Finesse, not muscle.

There are a lot of muscles around the larynx. These muscles fall into two categories, intrinsic and extrinsic. Understanding what each of these muscles do are crucial to becoming a good singer. 

Just kidding.  

While yes, there are plenty of muscles in your throat around your vocal cords. However, you do not need to be able to name or understand them to sing better. There's nothing wrong with learning the anatomy of the voice, but don't let that distract you from singing. Some people enjoy learning every single detail in what makes something work. And that's awesome, but this is not the blog for those types of people. This is a blog for singers, who just want to sing better. 

Basically, stop thinking about your larynx, your diaphragm, power, and most importantly your "range."

There are several things to think about to make singing easier, and very little of it is anatomy. 

  1. Relax
  2. Breathe in
  3. Breathe out
  4. Open your mouth
  5. Tongue forward*
  6. Enunciate
  7. Repeat

I promise every single singer in the world, and my students know, if you focus on these steps, you WILL sing better.

*Keeping the tongue forward can be tough for beginners. It's very easy to pull back. Let the tongue rest touching the back of your bottom teeth on vowels and most consonants.Using a mirror to practice will quickly dissolve that problem if you haven't already figured it out.  

Where does the finesse come in? Well, that's easy and it should be easy. Ironically, singing "easy" is uncomfortable to many learning singers. I used to feel if I wasn't pushing, or really flexing for high notes I wasn't giving it my all. And that didn't feel right. But let's think about that ... what instrument involves pushing, squeezing and strength, over finesse and experience? I can't think of any. Sports are a bit different, pushing yourself is what a good sport should do. And it feels great when you accomplish something with the right mindset to go big or go home.  But singing isn't a sport, it's a musical art form. Art, while sometimes forced, doesn't need to be. Especially when learning. Stylistically in the moment is another story, but that also comes AFTER the finesse. 

Finesse is like watching an accomplished pianist play Rachmaninoff, Chopin, or Gershwin in a beautiful flowing and "easy" way. It's like watching Eddie Van Halen or Jimi Hendrix make the guitar look and sound like it's an extension of their body and soul. They aren't muscling through those notes, they are elegantly playing them. When played on a Steinway Model D concert grand piano or a hand-wired Marshall full stack turned up to 10, that's where the "muscle" comes from. Just like singing through a powerful PA system with a microphone in your hands or a fancy recording studio, the finesse comes from you as the artist, let the hardware in the performance and practice be the muscle. 

The more you pull back the pushing, the straining, the compressed air, the flexing, the muscle, you'll find your voice very susceptible, very fragile, and that's a good thing. That's your real voice. That's the voice that wants to be on a microphone. That's the voice that wants to tell a story. That's the voice that can hit all your high and low notes easily. That's the voice that needs to be worked on, get experienced, and get confident with. That's the voice that will grow into the "powerful" voice you didn't realize could come so easily. It just takes finesse. Finesse takes time. Not musicle. See... that's where this was going... 

So, let the air in, let the air out, sing quietly, don't be afraid to flip, sing easily, focus on the simple easy things, the logical things a preschooler would understand. Open your mouth, enunciate, relax. Speak the words on the pitch. Do it again. The more you do it, the more you build experience, the more you build finesse out of your true unique stylistic voice. That finesse, turns into music. 

Once again, if you just skimmed and missed it... finesse takes time, not muscle. 

Get to singing!

- Chris Keller

Stop singing scales.

"But Chris, I've seen old videos on Youtube of you singing scales. I want you to teach me how to sing like that." 

Short answer, no. I just can't. I want all my vocal students to be singers, not vocal scientists.

Why? Because I've grown, not only as a vocalist, but as a singer. A singer sings for the song, not for the note. It's taken me 30 years to realize "showing off" is not music. Music is an art form. Music should touch the soul, bring out emotion, make you cry, laugh, smile, dance, and just plain feel good.   

Of course, I want everyone to improve their craft, and improving does take some technical work, but when a musician puts the technique first, you have an emotionless combination of physics and math. 

I've learned the hard way, it's not about hitting the highest note, or the fastest run on piano or guitar, it's about singing it like you mean it. Ironically, putting the lyrics first, focusing on gemination, diphthongs, and constant air flow, as I've talked about in my other blog posts on my site, will improve your technique, tone, depth, volume, and ... help you hit the notes. I mean, ALL THE NOTES, even the notes in the "easy" part of the song you THINK you sing just fine. I know, I know, sounds crazy. But it's true. 

