Hey guys. I have no professional training but when I was 15 and my band needed a singer, I decided, hey, why not? I have been singing in rock / punk rock / pop rock groups since then, 10 years ago. When it's my own stuff I don't ever have a problem.

Problem is, we started a new group recently and to start off we're doing a load of covers. Message in a Bottle, Lithium, My Sharona. Some other ones but these are the ones that really kill me. We've had a couple of rehearsals where I've left with my voice pretty shot. After the first one the voice was kinda shaky for a few days. I decided we should tune down half a step and transpose down where possible. I felt a lot more comfortable after doing this. Unfortunately, I worked up a false sense of security with the new pitches, and got a bit careless. So I left the second reheasal with the voice shot again. Message in a Bottle there's just one line that's difficult, and I just sing something different that's lower.. I think I really did the damage on Lithium and My Sharona.

So problem 1 - after the second time, my voice didn't really start recovering until over a week later. It wasn't crazy, like, I can't talk, but it was definitely affected. I'm an ESL teacher so a lot of my job is talking. And I was also a bit careless and was singing perhaps when I shouldn't have been. Finally, about 9 days after the rehearsalr, I noticed a pretty decent improvement. There was still about a week and a half until the concert until that point, so I felt golden.

Then I got the flu. And my voice got worse than it's been this whole time. The first day I was barely able to get anything out. Second day there was improvement, and we had rehearsal. I sang some of the lower parts or took things an octave lower, a couple of the songs I sang parts that were kinda high, I was kinda like "hey it's not as bad as I thought". And it wasn't. So I got my hopes up again.

That was 2 days ago. I have certainly improved but not as much as I would have liked. The concert is on Saturday afternoon. I'm drinking honey with milk and I'm doing my best to avoid unecessary conversation. Definitely no more singing. Trying not to raise my voice at the job. People have also told me about a spray for my voice that I'm gonna pick up tonight or tomorrow.

So - any other tips? Reassurance? I guess that's what I'm looking for at this point. I felt like, after the initial period my voice was getting way better, then it's like, nope, the flu. If it's just viral laryngitis the places I've consulted said it should be about a week, but I'm worried if there's some kind of like synergetic effect going on here from having it burnt out from previous rehearsals

If anything I'm hoping, praying, and trusting the process - and I have learned that this stuff is no joke.

Anyway, yeah. Thanks
Get OFF the milk asap, the sugars in milk are not good for inflammation. Get some good Manuka honey instead (it'll be expensive, but do some research if you don't know how to tell) ASAP and mix a spoon with decent green tea (brewed at 70C/158F). Sip throughout the day at work (you can have a few cups, but watch the sugar content). Don't talk when you don't have to. Good luck!
Last edited by GoldenGuitar at Dec 19, 2016,
No milk. Just tea. And dont talk. If you need to, take time of work, because when i say no talking, i mean you have to be COMPLETELY SILENT. Its hard, but its really the fastest and most sure way to get your voice back. Then you will just have to power trough the show somehow. Other than that, there is not much you can do. Im not sure where you are from, but i think all cultures have some sort of strong alcoholic home remedy for stuff like this as well, and it may honestly be something you can try on show day, because the alcohol will numb your throat. You are still gonna be fucking it up, but at least it wont be as painful or annoying. You may cause further damage tho.

But whatever you do, make sure that after this show is done, you get vocal lessons. Serious, honest to god, vocal lessons with a serious teacher. What you are describing is a fast path to permanent vocal damage, becuase what you are experiencing is far from normal or even safe. If you keep this up, you might discover that there is no problem anymore, after a year or two, because you wont be able to sing at all anymore. And not only that, you may screw your voice up to the point where prolonged loud talking becomes a problem, and that might put your job at risk as well. And for fucks sake, dont do the raspy voice on Lithium. Avoid that as much as you can, because you clearly dont have the techniqe down and its wrecking even more havoc with your voice.
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
Any food that coats the throat is not going to help - milk was bad, but peanut butter was possibly worse.

Agreed with the above on complete vocal rest and lessons - singing is never supposed to hurt that bad
Hi guys. Thanks much for the advice and tips. I am on a tea/honey regimen and I am as silent as I can be. I only work about 3-4 hours a day this week so I am about 20 hours a day silent at home. And at work I am taking advantage of the blackboard and avoiding as much speech as possible.

I'm honestly confused as to why things have gotten so out of hand. I [barely] remember when I was 20 years old, on Halloween night, walking around as faux mariachis, drunk as a skunk, just screaaaaaaming Twist and Shout with my fingers all bloodied up because I had lost my pick. I recovered from that and other incidents no problem - I used to be a heavy drinker and smoker, so they were frequent. I am sober now and haven't had a problem with my throat for years.

I definitely pushed it more than I should have, but to be honest, I don't think I was totally reckless about it. In no moment was it like"my voice hurts but fuck it". I wasn't doing the Kurt raspy voice, but I was pushing it to hit high notes. All in all, it was just poor technique and a false sense of confidence. The voice was not at 100% but things were going fine until I got hit with the flu. So, that part wasn't really my fault. That said - I'm wondering why it has been so affected in the first place. Could cold/dry air be a thing? I don't have central heating in my home. I do space heaters during the day, but at night I just kind of bundle up - I am definitely getting cold air in through the mouth at night. And I'm a bit of a homebody so that is the dryness factor. Could this be affecting my recovery time?

So yeah, I really don't think I have been completely negligent - because I know what that looks like and that's not what this has been. If anything, I think I've been a bit naive. So I appreciate the advice here. I've learned, well damn, this stuff is actually a big deal. So as soon as we have our show, no more work (Christmas break!) and no more singing/rehearsals for a couple of weeks. I'm going to look into getting some training.

Let me know if you have other thoughts, and thanks again guys.
Last edited by shortyafter at Dec 21, 2016,
The reason why its getting worse and worse is, becuase you are putting continous strain on your voice. Screaming twist and shout while drunk one night is not good, but its a one time affair. Now you are putting a lot of strain on your vocie time and time again, and its showing. And the flu didnt help.
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
Quote by gorkyporky
The reason why its getting worse and worse is, becuase you are putting continous strain on your voice. Screaming twist and shout while drunk one night is not good, but its a one time affair. Now you are putting a lot of strain on your vocie time and time again, and its showing. And the flu didnt help.

I really don't think that the cold air is helping. I use my bike to get around, probably at least 30 minutes a day of biking in the cold air. This reovery time just doesn't have a precedent for me. But you're right - it's the continuous strain. I'm going to have to be more careful.
Its like you are intentionaly trying to fuck up your voice Yeah, cold air, flu, talking for a job, drinking milk... all those things are really not something you should be doing when you are a singer. It sucks, but thats how it is. Sometimes i wish i could just scream all day and get hammered, or that not every minor cold or throatache would be a goddamn disaster, but you gotta suck it up, and take care of your voice. Not all the time mind you, but being cautious around 2 weeks before a gig is just good practice.
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.