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Help : tricks for a nervous throat?

08 Feb 01 - 05:21 AM (#392975)
Subject: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: KingBrilliant

A terrible thing is happening!!!
I find that when I am especially nervous my voice will waver on long notes & is not so under control - throat feels constricted. Does anyone have a magic trick to counteract this (other than 'don't be nervous')?
This happened last night because I was singing my own songs for the first time and was extra-twitchy. So then the delivery wasn't as good as I'd hoped. Damn!
Any tips/tricks to keep the throat loose and relaxed despite nervousness would be much appreciated. Or I could just invite the pub round to my bedroom, where I was of course singing exquisitely..... :)

Kris


08 Feb 01 - 05:56 AM (#392985)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: bill\sables

Hi Kris many years ago when I had a sore throat I used to use "Tyrozets" a sort of losange which could be bought over the counter at any chemists and they seemed to last for a whole two sets in a club, but I think yours is nerves. Try closing your eyes and thinking there is only Mark and Hammerite out there. The alternative is to numb your brain with quantities of the local brew then you will feel and sing like Tina Turner. "I'm simply the best!!!!!!!! Bill


08 Feb 01 - 06:07 AM (#392990)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: KingBrilliant

Hah! There's a flaw in that plan Bill. Mark is the most brutally honest critic in the world. I get comments like 'well yes, it was OK, but it went on a bit'. He doesn't go in for tact!!
I think I'd better imagine just Hamm.
But on the serious side, I'm trying to move on from ignoring the audience to being more connected [the Performance & Power thread having made me think things thru & realise the error of my ways]- so the nerves will just have to be put up with until I get more used to it. I was looking for maybe some physical exercise?
Drink is no good as I've given it up again.....
I'll try the throat lozenge thing though, as it might well alleviate the physical symptoms of nerves as well as colds.

Cheers'm'dear

Kris


08 Feb 01 - 06:53 AM (#393001)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: Ella who is Sooze

Hi Kris...

What about Hungarian throat singing?

ON a serious side... make sure you warm up before a gig... THis can be done travelling to the gig in the car, or what ever.. but it helps if your voice is all limbered up before you start... well, atheletes warm up and it is important for singers to do the same too...

I used to have singing lessons and do some pretty daft exercises for your voice... but they usually worked...

Also, I know what you mean, I get the wobbly voice thing, usually when I am tired, or have the end of a cold or something.

Then I would make sure I drink plenty of water, and have a lozenge to hand... What I tend to do when I am singing at a new venue, where I tend to get nervous occasionally, is I will focus on an inanimate spot - last night it was the gambling maching in the pubs corner and sing to that... but Kris, after a while things get better...

I remember when I was younger and first started singing, I used to get sooo nervous that my knees knocked, my voice wobbled all over the place... My fingers went icey cold and so did my toes...

I used to be terrified... (that was when I was around 16 ish) and I mean terrified... but got used to it all by now.. and I am now down to mildly nervous, usually ok after I have had chance to settle in...

Ella


08 Feb 01 - 07:49 AM (#393023)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: bill\sables

Ella, when we were doing the O'Neills and Scruffy Murphy's circuit it was so boring I used to find myself being put off by gambling machines flashing away so I used to read Tee shirts, Unfortunatly I would usually start to sing the words I was reading instead of the song words.
Bill


08 Feb 01 - 08:37 AM (#393046)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: Ella who is Sooze

lol bill... tried looking at the patterns on carpets but go cross eyed...

and couldn't read t shirts... funny...


08 Feb 01 - 09:55 AM (#393090)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: JedMarum

Oxygen! Breath deep, several large ones before you start. Sing as many non-nervous songs as possible first, or warm up your voice back stage to get your voice box warm and working as well as possible before you start.

These things will help solve the physical issues with vocal 'waver' - if the problem is just plain old nerves, then try to chip away at the problem; sing a few lines of the nervous song to a smaller audience, so you are 'trying it out' not performing - sing it often to small, receptive groups and build confidence, and finally keep in the back of your mind that it is important to you that you sing it well enough for people to catch the song, and not be distracted by your nervous symptoms - then 'damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead!"


08 Feb 01 - 09:58 AM (#393096)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: JedMarum

PS: there are times when even the most seasoned professional suffers the same nervousness you describe. If you were to ask Rick Fielding, Seamus Kennedy any of our other Mudcat pros - I'll bet they'd tell you they face the same problem under certain circumstances. No matter how good you get, the problem never goes away, but the good news is, you can learn to cope with it anyway. It may feel wrong, it may be difficult, but you can learn to perform even when your nervousness would have you run and hide!