The problem with doing scales too much, especially with a prerecorded program or even with a live accompanist slamming out arpeggios on a grand piano, is the focus. The focus is put on hitting the first and highest note, and blending with the piano/cd rather than paying attention to every single note in the middle of the scales and the approach with the voice. Why blend the voice to a piano or an audio program? The voice is fully capable of being it's own strong solo instrument. In fact, it's the most capable and unique instrument ever in the history of all humankind. It's part of being a human. It's nature. It's God given. It's part of the body. It's easy. It's a part of the soul. Stranded on an island, you have your voice. Walking to the car in the parking lot, you have your voice. Expressing your love to your significant other, you have your voice. Angry at the world, you have your voice. 

I used to be a vocal coach that wanted everyone to sing better. And I still am that same vocal coach, but my entire perception and approach has changed. Hitting a high note wasn't an issue for me, however, singing a song on command from start to finish, was an issue. I got tired of being the "guy with the awesome voice" that couldn't sing a song anytime and anywhere with a smile on my face. I took it too seriously. I missed some amazing opportunities. My focus was more on flexing my voice to the top with loads of compression. And it wasn't fun. My clientele was following right along with me. They also wanted to sing the high notes "easily and full" as I did, and that was their focus coming to me as a vocal coach. After a while, I started to get frustrated teaching.  I wasn't enjoying it like I should have been, something was truly missing. It took a tragedy to realize what it was.  

September of 2012, I lost my only sibling suddenly, my little brother, Geoffrey. It killed me inside. Those that have had an untimely loss understand the feeling. Through the pain, I realized I loved music, but had little way to express it. I knew notes, and I understood the "proper" way to sing and play them.  But that was it. I knew I had a love for music, I knew it was inside, but I wasn't showing it. I had plenty of supporters and believers in me and my musical talents. They consistently told me to stick with music and at the time, I was unsure why. After a couple months of grieving, I picked up the guitar, an instrument my brother was proficient in, and I told myself "I'm going to learn songs."  

Lots and lots of practicing, a move from New York City back to Nashville, and a lot of thinking later, I understand why I sing and why I'm a vocal coach... to share and enjoy my voice and teach others the same.   

The amount of joy after singing a good song, start to finish, my own song or someone else's, focusing on the content, the emotion, the sound that I'm creating, the rhythm, the dynamics, the love, is overwhelming at times. I used to "impress" myself when I got a note in a full mix above a high C.  That got me some vocal students. Awesome. But now, I'm proud of myself when I sing a song with ease, every lyric, every chord, without worrying about mistakes. I can do it time and time again without mental and physical fatigue. I'm happier than I've ever been with my music, with my vocal coaching, and most importantly, with my voice, which is truly, truly, the sound of my heart. 

So, please, stop singing scales. Sing a song. Sing a song, not because it's technically challenging, but because you, as the singer, enjoy it and find a connection with it. I promise you, you'll sing better than you ever have before. 

- Chris Keller 

Chris Keller Vx Studios

Are vocal exercises vocal warm ups? If so ... which ones?

A good friend of mine and amazing guitar player and instructor, Khris Miller and I were swapping lessons. Vocal lessons for guitar lessons. We do it often. It's extremely fun because we both are at a point where we understand the concept of mastering an instrument, while learning a new one. Khris asked me, "What exercises should I do to warm up?  Are vocal exercises good to warm up with?"

Gooooooood question. The answer might seem easy to some. But when I thought about it, I realized, it's actually a bit complicated. Of course vocal exercises can be warm ups. But which ones?  And how so? That's what makes the answer to this question kind of fun. 

