As the temperature drops, the leaves fall off the trees and the dark nights close in, we need to take extra care of our voices, but if you follow these simple tips, the cold weather doesn’t need to be a problem!
Wear a scarf & hat
You lose heat from any part of your body that is exposed, and in the colder months we want to keep ourselves warm so we don’t catch a chill. So grab your hat & scarf and wrap up when heading out into the cold.
Well, this is the same all year round- as singers, we always want to drink plenty of water so our voices can work optimally, but cold, winter air is often very dry so we need to hydrate more than normal. Indoor heating can also be very drying for the vocal tract so stay hydrated by drinking at least 2 litres of water each day, you may also want to consider using a humidifier.
(This may sound a bit gross, but check your urine; the yellower it is, the more dehydrated you are. The clearer it is, the more hydrated you are.)
Drink warm drinks
A warm drink will help warm the throat area, be sure to go for decaffeinated or low caffeine options as caffeine can be dehydrating- herbal tea or a warm honey & lemon can be a good choice! (If you are going for caffeine, make sure you drink a glass of water with it to re-hydrate.)
Breathe through your nose
Breathing in through the nostrils moistens, filters & warms the air taken into the lungs, so try to breathe in through the nose instead of the mouth as much as possible when outside in the cold air.
If you’ve been outside in the cold, for a long period of time, give your voice time to adjust before you sing. Musicians allow their instruments to adjust to room temperature before playing. As a singer, with an extremely delicate instrument, it is wise to also allow around 20 minutes for your voice to acclimatise.
This is something you should be doing everyday and/or before you sing, regardless of the weather conditions! Your vocal warm up is even more important when it’s cold! Take extra time to warm up your body & voice gently before you go full out.
“Should I sing if I’m ill?”
Singing with a cold isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as you do a proper vocal warm up & focus on good technique, you can still sing when you’re less than 100%. Spend time working on flexibility, breath support & nasal resonance, and trust in your vocal technique.
However, if it hurts when you sing, you have laryngitis or you’ve lost your voice; rest!
What are your cold weather singing tips? Let me know in the comments.