disappointment! Very flimsy!! I collect magnets from all the shows I go to. Tell the "right people" to work on getting nicer magnets, please!

See you soon!

jiujiu said…
hello! This post was VERY interesting to read for I realised my voice coach would write the same things on her blog... if she had one :P
Water water water ( 2 liters and more a day >.<) no coffee, no tea, no chocolate(-_-), no cigarettes, no alcohol and 8 hours sleep.. I ended up being the most boring person in the world! My friends don't want to hang out with me anymore :P
Anyway, thank you so much for this post! Imagining Buddha trying to carry two tennis ball at the same time will brighten my day, :D
Siobhan said…
hanks for the advice, I am a teacher and have been going to the ENT to get rid of nodes on my vocal cords for about 1 year now. The next step is for me to see a speech therapist since the acid reflux medicine is not working. (I also have acid reflux which doesn't help). I drink lots of tea, so I think I'll switich to water and see if that helps.
Athena said…
I'm a teacher too, and my vocal cords suffer very much. The doctor recommended me to drink water, water and water (like James, ja, ja). I don't like it very much. The best is I don't drink coffee or tea, and I don't smoke.
Artistic1 said…
Glad to hear Buddha is doing well, again.
Kathy Patalsky said…
coconut water!!!

...it is the best hydrator out there. Organiv Avenue LES has fresh bottled CW. Amazing....

try it and let me know when you are convinced...! :)

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