You’ve finally done it — you’ve booked that amazing show you’ve dreamed about your entire singing career. It’s at the best venue, in the best time slot, with plenty of room for your family, friends, and your friends’ friends.
But how do you prepare for it?
Sure there’s plenty of promoting that you need to do, letting everyone know the date and time of the show. And don’t forget, of course, planning that set list!
But what’s even more important is taking care of YOU before the show. So you’re going to need a plan in order to give your audience the best show possible!
Luckily, that pre-show plan includes only 4 simple instructions to follow:
- Do your vocal warm-ups: You should see a vocal coach to learn how to do these correctly. These can include things like humming and lip or tongue trills. Here is a great article about vocal warm-ups from The American Academy of Otolaryngology.
- Stretch: Your voice is your instrument, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post. And it’s coming out of your body, which needs to be loose and ready to emit beautiful sound. You don’t need to get into your downward-dog-yoga-pose, but a few minutes of deep breathing from your diaphragm and some gentle neck stretches is certainly a start. You might want to choose a few physical warm-ups from this list on the For Dummies: Making Everything Easier site. (And you’re no dummy — so click on that link and get started stretching!)
- Don’t over-rehearse: Run through your set once or twice but do NOT over-rehearse on the day of the show. Rehearsing should be done weeks in advance, and the day of the show should be saved for just a light run-through. There’s no improvement to be gained practicing only hours before, except for maybe running through some tough-to-remember lyrics. Otherwise, you run the risk of straining your vocal chords.
- Hydrate up and eat light: WATER, WATER, and more WATER! I can’t stress this enough. Not only is it great for your overall health, but it keeps your vocal chords in tip-top shape and prevents the chance of you causing any damage to them. Dr. Ronald C. Scherer, a voice scientist at Bowling Green State University, explains it like this:
“I ask my students to clap their hands hard – there is a slight stinging sensation. Then, I ask them to do the same thing with a little soapy water: no sting. When you’re singing, your vocal folds are essentially slapping together. What the singer needs is a ‘cushion’ between the folds and this is achieved by having a nice mucus coating on the vocal folds. This coating requires proper hydration. If you are not well-hydrated the vocal folds can become irritated more quickly, leading to redness and swelling.”
I know that sometimes water can be boring, so I recommend adding a hydrating fruit like watermelon in it to add extra flavor. My #1 recommended tea is called Throat Coat. Every singer should drink this with a spoonful of honey. And definitely pass on Grandma’s gooey lasagna — just for the night before of course! You can reward yourself with it after the show.
You’ve been singing your whole life, but this one performance happens ONCE! Treat yourself and your vocal chords well, and that once-in-a-lifetime moment in front of your audience will be memorable for everyone watching — and most of all for you!