Tips and Guidelines
for Vocal Health Products
By Scott Rabb
“What is the best throat spray?” is the most common question I am asked. And I respond with a question, "for what…?"
Like any product, everyone has a favorite brand. But also, like any product, if a celeb has a favorite it’s because, luckily, it may be the one product that helped them in a pinch or on the more practical side, the product’s manufacturer sponsors them. Just like a vehicle, whether you need a van or a pickup today depends on what you’re hauling people or plywood but if Tiger Woods helped you decide on a Buick, you’re in trouble. It’s best to keep your mind open and be in touch with what’s happening in your throat and to your instrument to make the best choice.
Proper Singing Technique
Some vocal coaches would tell you that if you are singing properly "you don’t need that stuff at all." I agree if their student is completely healthy, has no bad habits and has absolute control over a venue’s atmosphere. But let’s face it, virtually every medication has a diaretic, very few in this industry lead perfectly healthy lives and every venue has air and to top it off, most singers don’t know what singing properly means.
At a customers request, we put together a regimen that explains the timing and prime quality of the products we carry. The "Guidelines" are designed to help decipher which product is best suited for your need as well as help present how they work together. We now send this with every package and the response has been great.
These “Guidelines” are from the experience of students in studios, countless testimonials from customers and personal testing/experience with each product. Of course, everyone is unique and results may vary. A singer, performer, teacher or speaker can use all or part of this regimen depending on the incidental symptoms.
BEFORE – Prior to your engagement (about an hour before) dissolve a sugar free slippery elm lozenge in your mouth. This coats and helps protect your throat from performance abuse. FDA approved as an over-the-counter, Thayers Slippery Elm Lozenges are great for indigestion and acid reflux sufferers and help maintain a healthy instrument and throat. About 10 minutes before the show, 2-3 squirts of ClearVoice or Singer’s Saving Grace® Throat Spray will help clear your throat of excess mucus that could adversely affect tonality.
You want to give enough time to get the loosened mucus clear. These sprays have ingredients that encourage the opening if the air passageway and have others such as aloe that help protect your instrument during performance by providing pliability. We have found great tasting Thayer’s Peppermint Spray to have a similar yet milder vapor effect.
During The Performance
DURING and immediately before – A great all around throat spray before and during the performance, Entertainer’s Secret provides optimum hydration to your throat as well as help prevent “vocal blowout” due to dryness. While the others work for specific symptoms, we like this as the best overall hydration spray. This spray is used about 3-4 times more than the others since hydration is so important. If you stay hydrated many problems may be alleviated.
The Thayers Dry Mouth Spray is another great citrus or peppermint-flavored spray when used beforehand, supplements hydration by encouraging salivation during dry mouth incidences caused by stage fright or from side effects of medications. Excellent for keeping your mouth lubricated if you suffer from stage fright dry mouth.
AFTER – Slippery Elm lozenges also aid in the reduction of swelling and rawness in your throat and work well combating postnasal drip effects and acid reflux. We found one secret is to dissolve one in your mouth before bed. The ingredients, including Echinacea, in Singers Saving Grace and ClearVoice can also help encourage healing the damage the performance may have done. Make sure you read label and follow manufacturer directions and don’t abuse.
Dryness, improper technique and abuse are commonly the cause of most vocal damage symptoms. Drink water. Avoid using products with Alcohol or Menthol; there are many products out there advertising the cure-all for the voice. Study the ingredients in all products or remedy you use and know their effects. Feel free to ask them or us questions. A few sprays, especially the licorice root based sprays, are very similar and preference is personal, try for yourself.
Not A Docter
I’m not a doctor so make sure to research related symptoms and cures at sites like a2zvocalhealth.com and themodernvocalistworld.com or feel free to contact me to discuss your specific product needs. Just Gotta Sing takes pride in providing quality products and advice to singers worldwide. We don’t carry them all so some are not mentioned and although we feel we picked the best, this should not be a reflection on competitor’s products. We receive many products for review and try to keep these guidelines updated. Thanks for reading, we hope you found this helpful.