Warm ups

  • Warming up should be simple as warming up. The purpose of warming up is to loosen the body to prevent injury when doing physically demanding activity. Warming up takes time. Some days it takes longer than others. Sometimes the amount of sleep you had makes a difference, sometimes it depends what you just ate, if you're hungover, ect ... As we age, warming up seems to take longer and longer. I've warmed up many many students over the years, as well as myself. When I first started coaching, I was impatient, I wanted to have my voice ready to go quickly as possible. I wanted my students to warm up quickly as possible. After growing up a bit, just a little bit, I've learned the hard way, warming up takes time. A lot of time. And it should be relaxing. To me, there really is no set exercise for warming up. There are countless exercises that can be used. Even running through a tune can be a warm up. Like everything else in vocals, it's all about the approach. Whatever you choose to warm up with, it should be easy. It should be something that doesn't frustrate you. If you have lots of groggily sounds, tons of flipping going on, hard to connect or no head voice, GREAT! You're probably warming up correctly! If you try and sound your best for your warm ups, chances are you're pushing it and trying way too hard. You're defeating the purpose of warming up. It's like waking up, stretching 10 seconds and running the 100 meter dash as full speed. You're gonna have a bad time. You will feel it later. And it won't feel good.
  • Approach your vocal warm up with sigh. Get the air moving, drop your jaw, flip all over the place, slowly get your head voice working. Don't push for high notes, let them come gradually. Take a tune you're very familiar with, run it monotone, softly, focus on the diphthongs and consonants, work the jaw, make sure the airflow is coming steadily through the mouth and not the nose. 
  • Do not rush. Rushing is bad. Those high notes can wait. Before you mix in to those Mariah Carey or Steve Perry notes at full volume, do them in a light hard to connect head voice. Ease into them softly with a steady air flow. It's ok. No one cares if it's not the final product. Only you. When the head voice coordination starts kicking in, the mucus is out of the way, your lungs are in singing mode, and the blood flow in your throat is going strong, THEN start building those higher AND lower notes. Your vocal cords will thank you for being patient later in the day and the rest of your life. 

Which Exercises?

  • Wee's, Way's, and Whoa's are my absolute favorite to warm up on. I start on an A4 (A above middle C) in light breathy head voice (falsetto) and work my way down the octave to A3 (A below middle C).  It doesn't always start out easy. But I don't force it. If my head voice takes a few minutes or more to start coordinating I don't fret. I know with a bit of patience and relaxation and consistency, I'll have my head voice and mix voice rocking soon.  Head voice before a high mix voice. Always.
  • Sliding!  Another favorite or mine. Starting around a C3, sometimes lower or higher, depends on the time of day, (early mornings means lower, later in the day usually means higher) I'll slide up a perfect 5th.  Any syllable can work.  I enjoy starting with an "A" sound.  I focus on getting the full diphthong going. Eh - Ee = Ā. I vocalize a triplet on the root note, and then sing it one more time, hold it, and then SLOOOOWLY slide up a fifth without altering my vowel, maintaining air flow and volume,  and holding off on the "ee" sound, the second half of the diphthong until I let off the 5th. It can be difficult to hear and do right at first. And that's ok. I find the process of sliding through every pitch in the middle of a fifth without building tension and volume on the ascent is a great way to really get the voice ready to sing as well as get the control going.   

  • Just about every other vocal exercise. Almost every vocal exercise can work  for a warm up. Really. But it's how you approach them. A lot of exercises focus on strength, agility, tone, and range. It's good to know the purpose of each exercise and what part it works. If an exercise focuses on low end of the tone, don't go 100% if you use it for a warm up. You're not going to achieve the low end you want for your vocal tone during a warm up. If an exercise focuses on increasing your high range (which a lot do when done correctly even if you're not singing high notes), don't focus on reaching the highest note you can hit while warming up. Focus on getting every syllable out and your air flow doing the exercise. Get that head voice working. Even on an exercise you use in a big full mix. Once again, your vocal cords will thank you. 

Listen to yourself!

  • Sometimes it's good to remember your voice can be a solo instrument (good future blog post). Listen to your voice. Don't just run scales off a MP3 piano track and expect to be warmed up. It's easy to get caught up matching pitch with the piano through the speakers instead of really listening to what's going right and wrong with your voice. Take the other instruments away when warming up sometimes. You'll be surprised at what you hear.   The voice doesn't necessarily need exact pitches to warm up. 

So keep it simple. Really simple. Keep it slow. Really slow. Treat your vocal cords with respect as you would the rest of your body. Once you're warmed up, you're good the rest of the day. Unless you take a nap. Don't even get my started on warming up after a nap. Ugh.

tl;dr

  1. Air Flow
  2. Quiet
  3. Head Voice
  4. Let it flip!
  5. Open your mouth
  6. Patience
  7. Any exercise or tune can work as a warm up if you follow rules 1-6.

That's it! For questions, hit me up! Twtter, Facebook, or good ol' fashioned email chriskellervxstudios@gmail.com

 

Gemination? Time to elongate your consonants.

Gemination, or as I tell my students time after time with a smile, "Elongate your consonants!" What does this mean? Well, it's difficult to hear and understand at first. It's one of those things when you get it , you'll hear yourself and every other singer do or not do it. And you won't ever forget it.  