08 Feb 01 - 10:12 AM (#393111)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: JedMarum

oh, one more trick - if you're nervous because its your own song; don;t tell 'em it's your song. Just sing it, and then if works out tell 'em you wrote it. If it sucks, tell 'em it's an old trad song you dug up out of the Mudcat DT!


08 Feb 01 - 10:42 AM (#393137)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: Ella who is Sooze

lol Jed... excellent...

I get nervous especially if members of my family are in the audience... or friends....

and at my last 'big gig' i was wretchedly nervous for the first 10 minutes...

Ella


08 Feb 01 - 11:03 AM (#393150)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: nutty

A couple of good yawns will relax the jaw and loosen the vocal chords, although dont let the previous act see you. Also, in the UK, there are tablets called VOCAL ZONES which are especially designed for singers


08 Feb 01 - 11:14 AM (#393157)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: Ella who is Sooze

Hi Nutty... wow vocal zones... where do you get them from.... always a sucker for new things on the market


08 Feb 01 - 11:16 AM (#393162)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)

Jed is right- BREATHE!! Keep the deep, calming, breaths coming to support your sound and calm your nerves. And keep singing your own songs- good for you!


08 Feb 01 - 11:17 AM (#393163)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: KingBrilliant

Cheers all. Will try all these suggestions. Where can I get these Vocal Zones - in a regular chemist?
It was a sing-yr-own night so I was quite happy to admit to them. I did two sets of two, and in each case it was the second one where I wavered. It could be because the first ones went down well & so I lost confidence in the seconds in case they wouldn't go down so well (perverse but strangely logical). Also I think I didn't collect myself sufficiently to get 'into' the second ones & so I knew they weren't going well & hence the nerves crept in. And once I head myself waver I was lost really - so I suppose I just need a trick that I can believe will get me back on track.
I just tried a good yawn (I'm at work so it didn't feel out of place) and it did seem like it would loosen the thoat so perhaps I'll pin my faith behind that one. Might look a bit odd though !
I'm still new to this, so all this advice is very welcome - so thanks very much everyone.

Kris


08 Feb 01 - 11:33 AM (#393175)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: nutty

Most branches of Boots sell them - although you may have to ask for them
I usually go to the smaller local chemists who invariably have them
A word of warning - they can be very strong, so be careful - I usually only suck half of one and throw the rest away


08 Feb 01 - 11:40 AM (#393180)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: nutty

King Brilliant - I should also have said - do it for the enjoyment - sod what anyone else thinks - you are providing them with the opportunity of hearing you sing your own songs. They should feel honoured


08 Feb 01 - 11:55 AM (#393196)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: Lyrical Lady

Try to visulize your breath coming in through your bellybutton, that way your brain won't engage your throat. Works for me! Also I, never start to sing until I've taken 3 really deep breaths ... helps to centre and focus your nervous energy and finally ... be prepared and believe in yourself! The audiance is never as critical of our singing as we are! LL


08 Feb 01 - 11:58 AM (#393202)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: cowboypoet

A voice teacher once told me that when you close your mouth and breathe through your nose it rearranges everything in your vocal mechanism into the proper position for singing. It works for me. I know it can be hard to do that so it's not obvious, but it can be done.


08 Feb 01 - 12:33 PM (#393238)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: GUEST,JohnB

When I first started singing with a choir a number of years back. I would gargle with "Southern Comfort" before each performance. It used to just take the edge off and relax everything. If you have given up drinking you could spit it out after. If you do use anything which numbs any part of your throat, be careful not to overdo the force you use when singing. You do not want to damage anything. JohnB


08 Feb 01 - 12:49 PM (#393256)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: Noreen

nutty, are 'Vocal Zones' those tiny black things that used to be called 'Nigroids' and other things? I used to suck them when I did a lot of choral singing, but had forgotten about them.

They keep the throat lubricated, but the only thing I've found for the 'tightness' that comes with nerves, Kris, is deep, slow breaths- and alcohol of course. :0)

Noreen


08 Feb 01 - 12:56 PM (#393263)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: Pseudolus

I've written very few songs, only about three of which I will sing in public. The only time it really got to me was when I announced at a gig that I had written a song and it was dedicated to my girlfriend who was about to move to Boston (about 6 1/2 hours from me!!!) for three months. I was about to start the song and the place when absolutely quiet...bummer. So, I sang it....and the place went nuts. Not necessarily because of the song but the sentiment of the moment wasn't lost on anybody. I never sang the song worse than I did that night but I think when you announce that it is your own song, most people want you to succeed and will be with you. So take all of the advice, yawn, gargle, etc., but then remember that they're with you....and so are we, in spirit.

