Performing with a Sore Throat or Hoarseness
Performing during an illness can be a slippery slope. If you have throat pain or hoarseness you should see your ENT (ear, nose, throat physician) so that they can medically evaluate whether your vocal situation is safe to perform on. Sometimes, medications or a steroid may provide some relief of symptoms, but could potentially give you a false sense of “being well” and you may over-sing, resulting in further vocal injury. Ultimately, if you are sick, there is no show or role worth risking the rest of your career for, none of your cast-mates want your illness, and sometimes rest is best. There are times when you must perform through an illness and when you do, think of it as running on a sprained ankle: you learn to make adjustments to “get through.” If you do this time and time again, you will begin to develop new (often inappropriate) muscle patterns for voice production.
Voice Care Before and After a Performance
Be sure to warm-up appropriately before your performance through gentle vocal stretching and vocalizes and then cool-down the laryngeal muscles when you are finished. Vocal cool downs can be gentle vocal slides or glides up and down your range (which stretches and contracts the vocal folds). Physical body stretching and becoming mentally focused are also key components before and after performances and auditions.
World Voice Day
World Voice Day began in 1999 in Brazil and spread internationally to highlight the importance of the voice and how to prevent and treat vocal problems. The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (members are ear,nose and throat or ENT physicians) has been the U.S. sponsor of World Voice Day since 2002. Free voice screenings are offered throughout the country; check your local ENT’s office to learn more.