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How to Sing with a Cold

Learn how to sing with a cold from vocal coach Cari Cole in this Howcast singing tutorial.


Hi I'm Cari Cole. I'm a celebrity vocal coach and artist development expert. And I help artist find their voice, craft their music, and create successful music careers. I've worked with Donald Fagen from Steely Dan, Courtney Love from Hole, I've worked with the band Journey. I'm going to teach you how to be a better singer and performer. So I'm going to give you a few tips on how to sing with a cold. I will start off by saying that singing with a cold is not fun. But as a professional singer it's something that happens and you have to learn to deal with. The first thing to not do is don't take antihistamines. Try your best not to take antihistamines because they dry out your throat so much that it makes singing harder. It's actually easier to sing with all that wet sloppy stuff than to have dry vocal cords. So, there are some natural remedies that work much better than regular pharmaceutical antihistamines. I recomment D-Hist, D dash H I S T. This is what a lot of professional singers use to deal with their allergies. Allergies in general mean that something is off in your health so you want to take a look at maybe you're not taking enough vitamins. vitimin C is a very powerful vitamin that raises the immune system but singers have to take non-ascorbic vitimin c. They don't want to take regular vitamin c because it causes laryngeal reflux that then dries the vocal cords and that's a little problem with that. So make sure you get non-ascorbic vitimin c. Singing with a cold, I mean in general what I recommend to my singers is to try to ignore it, to try to just sing through it. And the more that you do this you stop worrying "Oh my gosh I have a cold, I don't sound right." Which then makes you sing worse because you're fearful. So you always want to sing confidently. So you say to yourself, "I have a cold but I can do this anyway." Maybe I'm not going to hit that high note tonight so you want to have a plan 'B'. There's a plan A for each song and a plan 'B'. I recently saw a famous singer sing and she instead of going for that high note, went for her plan 'B' note. Did anyone really notice? Maybe those who are musicians noticed, maybe a few other people noticed. But she didn't squawk on that note she actually sang the plan B note correctly, so have your 'A' and 'B' notes planned for the times when you have a cold. And just that super, super hydrated. One of the ways is drinking water, one of the ways is steaming and that's why sometimes people sing a lot in the shower because the steam actually is very moisterizing to the voice. You can jump in the shower, take a nice hot steam Or you can steam over the stove with a pot of water and just put a towel over your head and breathe in that steam. That's going to bring moisture to your vocal folds right away and it's going to clear out some of that junk. I also recommend gargling. Gargling with warm salt water is awesome, and when I have a cold I go to the gig with Throat Coat Tea which you can get at a health foods store and it brings down the inflammation and sooths the vocal folds. So I'll give you one other little insider tip that I learned from Beyonce's team which is loquat syrup, and this you can get at a Chinese pharmacy, drug store it works wonders for the vioce. Some people put like a little teaspoon in some warm water. I just take like a teaspoon or half a teaspoon and just eat it like honey, let it sit in the back of the throat, works wonders. So these are some awesome tips for how to sing with a cold.

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