Elongating consonants is the act of making the consonant itself longer and more audible. Typically, when a singer tries working on consonants for the first time it's easy to smack into them and go straight into the vowel. After all, the vowel is more important anyway. Right?  I don't believe so. Especially not in commercial music. Consonants are just as important as high soaring vowels during the final chorus of the ballad. Why? They are the set-up to just about every vowel you ever sing. They shape the word and give your singing the percussive rhythm that draws listeners in. Consonants make songs catchy. Consonants give those that pay more attention to the lyrics than the high notes, guitar riffs, or drum fills something to really zone in on. From past experience, and especially down here in Nashville, voicing strong lyrical content as a singer or songwriter will get a singer much further up the music industry ladder than just hitting a high note. 

So why do we need to elongate the consonants? Why can't it just be a hard fast "T" in the word "take" or a quick loud "L" in the word "love"? It can be, but it won't implement the the emotion you as the singer are trying to convey. There are two main reasons why elongating consonants are important.

Technique 

  • Related to my last blog, High Notes? It's all about the approach., long consonants are a great way to approach higher notes, and every other note. The simple act of holding a "T" or "S" and an "H" requires a fair amount of air to slip through. The moving air is really really good. This will relieve a lot of the compression and tension that is created when hitting a consonant and the popping into the vowel. While the consonant is forming, the vocal cords are already buzzing, the light steady air flow is going, and going into the vowel will be just a slight bit easier. That slight bit of ease will add up over a long performance. And last but not least in technique, this will help your motor memory. Over elongating your consonants while learning new songs, or even your old songs, you'll notice it's more difficult to forget words. Why? Your body gets used to shaping the consonant at that particular moment in the song. Just like learning an instrument, motor memory is key to playing everything better. Looking or finding the note on the guitar or piano isn't fun for anyone. Trying to remember the lyrics isn't very fun either. I think a lot of us have learned that the hard way.  Even if you consciously forget the lyric coming up, your body and brain hasn't. Just keep going and you'll be surprised how the right word appears.  

Performance

  • Listeners will understand your words. Simple as that. It's extremely easy to forget about the importance of lyrics while working on breath support methods, scales, and expanding your range. To most of us, the whole reason we take voice lessons are to become a better singer. Not just to get better at scales. By lengthening your consonants, you will sound like a singer first. A singer that connects to and emits emotion with their music. Those who are involved in theater have often heard the director say, "I'd rather you give me too much, than too little." This is a very important lesson. While the performer knows the song, knows the words front to back, backwards and forwards, the listener does not. The listener, even if they know the song, doesn't usually know the song as well as the performer. As the singer, you are putting on a performance every time you sing for others. Give them your words. Make sure they understand every word you say. The listeners will thank you for it.  While it may seem silly at first and even a bit challenging to over exaggerate and lengthen your consonants, it won't seem that way to the listener. In quicker songs, elongating the consonants leads to a percussive nature to the voice. The rhythm in which you chose to sing your lyrics is more present. Who doesn't love a good groove? Even in a song without a time signature, your voice has a flow to it. Let the consonants set the pace. Not only will your listeners enjoy, as the singer, you will get more into what you're singing. Easier vowels, better reception, getting into your natural lyrical groove, all this will boost your singing confidence. That is definitely going to make your performance better. 

How should you practice this? Like I said, it can be a little difficult at first to understand and hear the difference. My favorite way to have my students pick it up easier, is to have them imitate well spoken movie stars. Long time Hollywood stars such as Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and my favorite, Christopher Walken, speak very naturally with this technique. Were they trained in it specifically? In a way, yes. A lot of this actually stems from acting. What these actors as well as many others do so well, is convey strong emotion without pushing the volume while generating a hypnotic flow to what they say. Rappers also do this extremely well at a much quicker pace. Listen to Eminem, Tupac, or Jay-Z, every consonant is very clear. It's not as fast and hard of an attack as you would think. It's very well enunciated. As my friend Jimmy Gnecco once showed me, there is a much deeper impact when saying something quietly with long slow consonants than just a sloppy shout on a high note.

