Staying healthy check-in…

Just checking in with some links and ideas for self-care as we all try to handle conflicting reports, increased shut-downs, self-isolation, and social-distancing in order to avoid the Coronavirus.

The Network page continues to be updated with audition notices. It would be a good idea to try to contact casting companies and inquire about audition cancellations/postponements or video submission options to in-person auditions. The Performances page has been re-arranged so that TV/Cable listings appear just under CD Releases while bars/restaurants are limiting service to pickup/delivery, and we are all urged to stay home and practice social-distancing.

COVID-19 & Freelance Artists is an aggregated list of FREE resources, opportunities and financial relief options available to artists of all disciplines.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a podcast called “Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction.”

Tony Schwartz of The Energy Project suggests these four critical things to care for self during these uncertain times:

  1. Sleep: To get eight hours of sleep now is enormously positive for your immune system and psychology;
  2. Intermittently rest during the day. Take time to renew;
  3. Move: Physically move, do exercise;
  4. Connect: Find ways, even in this social-isolation period, to stay connected to people you love and who love you.

Consider doing vocal lessons, rehearsals, collaborations remotely. Utilize videoconference platforms like Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc.

Trudie Styler (aka Mrs. Sting) has posted a great suggestion that, if/when concerts/shows are cancelled, that ticket buyers consider donating the ticket prices to the theater/concert venue instead of requesting refunds. She wrote, “This is the kind of thing that kills arts organizations. Thousands of theatre professionals’ jobs and health care are at stake.”

Keep singing!!! Continue taking remedies that you know work for YOU! Don’t forget to wash your hands & use hand sanitizer; don’t touch your face with unwashed/unsanitized hands; practice social-distancing (especially from elders if you are experiencing a cold/flu); use disinfectant sprays & wipes in your home/office. SING ON!!! and Don’t forget to breathe…


Staying Healthy… Vocally and Otherwise

Singers are always on a mission to stay healthy enough to sing well, especially during cold/flu seasons. This has become even more of a challenge with the current outbreak of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, that is spreading globally.

Through trial and error, singers find what rituals, practices, remedies and products work for their own vocal health. So, many of us could already be ahead of the game of prevention. Still, it’s worth it to be cautious, follow the guidance of local health officials, and avoid unnecessary risks.

Simple precautions to take:

  • Practice good hand and respiratory hygiene at home and at work;
  • Do not to touch your face after touching door handles or elevator buttons until you have washed your hands or used a hand sanitizer. Some office buildings and businesses have begun placing hand sanitizers in lobbies and at entrances;
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. A colleague suggested to wash your hands as if you have been peeling jalopeños and you need to remove your contact lenses;
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze. Get in the habit of coughing/sneezing into your sleeve as opposed to your hand. Also cover your yawn in public or around other people. I know that’s nursery school, but it was a good idea back then and an even better idea now.
  • Dispose of tissues properly after you cough or blow your nose;
  • Reduce close contact greetings such as handshakes or hugs;
  • Use disinfectant sprays and/or wipes that kill germs as oppose to those that just neutralize odors;
  • If you are feeling cold/flu symptoms, stay home from work. In fact, if you do not have to go out at all, stay home.
  • If you have food delivered to your home and/or office, remember to wash and/or sanitize your hands after handling the food packaging.
  • Start using your preferred remedies at the first sign of cold/flu symptoms.

From the CDC…

There is currently an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The virus was first detected in China and has now been detected across the globe, including in the United States. COVID-19 usually causes mild disease such as fever and cough but can cause severe symptoms such as pneumonia and difficulty breathing. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6ft) or through respiratory droplets produced when someone coughs or sneezes.

Are you breathing?

I saw a Judy Garland documentary some years ago in which one of her film industry friends recalled her talking about her pill addiction. She told him that she felt like the pills were making her “dumb” and she said, “Sometimes, I forget to breathe.”

WOW! I thought… How could one of the greatest voices ever forget to breathe?

The great tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, once said, “To breathe is the most simple thing, and yet, the most difficult.” For most living beings, breathing is a given. It is an involuntary bodily function, to inhale and exhale.

But take an exercise or dance class, do yoga or a guided meditation, play a wind instrument… or SING, and your breathing becomes a voluntary thing. You are thinking about inhaling to fill your lungs with much-needed oxygen. You are thinking about exhaling to execute that move or play/sing that note.

For singers, breathing is a choice. We choose to breathe in order to produce tone; to adjust that tone in pitch, volume, or dynamic; or to sing through phrases. If we are singing with a cold or respiratory condition, we have to use the breathing techniques we have been taught (or cultivated on our own).

As we enter the second month of a new year, we must remember to breathe in order to sing well through this time that is already bringing stress and uncertainty. So, no matter what life throws your way in 2020… don’t forget to breathe.