The "Hoarse Whisperer"

You do not want to be around me when I've lost my voice. Trust me. I get crabby, impatient, depressed - as in, "I'll never sing again!!!" and super-paranoid about wayward AC drafts hitting my nose, mouth or throat. So, yeah, it's been a fun 10 days of walking through a summer cold that incidentally made up its mind to not skip a single step along the line, from the sniffles to sinus pain to headaches to - gasp - throat pain and loss of voice to stage four: The Cough. And that's where I'm at. Yes, praise the heavens, it can talk again! But it breaks out in random coughing fits in the middle of a word. - Oops.

Having come down with this deadly affliction (at least as far as my singing and teaching was concerned) I did what I always do when cornered by life and circumstance: I went online to do research on the matter. Because, let's face it, one can never know enough about colds and how they affect our precious vocal folds and the mucosal lining in the throat!

During my in-depth research on the topic I came upon the usual remedies, such as:
Don't talk (hah!)
Gargle with salt water
Steam (I very much recommend the Vick's personal steamer. I'm done with the ole towel over pot with piping hot water in it thing)
Drink plenty of fluids, which, to my utter chagrin and complete lack of surprise does NOT include coffee OR alcohol.
Rest, be patient, let it run its course, blablabla.

I did, however, find one nugget that I might try next time I have a big gig coming up and come down with the "Hoarse Whisperer", and I'm going to share this with you here. It's a recipe that vocal coach and singer/songwriter Ruth Gerson posted on Huff Post to dramatically reduce the effects of laryngitis within 24 hours, and it makes sense to me (read the entire post HERE). So here's to fearless, happy voicing , be it in speech or song, and a bright, laryngitis-free future!

Excerpt from Ruth Gerson's article "Singing Lessons: Laryngitis -- A Twenty-Four Hour Cure for Losing My Voice" on Huffington Post:

"My 24 Hour Cure For Laryngitis Due To Illness (do not try without your doctor's approval):

2 ibuprofen* (total of 400mg) every six hours

2 aspirin* every six hrs., aspirin chewed and swallowed slowly without water, allowed to sit on the throat. After 15-20 minutes, sips of temperate water. Note from Dr. Sam Adams: "Using aspirin in combination with ibuprofen is acceptable, but gives a higher risk of an ulcer or other gastrointestinal irritation. Singers should check with their doctors before using these medications. "

At least 12 oz. of water every hour.

Lots of steam (loosens phlegm which stops the cords from vibrating). Pour boiling water in a bowl and put a towel over your head. Breathe in steam through nose and mouth alternatively for ten minutes. Repeat every hour.

Honey and lemon in chamomile tea (not too hot). Chamomile is a natural anti-inflammatory.

Mucus thinner, cough suppressant every 4 hrs.

No Pseudoephedrine! Pseudoephedrine dries the mucus to your cords. The goal is to get the mucus off the cords.

Lots of sleep with the head raised, so the cords swell less while resting.

No talking. No whispering (worse than talking).

A positive and calm attitude. Once you're sick, any added stress can further compromise your immune system and make you sicker.

A few sips of cognac an hour before singing."

Summer Voice Technique Group Sessions!

As some of you might know, I am in the last phase of my certification process toward an Estill Voice Master Teacher. Estill Voice Training is a thoroughly researched approach to singing that allows for great freedom in terms of voice qualities and stylistic flexibility, not to mention a healthy way of using your voice. For more info visit their website at www.estillvoice.com

In order to get some more mileage under my belt I am offering a heavily discounted group class on voice technique this summer only. The class is open to all levels of singers and speakers. You must bring an open mind and be willing to get your geek on.

The sessions will be structured as one part vocal technique and one part open coaching, in which you can bring any song/text you would like to work on (sheet music or instrumental track). If you want to sing the "ABC" song, we can do that, too.

Let me know, if you're interested, so I can gauge attendance. (e-mail to my facebook account works for me). Minimum attendance is 3 people. By the way, you don't have to come to each and every class. Just attend the ones you can make, you'll still get something out of it!

The group session is scheduled for Mondays throughout July and August, unless otherwise noted, 6pm to 7:30pm. Looking forward to working with you!

Cost: $10 per session, per person (summer discount!!!)

About Lofish Studios: the front door is locked after 4:30pm. Please call 212-696-1355, and we'll come down and let you in.