Try saying "Are you talking to me?" very slowly. Make the consonants long, not the vowels. "Are (Yyyy)ou (Ttttt)alking (tt)o (Mmm)e?"  Try again. Space out the words. Keep doing it over and over. Let the air flow. Make sure the consonants are longer than usual, not long vowels. It will sound silly at first. For fun, try lengthening the vowels one time. Now that sounds really really silly. Go back to the consonants. Next, pick a phrase from your favorite song. Just speak it, very slowly, space out the words a bit, focus on the long consonants. Do this over and over. As you build speed back to normal, you'll notice your consonants are not any harder to say this way. In fact, you'll notice it's a bit easier. You'll fall into your percussive lyrical groove and want to keep going. When you go back to singing in the original key, it will feel more natural. And your listeners will be able to sit back and relax and not have to think about what you're saying as much. They will enjoy your overall performance that much more. 

Are you elongating your consonants? Gemination is key. 

High Notes? It's all about the approach.

High note is coming up. I've struggled with this note before. Uh oh! Better stop, take a deep breath, and pray that it comes out on pitch!  

Sound familiar? It probably does. We've all done this. Why? Good question. Easy answer ... don't.

Have you ever played "Red Light, Green Light" before?  It's a game children play in groups. All the kids line up at one end of a room or field, a person in charge at the other side shouts "Green light!" The kids start running, then the person in charge shouts "Red light!" And then then those that fail to stop, are out. The goal is to be the first to the caller at the other side. Sometimes there are tricks played and "Green light!" gets called out two or even three times in a row. Or even a "Yellow light" is called out. It can be challenging and very fun! As a child, the most difficult part is listening closely to the orders while running around. Basically, go, or stop.  

Let's play this as adults. What's the most challenging part?  Well, I'd like to think my listening skills have improved over the years. However, my ability to start and stop running over and over is definitely not as easy as it was when I was 5 years old.  Especially going from a dead stop to a full sprint over and over. It's extremely difficult and even the fittest of athletes view it as a challenge.

Imagine what your voice goes through when you're singing a sweet and simple verse, steady air flow, light and easy vocal line, and then STOP!  Huge breath. Tense up. High note ... GO!!!!! Doesn't sound good when you put it that way. It's much more difficult to sing like that than it needs to be.  

It's all in the approach. Instead of stopping and taking a huge breath and tensing before the high note, try to sing into it as if it were just an extension of the verse. Use the same breath you previously took, and keep it flowing. Glide right into the high note. It may not work out like you want it to at first, but you will be surprised at how easy it is to hit the note, and it will be more accurate!  

Try this, take a big deep silent breath ... exhale.  Do it again. By the the third time, as you start exhaling, exhale and sing into the phrase just before the high note you're struggling with ... keep going ... continue through the high note. Try this again and again. You'll notice the pitch doesn't rely on "air support" and the diaphragm as much as you thought. The amount of air you have all bundled up and compressed can actually put too much pressure on your cords. This can lead to singing flat and using a lot more energy to achieve the same pitch. A lot of air compression can lead to thicker tones and be loud ... however, this will also compromise agility and and ability to shape words and will lead to much quicker vocal fatigue. And don't forget what the use of a microphone is for. They have volume covered. The pitch itself isn't shaped with how much air you inhale, it's more of the shape of your cords and how the air itself flows through. In singing, every pitch can be achieved at low volumes with little air. It takes time to prove it to yourself, but it's worth practicing and learning.

Am I suggesting to breathe less when singing?  Kind of. More so, don't rely on it.  Breathe because you are running out of breath and need it. Not because you think it will help you hit a note. Practice, practice, and practice, going straight from the low notes to the high notes. Glide, slide, slowly, quietly, easily, over and over. As time goes on, with proper practicing, you will have much more control over how much air you actually need to inhale. If you need that little extra air boost for tone or just raw volume in a mic-less setting, it'll be there. But now you'll know when you need it. Rather than using it all the time and wearing out your voice in practice or performance. My students all know at first there is a lot of flipping and instability at first. It can be uncomfortable because it's the true and relaxed voice that we once thought wasn't good. It is good! Don't hide it. Build it!  Build it on the higher notes. Your vocal cords will thank you. Your lungs and diaphragm will thank you. Your body will thank you when it relaxes more, giving you more energy towards performing and connecting with your audience and emotion.    

So remember, it's all in the approach. Approach the high note easily. Not difficult.  And for thought, if someone with a smile asked you "How are you doing today?" would you respond with a .... "*GULP* *tensing up* *HUGE BREATH*... I'M DOING FINE! AND YOU?"  Probably not.  Don't sing that way.  