Frank

btw, the song worked. Instead of going to Phoenix for her next stint after Boston, she went to Maryland (30 minutes away) and then got a full time job in Wilmington (my neighborhood!!) and on June 13, 1998 we were married! Life is good.....


08 Feb 01 - 01:00 PM (#393270)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: KingBrilliant

Ah - the power of song Pseudolus! That's a really lovely story, and on that note I'll tidy my desk and go home - with a smile on my face.

Kris


08 Feb 01 - 01:17 PM (#393289)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: InOBU

My advice to you young man, is to drink heavily. I've had my share, now it is your turn...
Larry Otway (of the great Sorcha Dorcha Ballad and Ceile Band - the hardest working band of any century!)


08 Feb 01 - 01:25 PM (#393304)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: Noreen

*LOL* Larry- that's what the drink does to you... she looks nothing LIKE a young man!

Noreen


08 Feb 01 - 01:32 PM (#393314)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: Ella who is Sooze

ahhh Noreen...now I remember them... they tasted disgusting, my singing tutor used to give them to me...

yeuch!!!!!


08 Feb 01 - 01:35 PM (#393322)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: Noreen

That's them, Ella. You think they MUST be doing something, they taste so foul!!

Noreen


08 Feb 01 - 01:59 PM (#393346)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)

I hate to say this, mates, but alcohol can be murder on your throat and nerves- so remember, do all in moderation and take care of yourselves, y'all!


08 Feb 01 - 04:32 PM (#393490)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: InOBU

Kris! My appologies! Noreen, I stuck my face through the monitor, and RIGHT YOU ARE! Serriouly folks, I used to often have a wee drop of whiskey to clear out the pipes, however, I also heard opera singers eat potato chips to oil the vocal cords. We have a bag or two before we go on, and it seems to work. And relax... it's only music. Far be it for me coment on anyone's spelling, but I understand a past US vice president would eat potatoe chips before he's sing.... (couldn't resist)
All the best
Larry


08 Feb 01 - 04:59 PM (#393513)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: nutty

Opera singers spray the vocal chords with alcohol to relax them - what a waste of a good drink and no Noreen they are not the same as nigroids but are almost as unpleasant(well a bit better than that)


08 Feb 01 - 06:14 PM (#393574)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: Helen

A quick and cheap remedy for onstage nerves (which was suggested and endorsed by lots of the e-mail harplist group from around the world) is to eat a couple of bananas about 20 minutes before performing. There were all sorts of suggestions about why it works, but everyone on the list seemed to agree that it worked for them. It's related to Beta blockers somehow.

When I did my first and only solo harp performance - about 3 tunes - I took along a banana, but forgot to eat it. I did have a drink beforehand but it made me worse not better. It made me feel a bit calmer, but it made my fingers go everywhere but where they should have been on the strings.

The truth of the matter is that I was pushed into a solo performance before I was ready. If I had practiced the tunes enough and had brought my solo skill levels up to performance standard it would have been totally different. Practice to the point of autopilot helps a lot, I think. (I have still avoided solo performances because I still don't practice solo pieces religiously - well, not much at all, really.)

Helen


09 Feb 01 - 05:35 AM (#393893)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: KingBrilliant

Hey ! I don't mind being called 'young man', Larry - I like the 'young' bit anyway.....
So - little foul throat sweeties & banana, washed down by a medicinal whiskey perhaps. Oh the sacrifices we make......
Gargling with Southern Comfort sounds painful - blimey!!! I'll try everything then it must be OK!

Kris


09 Feb 01 - 12:36 PM (#394255)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: GUEST,JohnB

Gargling with Southern Comfort sounds painful. Only if you don't use enough KB ;) JohnB


10 Feb 01 - 11:23 AM (#394991)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: vindelis

You can't beat the odd pint of dutch courage. I prefer the finest Irish stout myself.


10 Feb 01 - 12:30 PM (#395058)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: Noreen

Right: 2 bananas coming up. Not heard of that one before, Helen. I'll report back on the success or otherwise...

Noreen


13 Aug 11 - 08:15 PM (#3207582)
Subject: RE: Help : tricks for a nervous throat?
From: GUEST

for me i feel alchohol is a litle bit good to calm the nerves but should be taken less than three ours before singing otherwise it courses a hoarse throat as well siping water during voicing or performance