Singing and that time of the month
This is for my female singers
All women are different, and we deal with our period in different ways. Some of us experience our singing ability being affected by it greatly, some moderately, and some not at all, lucky you. This is for woman singers who have noticed a difference in their talking and singing voices, especially before your menstruation. All the effects tend to go away a few days after your period starts.
Here is what happened to me:
Valentines day, a three hour gig planned, everybody’s really excited, but I know I am nowhere close to being 100 for this one. Why? I am a day away from my period. It was building up for almost a week. And the day of the show I feel my whole body is bloated, tense, cramps and headache warming up I feel less control, the resonance is not as it is usually. And I know some ladies get it even worse, and some experience almost nothing or very mild symptoms. But for the most, being a woman is, really, not a small deal in this regard.
So what did I do? Well, I did not take the best advice out there, and was not easing up on myself, so the result today is, my voice is horse. With my technique I can do a three hour gig no problem, every day if necessary. Though, when I am before my period or during early days of it, it’s a totally different game. Fortunately I do not have another gig tonight, so I get a day off to rest. But looking back at what was happening I know exactly the boundaries I crossed and the love I did not give to my body when I needed it the most. I wanted to give you some tools when you find yourselves having to be on stage before your period.
Our hormones change our bodies all throughout the month. The vocal folds start to swell up before period and are swollen early days of it. The mucus is different and the resonance in your throat is different. No wonder there is less control, you sound weird to yourself. It almost sounds like you sing under water. There is probably tension, that creates strain. Your whole body feels unease, so you probably try to do your best and for the best sound involve your outer muscles in the sound production. You loose some of your high notes. This is what I am going through every month. Plus all the emotional stuff. You’re welcome to add your observations, I would be happy to hear about what you are experiencing.
There are some ways to improve your situation and get by those gigs when all you want to do is drown in chocolate and sob watching emotional movies, or fight the hell out of all the annoying things around you.
These are long term efforts
Work out, be physically active, that makes periods less terrible.
Have a good diet. Chocolate is not a good diet, avoid sugar when the craving gets you the most.
If your periods are still terrible and affect your singing miserably, there are contraceptives and hormonal ways to deal with it, but those you need to discuss with your doctor.
A week or few days before and a few days in
Relax as much as your body needs to. Sleep. Be kind to yourself. Be mentally and physically comfortable. Do not stress out yet when warming up, just notice what is there what isn’t there.
Stay hydrated. Remember water doesn’t touch your vocal folds when you drink during the gig. You need to have enough water days before the gig.
Do not strain. It will feel different, and you’ll want to push it. DON’T PUSH IT. This is not your best, and you know it. Do your best but without hurting yourself. A good rule of thumb, if you feel discomfort, you’re doing something wrong. You won’t have those highs, and that tone and the usual resonance you’ve been working on hard. Accept it, move on. Make the show work in a different way. Be creative.
Breath, relax between songs. It is your whole body that is involved in this. Just take it easy. Be kind to yourself.
You know you sound different, but the listener will probably not be as judgmental. They will not notice the difference in your sound you are experiencing with your body. It is harder for you to sing, but the audience doesn’t notice that.
I was pushing it. I wanted to get those high notes, and I got them, but in an unhealthy way. Why did I do that? To get this experience and write this post. NO, I’m KIDDING!
Do a better job and love yourself extra carefully when it’s the tough time of the month. Go to the happy place and have the tools to deal with reality. A little bit of chocolate, just a little bit.
Hope this was helpful.
Sing it away!