- Chris Keller

Slow down your exercises!

Why do vocal exercises? Simply put, to get better. But what is better? In my opinion ... it's about having more control. More control over the voice, really any instrument in that matter, leads to more confidence and ability. I've taught many students over the years that warm up and practice with quick scales. There's absolutely nothing wrong with warming up and practicing to scales. In fact, it's a great tool for agility and landing on pitches quickly. However, focusing on the scale rather than the purpose of it, isn't exercising, it ends up falling into the category of, well, just running scales. Take any scale, and slow it down. Sing it painfully slow. Comically slow without the accompaniment of a piano, guitar or track. You will hear YOUR voice. All the imperfections in your voice stand out. Those imperfections are what you need to work on more than anything. While singing the scales very slowly, at first, you won't sound good. In fact, you'll probably think you sound terrible. Good! Now you're learning your voice! It can be difficult to reveal your voice in this way. No matter how much you've practiced and taken lessons, there's always an imperfection to be heard slowly sliding through scales and arpeggios. Don't let this set you back, don't look at it as a bad thing. This is the way to take your voice to the next level.  

How many songs are sung slow? A lot of them. Especially the big power ballads so many of us enjoy singing. Powerful slow songs win competitions, draw a lot of emotion, and sometimes are just fun to show off. (we singers love showing off) Running your exercises slowly is more relative to those big long high notes we crave to sing. Work on your exercises slowly, and when you decide, "Hey! I think I'm ready for that Whitney song.You won't have to think about it or worry so much. Your voice will be more ready than ever! 

Let your voice sound shaky, let it "flip" all over the place going through your bridges, let your voice breathe. Run your scales at different volume levels. Notice the different tones and sounds your voice creates. Change your air flow, try different amounts of air when you breathe in and exhale. Explore!!! And never forget, these are EXERCISES! This is not a performance! No one is judging your practice voice. No one. Except maybe yourself. Oh, and your vocal coach. But any good vocal coach needs to point out weaknesses that need improved as well as what you're doing well. Vocal coaches shouldn't be paid to be your "yes man. "

Last but not least, as I tell every single one of my students, everything takes time. If you've never done your scales in such a revealing and scary way, now is the time. If it frustrates you, stop, come back later. Warming up and practicing takes time. Some days more than other. Never rush it. But the cool truth is, you will notice big differences in just a couple weeks if you sit back and add this to your daily practice routine. 

- Chris Keller

Tis the season for sore throats!

As I'm writing this, I have a bit of congestion.  I probably ran myself too hard the past couple weeks getting this website going and the Sebastian Bach show at Mercy Lounge on Friday night sure didn't help.  Btw, Sebastian Bach.... one of the best technical singers I've ever heard live in person.  Ever.  He's pushing 50 and sounds just as good as he did almost 30 years ago.  Unreal.  Anyway, back to the lovely topic of congestion and sore throats.  If it hurts to swallow, don't sing.  Simple as that.  In fact, try not to talk.  If there's a lot of gurgle fun going on in your throat, and you have a runny or stuffy nose with a bit of congestion, but your throat feels ok, you might not sing as well as you want or as well as you usually do, but it'll be ok.  Go ahead and sing.  Sing through the gargleness. Use air flow to help break it up.  Don't be afraid of what it sounds like.  Most of it will break up after singing, EASILY, for 20 minutes or so.   Like I stated in my vocal health tips, stay away from medicines that dry out your head best you can.  Only use those as a last resort.  I've sung through many a colds without that stuff.  When you take that stuff and try to sing on it, your cords will be very dry, and it causes friction.  Friction is not good for the voice. So be wary! It's better to take a day or two of rest with the voice rather than an entire week or more off because you tried to sing with dried out vocal cords!  Like everything else in life, use common sense when you're sick.  If you don't feel like singing when you're sick, and you don't have to, then don't do it.  If you must sing, be careful, lots of hydration, the onion family is great for the immune system, don't eat too much food that takes a long time to digest, lots of fruits and veggies, you know, the healthy stuff none of us wants to eat, and cayenne pepper will warm that throat right up.   I'm currently drinking some Egyptian Licorice Root tea, and it's not only delicious, but my throat feels soooo relaxed and soothed right now.  It's my favorite go to "sick" beverage.  And it's naturally sweet.  So good luck! Don't get sick! Don't stay out too late at an 80's hair metal show! Eat well! And if you get sick, use your brain! :)

- Chris Keller