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vocal help

Lately ive been finding whenever I have a show my mouth gets completely dry leaving my vocals not quite up to par. I usually do whatever I can to maintain my voice and usually in practice my voice is fine. I'm starting to think maybe its nerves of playing a show although I'm not that nervous. Is there any suggestions that might helps this problem? I drink enough water, try and stay away from dairy so I dont really get why this happens.


moonbaby Tue, 10/24/2006 - 10:35
Two things to recommend. The first is a dental rinse called Biotene. I get it at the local grocery store or Walgreens'. Really does the trick for dry mouth by accelerating the enzymes in your mouth that cause saliva to be reproduced. The second is apple juice. The pectin in the apples helps maintain that saliva level, helps to reduce "mouth noises". Try them both.

pmolsonmus Tue, 10/24/2006 - 16:47

Is your performance venue similar to your practice venue or is it a club with cigarette smoke, alcohol being consumed by the singer, etc...?

Are you singing a 3 hour rehearsal like your 3 hour gig? You need to create the performance duration and volume, energy, etc...have you done it many times before you're physically ready to actually perform? I certainly wouldn't advise alcohol and cigarettes in the rehearsal, but work up to length and energy so that there is no fatigue in rehearsal.

That said, liquids are your friends. There is a lot of BS about types of liquids and the effect on singing but MOST of it has no direct impact. It may have placebo effects but ANY liquid you take into your system takes several hours to travel through your digestive system and EVENTUALLY get to your vocal bands. This is often misunderstood. You have 2 pipes in your throat, one for food/liquid the other for air. Your vocal bands are protected from food/liquid by your epiglottis. It ain't getting to them in a direct route! Caffeine in any form as well as many over the counter drugs are not good for the voice or the amount of liquid lubricating your vocal bands.

Drink lots of water on the day of a gig. I'd also recommend having hard candy with you at all times. (not cough drops) Start early and often. Do your best to rehearse the way you perform. It could be simply that the humidity due to smoke and ventilation in the perfomance venue suck so you'll need to up the fluid intake in advance.

Good luck

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 10/25/2006 - 01:15
The venues I always play in are smoke free, the only thing they might be is a bit warm from all the people inside whatever venue i play. I occassionally drink and smoke but not around any time im about to perform. I may not drink enough water daily so i'll try that but the fact taht i can practice a set twice and be fine leaves me a bit skeptical. I will try everything all of you have suggested cause they all seem logical. Thanks for the help

dementedchord Fri, 10/27/2006 - 03:10
putting aside considerations like practice regimin and technique and out of your range etc.... i know aguy who teaches voice and diction at a university level to would be radio/tv types... and also has consulted to some heavyweights cbs/nbc/nashville network and musicians too in all genre... his three biggest tips
A.) no dairy as youve already noted
B.) zinc tablets they taste weird as hell but boy do they soothe your throat
C.) lemmon peel yep... the oil cleans your pipes like you wouldn't believe.... just cut some into strips and dry it out ... keep it in a pill bottle and chew as needed

pmolsonmus Tue, 10/31/2006 - 18:40
I would love for some of these alleged "experts" to explain how olive oil or virtually any other liquid gets to the fricken vocal bands.

Last time I checked anything that goes down the "food/liquid" pipe in your throat would then lead to your digestive system get processed and filtered and turned into useable stuff for your body in the form it can use.

While I will certainly admit that the voice can be affected by everything you eat and drink to a small degree, unless it is a neuro-muscular affect (i.e alcohol, drugs) or something that directly hits the vocal bands themselves ( e.g. humidity and smoke) the impact (except for the placebo effect) is really minimal.

There is a ton of psuedo-science about this that really has no documented evidence to back it up. There have been a lot of studies done on singers and speakers.

The equivalence of this BS would be blue LEDs on your preamp making the sound warmer. I'm reminded of a Michael McDonald song...

"What a fool believes...."

dementedchord Tue, 10/31/2006 - 19:57
hey look man i'm not interested in getting in a pissing match but i've used some of this and it seemed to work for me... the fellow i mentioned is at MTSU in muphreesboro tn just outside nashvegas... if ya want i'll try to get his e-mail for ya you can argue with him... or any of the people he's consulted with... remember when the eurythmics tour stopped afew years back because annie lennox had throat problems??? well guess where she went???

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 11/01/2006 - 01:36
On that note, my show was a success. My vocals kept up just fine ,however, my problem with having a dry mouth kept up. I didn't get to try everything that was suggested, mainly just biotene and olive oil. I did drink apple juice at the show and i drank plenty of water for a good few days before the show. That being said my vocals were pretty good, but I still think if i had some saliva flowing in my mouth they could have been better. Thanks for all the help and the suggestions but I'm pretty sure it's just subconscious nerves. Hopefully I'll get over it. I will agree that all these things help but to a minor degree. The most you can do is stay away from dairy, drink water and work on your voice. One thing Ive found that really helps clear my throat out though is exercise. After a game of soccer there's nothing in my lungs to obstruct my singing, its probably by far the most effective thing Ive done to my voice. Thanks again

Pro Audio Guest Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:38
I guess I misunderstood your original issue... olive oil seems to be good for the pipes, but for creating saliva, a very simple tried and true recipe is just natural licorice. Licorice activates the saliva glands quite a lot.

There used to be lozenges made with licorice and capsicum and they were called "Melloids". Many singers I knew used them for dry mouth issues.

Someone told me they aren't made anymore, but I've seen them at the pharmacies here and there still.