My Secret Sore-Throat Regimen Worked in China

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Recently I received a message from China. An 18-year-old young lady needed to perform a song. There was no way to postpone, and she had developed a sore throat and couldn’t sing. With 24 hours to go, could I help her get functional?

Keep in mind that my goal with these steps is NOT to get her healthy but to get her FUNCTIONAL in order to sing for 5 minutes. After she sang, she could do whatever was necessary to get actually healthy.

I gave her the following steps:

  1. Eliminate all sugar and carbs for the next 24 hours.
  2. Start a water regimen immediately. No coffee (caffeine) or juice (sugar). Water takes 6+ hours to reach the vocal folds, so drinking a ton right before you sing isn’t going to hydrate you, although it may clear your throat a little.
  3. Hot broth double strength is my secret weapon. I prefer beef bouillon. Take it in a thermos and drink it as hot as you can. It will give you about 3 minutes of singing time.
  4. Do not use NSAIDs like ibuprofen. They reduce swelling, but make you more susceptible to vocal hemorrhage. Pain is a warning sign something’s wrong. Don’t ignore it.
  5. Quit talking or singing. Practice isn’t going to help you at this point. Light humming should be all you should do. If you have to do a mic check, sing half the song at half volume.
  6. As often as possible, inhale steam from either a warm steam vaporizer or a pot of boiling water with a towel over your head.
  7. Realize you have a 50-50 shot and don’t put pressure on yourself. You’re sick!

I don’t recommend any kind of herbs or vapor rub type stuff because it can mess with how you perceive/feel your throat. After you’re done singing, then do all the eucalyptus or Vicks or ibuprofen etc that you want (under your doctor’s direction). I don’t use honey because sugar makes me swell up. I don’t use tea because the different flavors of tea make my throat feel funny, then I can’t feel what’s really going on in my larynx. I don’t use peppermints or menthols or other such things, all because they numb me, and that is NOT what we are trying to do. We’re trying to physically decrease swelling and get the folds fully lubricated, not dull our senses.

Understand, the vocal folds themselves don’t swell up, but the tissues surrounding them do. That makes it harder for the folds to vibrate. So you are trying to get the swelling down to allow freedom of movement.

I was thrilled to get a message back tonight from China: “Literally her throat was hurting so badly that she was worried she wouldnt be able to sing. She sang WONDERFULLY! I will get you a video as soon as I can…She was invited to China’s version of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. Thank you dear brother for all your advice! You were amazing!”

She kindly declined the entertainment show invitation (which I think was a wise decision). She has a fantastic voice and wants to use it for the Lord. I respect that!

What a turnaround! I’m SO GLAD this worked for her.

Maybe my “secret regimen” will work for you!

Ben

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Ben Everson is a Christian recording & performing artist with a lyrical voice and a talent for a cappella music. He is also sought-after as a vocal coach and clinician on a cappella group techniques and vocal health. His recording vocal range is 3 octaves, which he uses to overdub up to 50-man choruses of his own voice. Ben has performed over 6100 times since 1995, singing up to 5 times per week. He has recorded 15 albums, three of which are entirely a cappella. He has written over 75 songs, and is a prolific arranger. Several of his songs have appeared in the iTunes Christian top 10. He has worked with a cappella groups as diverse as Pensacola Christian College and Duke University, and he has guest-lectured on vocal and recording techniques at Michigan State University. He has completed 60 hours of study with the McClosky Institute of Voice. He is an ordained Baptist minister, and a favorite Bible speaker among young people and adults alike.
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