How Can I Sing When I’m Sick?

What do you do when you’re scheduled to sing, and you have a sore throat? Do you reschedule your date to sing, or do you try to muster through and sing anyway? What if you’re scheduled to sing for an event that you can’t cancel?

This is on my mind because I seem to be surrounded by sick musicians. It’s flu season. And, over the past month, at least half of the singers I work with have come down with the flu or some type of upper respiratory ailment. There’s more coughing and sneezing filling the stage than singing right now.

For a singer, a simple cold can put your voice out of commission. The flu or bronchitis can really mess up those vocal cords and put a halt to any special music that you’ve been scheduled to sing. Prevention is the best policy. Protect yourself by taking your vitamins, eating healthy, getting plenty of rest, and washing your hands often. But, what if you do catch a cold or cough, and you are scheduled to sing at an event that you can’t cancel? What do you do then?

First, and most importantly, take it to the Lord. Ask for His guidance and help. Then, begin to prepare to sing. If your throat is sore or your head is stopped up, your vocal range is going to be lower than normal. Find a song with a lower key track and try it. Sing the lowest key possible. Don’t attempt any high notes. Those will only result in your voice cracking or no sound at all coming out.

Also, don’t try a complicated song. Look for one that has a simple melody and, the less complicated, the better. Once you have a song chosen and before you try singing, drink hot tea with honey in it. The honey will coat your throat and give temporary help so you can get through your song. Repeat this right up until the time you are scheduled to sing. If it’s not possible to take a mug of hot tea on the stage with you, then have your pockets filled with cough drops to use until time to sing.

Some time ago, I had one of those upper respiratory ailments. I had been sick for almost a week. Sunday was quickly approaching; I had to sing. Saturday afternoon, I went before the Lord with my cup of hot tea in hand and presented my request before the Throne of Grace. I needed to be able to sing for church the next day. He granted my request! Praise His glorious Name! I was able to sing!

So, if you find yourself in the same situation, and you can’t reschedule, give it to the Lord, choose a low-key song, grab a mug of hot tea with honey, and prepare to sing.