Word to the wise, don’t always believe what you see or hear no matter who’s sharing the information. Coach Tara and Coach Nikki debunk some vocal hacks they’ve personally seen that can be doing you more harm than good.
Menthol Cough Drops
Who hasn’t relied on Grandma’s sage advice to grab a cough drop to help lubricate your throat when sick? This usually isn’t a problem since you probably aren’t going to be singing anyway, but stay away from Grandma’s cough drops once you’re healthy.
Many singers believe cough drops are a great way to lubricate their vocal cords, and yes, it can feel that way since the flavor will kick the salivary glands into overdrive. But here’s the problem, if the cough drop has menthol, it’s actually having the reverse effect because menthol is a drying agent.
If you are in need of a cough drop, look for ones that are glycerin-based, and stay away from any with menthol or citrus to prevent drying yourself out.
We’ve witnessed this in person where singers (even famous ones) down honey right before taking the stage. But does it work?
Honey, lemon, and ginger are all antibacterial remedies, which help your body over time if you’re sick. The effects won’t be immediate, so all they’re doing is giving a placebo effect of a quick fix. You may feel there’s lubrication, but that’s simply due to the act of swallowing (the raising and lowering of the larynx), not what’s passing through.
A more effective method is to do lip trills before going on stage. Lip trills warm up the larynx, they create a vibratory action to clear away any gunk in the airway or vocal folds, and they help with overall relaxation.
Some singers take a shot before a performance to calm the nerves, but there’s a difference between mellowing your nerves and helping your voice. Alcohol, like menthol, is a drying agent and couldn’t be worse for your voice.
There are also those who like to smoke or drink to bring some rasp to the voice, but this is truly a short-term gain with long-term consequences. Over time your voice will be shot with that gravel and grit there permanently. It’s like turning your voice into an old crusty dried out rubber band, and you won’t be able to apply moisture to bring back the elasticity.
Now that you’ve learned which hacks to stay away from, be sure to check out our blog on the top three hacks that will change your life!
For vocal coaching help (lessons and courses): https://tarasimonstudios.com/vocal-coaching/