Day 16: Should we put the chocs away?

Happy Easter! Those of you following me on Facebook and Instagram will have seen my Good Friday greetings and I’m back after the holiday weekend with a new and very topical topic for today’s blog post. Do singers really need to avoid chocolate and dairy products?

I aim to offer singers and non-singers, opera-lovers and haters alike an insight into the technical aspects of our training; to answer some of the questions you might not ever have had the opportunity to ask; to share a few of the tips and exercises that I’ve learnt over the years; and to myth-bust where appropriate. But sometimes I’m quite dissatisfied with my own instruction and ability to explain. Today is one of those days because, basically, it comes down to you and your relationship with dairy.

Most of us have a dairy intolerance or allergy to a greater or lesser extent. It might manifest itself as bloating and discomfort or as an excess of mucus that is hard to shift from the throat. In my case, I think I have a very mild allergic reaction that results in the latter. It’s not debilitating so I can handle small amounts of dairy before a performance without incident. I wouldn’t drink a glass of milk or eat a yoghurt on performance day but I’d have a cup of tea with milk as usual. Note to self: remember to cover tea and caffeine in a separate post!

We do need a certain amount of lubrication in the voice to make it function and a great teacher and singer that I’ve worked with in the past and mentioned before, Lynton Atkinson, swears by a square of chocolate before every performance.

The point is, that may be right for him but an absolute no-go for you. So today’s tip to try at home is another simple observation task. Provided you don’t have a severe allergy or intolerance, and assuming that you don’t already have an opinion on whether dairy products sit well with your voice, eat some and have a sing! See how it feels.

It may seem like a bit of a cop-out but in many cases, while trying to establish which warm-ups, routines and rituals work best for me, I’ve learnt my greatest tips from trial and error.

That’s all for today. Stay cheered, stay healthy (aside from the chocolate) and lots of love xx

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