By Stephanie Ciccarelli
May 15, 2009
Have you ever been really congested, stuffy or full of phlegm?
These symptoms are annoying, and if you're a voice over professional, are an especially costly nuisance that can tamper with your voice and livelihood.
What can you do about it?
While I'm not a doctor, and haven't played one on TV, I've found that one recipe in particular has helped to drain the sinuses, help ward off viruses and get rid of thick, disgusting mucous in your throat that I'd like to share with you, courtesy of voice instructor, Susan Eichhorn Young.
When you're up, you're up, and when you're down, you're down. Isn't it amazing how one little cold can go a long way to wreak havoc with your voice?
I have been suffering from a cold that started roughly one month ago that is now just finally eradicating itself which I attribute to many out-of-the-ordinary networking activities I participated in over the course of a busy, tiring week.
When visiting my family doctor several weeks ago, I discovered that I had an ear infection, lots of congestion, and was also the reluctant owner of a mild cough. He remarked that he had seen more people who were sick in the month of April than he had throughout the entire winter.
Something was definitely making the rounds.
I was prescribed some medication to help (which did clear out the ear infection), but I was still left with a persistent cough and nasal congestion.
This coughing, which was intolerable, rendered many of my conversations painful. I also blew my nose far too hard on one side and ended up, in conjunction with the cough, stretching an intercostal muscle. Needless to say, that's a painful lesson!
Your intercostal muscles are muscles found in between your ribs. If you hurt or stretch one of these muscles, it becomes difficult and painful to cough, sneeze, laugh, and even breathe comfortably. You may also find that your mobility is limited, not because your arm is infirm, but because lifting the ribcage is a painful process to endure.
Having said all this, I feel that I could have done something earlier in addition to what I took medicine wise to perhaps prevent the stretching of my intercostal muscles and in due course, shortening the time of my cold overall...
To give you some background, I studied at the University of Western Ontario at the Don Wright Faculty of Music, graduating with a Bachelor of Musical Arts. My instrument, as you may have guessed, was voice.
Years of training as a classical singer have paid off, but so has listening to a trusted and beloved teacher!
For a number of years, I studied privately with Susan Eichhorn Young when she was on faculty at UWO. Susan is a Canadian soprano and voice teacher currently teaching voice at CAP21 in the Musical Theatre Studio in the Drama Department at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and lives in New York City with her husband, Thomas Young, tenor and member of the celebrated trio, Three Mo Tenors, Cook, Dixon and Young.
It was because this cold that I was inspired to ask her once again for her recipe.
Susan has this amazing remedy that just drains all the gunk out of your sinuses to breathe easier and free yourself from feeling like something the cat dragged in. It's a very easy, inexpensive recipe to make and I've included it here for you to try:
What you'll need ingredients wise:
One ginger root
1. Get a nice big pot and put it on the stove.
2. Fill the pot with water.
3. Cut up an entire ginger root and 2 lemons (with the rinds included).
4. Bring the mixture to a slow boil; simmer and cover.
5. Let it is get mushy!
6. Strain the liquid, drink... and feel fabulous!
This works nearly every time. If you are feeling yucky, icky or simply need to cleanse your instrument, perhaps you might try this recipe.
New York City, Midtown Manhattan to be precise, is very fortunate to have Susan living and teaching there. As a voice actor, it doesn't hurt to get some singing or theatrical training. I don't give recommendations often or freely, however, I do recommend that you look Susan up if you're interested in improving your singing, breathing techniques, building the core of your voice, auditioning, or acting and interpretation, exploring different aspects of your voice that you never knew existed while developing a wider range.
You can also follow Susan Eichhorn Young on Twitter.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
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