Sometimes my throat feels like sandpaper
The throat and the vocal folds are covered with a thin layer of membrane of the kind that also lines the mouth, windpipe (trachea) and lungs. In order to work properly, these membranes need to be moist. When we breathe through the nose, the incoming air is warmed, purified and moistened, so that everything works as it should. But when we are singing, we usually breathe in through the mouth, because we either need a lot of air or we need it quickly, so that we can carry on singing. Air inhaled through the mouth is much dryer, so that the membranes can also dry out. It almost feels as though you are thirsty. If this continues for too long, you will need to make a greater effort to sing and your throat will start to feel as though it is raw, the way it feels when you have a bad cold. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help. Make sure that the air in the room where you are singing is as moist as possible. Usually, it is enough just to open the windows every now and then, so that you can let in some fresh air. If it is too cold to open the windows, allow a bowl of water to slowly evaporate on the room’s stove or radiator. Another thing that you can always do is to drink plenty of water. Non-fizzy water does for your voice what oil does for a car engine: it lubricates the vocal folds and prevents damage. And, of course, water is also good for your health in general.
] Nearly all the children and youngsters reported that their voice sometimes works less than perfectly. What, in their opinion, is the reason for this? The most frequent answer was ‘being ill’ and, more specifically, ‘having a cold’. Half of the singers also said that they have voice problems if they shout too much. One in three said that dry air was the cause of their problems and the same number said that their voice gives them trouble when they are nervous.
Half of the choir leaders claim that they are satisfied with the characteristics of the room in which they rehearse. Nevertheless, another 40% say that the characteristics of the room that affect the voice are capable of further improvement.
There is a clear need for increased voice education amongst young choristers, since 94% of them reported that their voice was not the way they wanted it to be. Since all these young people are singing in a choir, it should be borne in mind that their expectations for their voice are probably higher than for an ordinary member of the public.