OMG, I HAVE A GIG AND I’M SICK – HELP!

Tissue box surrounded by used tissues.
Jaime Babbitt unlocks the secrets of what singers should do when they’re sick.

It happens to the best of us, so don’t worry; you’re not alone… though it feels like it!

First thing to remember (and the hardest to implement):

DO. NOT. PANIC!DO. NOT. PANIC!

Your state of mind affects your health as much as anything, so it’s important to remain calm and realize that you can and will get through your gig.

Emergen-CSecondly: make sure you know your body and how it feels when it’s getting sick.

If you can feel yourself getting the bug, you can make choices to help minimize its effects.

If I experience the teeniest twinge of anything, I start drinking Emergen-Cs and popping Zicam Cold Remedy RapidMelts!

Thirdly: S-L-E-E-P. As much as possible. There’s no such thing as too much sleep in this scenario!

Fourthly (not a word): SHUT UP. Save your voice. When you do use your voice, warm up gently. Verrrry gently.

What NOT to Do

What you’re not going to do is talk on the phone forever or over-do it if you’re under the weather.

Pace yourself; if you’re already gigging, don’t blow it all out, especially if you have more gigs to follow.

Alter high notes if you have to; civilization will not come to an endAlter high notes if you have to; civilization will not come to an end. Your employer and band mates will understand. All is well.

Rest in bed as long as possibleIf you do succumb to a cold on gig day, rest in bed as long as possible. Take a hot shower and take steam (boil water, put a towel over your head near the steam and breathe in the moisture—not too close, now!).

Drink clear broths and hot water with honey, no lemon. Avoid medicines if possible; cold remedies just dry you out.

Use proper vocal techniques you’ve learned/looked up; do a gentle warm-up with lots of lip trills, tongue rolls and dog panting. Yes, pant like a dog for 30 seconds, rest 30 more and repeat a few more times. Silly but it works…

Remember: you’ll be fine. THINKING THAT WAY IS HALF THE BATTLE!

*If you’re sick enough to need hospitalization, cannot breathe properly, have severe pain and/or voice loss, or have a high fever that isn’t diminishing, you will probably have to cancel. Again, this is not the end of the world. Nothing is… except for the actual end of the world. Ask for help navigating any cancellations. You’ll get it, I promise.

My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids

Boris Thumbnail Boris – “I Remember You” (Cover)

Great song choice, Boris! I love how you’ve got your own take on this late 80’s power ballad; you really made it sound like it could have been written now! I’d like you to work on the dynamic range of the song – starting smaller and building it a bit more – and please explore ways to keep using that really cool rasp in your voice; perhaps taking some lessons specifically geared toward helping you use that unique vocal quality safely might be time and money well spent!

Vicki Maldonado Thumbnail Vicki Maldonado – “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato (Cover)

This is a hard song to sing but you did a really great version—verrrry emotionally charged, and you made it your own! A few things: I feel that when you’re either lower in your range or when you sing more quietly, you sometimes lose support and consequently lose pitch. I’d work on strengthening your lower register and your ‘quiet’ mode by keeping your support TOTALLY engaged—just like when you’re in your gorgeous “chest/ belting” mode. I think this tip might help you explore the dynamic range even further, like finding your “whispery” mode.

Maggie Grabmeier Thumbnail Maggie Grabmeier – “Haunted” (Original)

Aw, yeah, sing it, Maggie! I am impressed—and now, a big fan! This song stuck in my head instantly…and you have some really cool lyrics; that whole first verse is so uniquely you–thanks for that! I think your voice is unique also, very pretty, warm and easy to listen to. Here’s my thing: I’d like to hear you challenge yourself to write original melodies that might utilize your upper register a bit more….not necessarily here, but maybe in your next composition?


Jaime Babbitt

Jaime Babbitt is an-in demand voice teacher/vocal coach, session singer and performer who started as a Musical Director for Disney Records. Believing that no two singers are alike, Jaime assesses each client, providing personalized vocal tips and techniques relevant to their specific material for real-world application. Check out her book, Working with Your Voice.

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