Staying Healthy On The Road
Vocal Coaching: Train With A Legend | January, 1985 | Updated: July, 2007
previous articles I have talked about going on the road and what
personal equipment you can bring with you to make it a better overall
experience. Lately I've felt the need to put all this separate
information in one article to make a concise list available to
everyone. At first my list might sound hilarious. Not everyone who goes
on the road brings an entire gymnasium with them! But I wanted to have
my list include all the possibilities. If you have a professional
career and a professional road crew, you really can include a lot of
these items. Just pack them along with the rest of your equipment.
can pick and choose from this list those items that will be practical
and sensible from your point of view and for your situation. A
full-fledged national tour and a full road crew could handle all of
these items, however the probability of using them all is most likely
slim. Take only those things that are practical for you.
massage, I recommend that everyone take an electric massager of some
kind on the road. There are some excellent small ones with one or two
speeds and include attachments for the face, scalp, heavy muscles of
the legs and back, manufactured by Wahl. Many of my students have found
these to be very efficient and successful in reducing the tensions of
traveling and singing while touring. Other companies make large ones
which allow you to reach behind and get at your back. Most of these can
be purchased at drug or department stores where home products are sold.
Rollers made of wood for the feet, back, spine etc. are light weight
and very useful for releasing tension. These are available in most
health food stores.
Another product that is great for the relief
of tired and sore muscles is mineral salts for use in bath water. One
particular mineral bath that I am fond of is Baththerapy, available at
health food stores. Singing rock and roll is a strenuous business and
whenever you can take a hot bath while you're on the road, do so.
Laying down in a tub of hot water is quite a different experience from
taking a shower, and with a mineral bath or something similar, a lot of
tension can be relieved.
Often, on the road, your only sources
for food are diners, delis or fast food chains. These do not provide a
healthy diet, especially for vegetarians. If you care about your voice,
you should care about your diet. Some performers go on the road with an
entire kitchen. If you can't afford that, though, there are still
machines you can choose from that will improve your food situation.
Hand operated vegetable cutters allow you to get raw food salads,
freshly cut. Small juicers, which can be easily disassembles, can
provide fresh vegetable and fruit juices. Hot plates, electric skillets
and machines for boiling water will allow you to cook just about
anything. This is especially helpful if you are on a special or
Many hotel and motel rooms are heated with dry
heat in the Winter so I absolutely recommend that you bring a portable
humidifier along. The dryness in those rooms is similar to the dryness
of a desert and can really burn your throat and nostrils. Your larynx
is mucous membrane and must be lubricated to function properly. If it
is dry, not only are you likely to get hoarse or develop laryngitis,
but you can damage your voice. (That, by the way, is why singers should
avoid antihistamines.) Breathing steam is one of the best things you
can do to moisturize your voice and a facial steam machine is wonderful
for that very thing. Cosmetic places sell machines designed for facials
that work fine. And, of course, giving yourself a facial and getting
rid of all the stage make-up isn't a bad idea either!
you can find yourself stuck with no place to exercise or, if you're a
jogger, no place to run. Some people I know bring equipment with them
on the road so that they can be sure of getting an adequate workout and
keep in shape for performing. One of the simplest things to do is bring
a tape recording of a workout and do your calisthenics in your room.
The Jane Fonda Workout comes to mind. It is a fabulous, and difficult,
routine and it does not require too much space. One pound wrist and
ankle weights are easy to pack and good for building strength. A jump
rope is also an easily packed yet effective exercise item. If you feel
self-conscious about jogging in an unfamiliar city, buy a rebounder and
have the road crew pack it with the other equipment. There are also
small, light-weight rowing machines or bicycle machines (approx. $40)
which fold up and require little space to operate.
Just in case
you get sick, make sure to have a good supply of vitamins on hand,
including E, C, B Complex, a good multi-vitamin and some iron. Golden
Seal bee pollen and ginseng are also reported to be very good for you.
Of course you should check with your physician to make sure that your
body can handle these supplements. Cough drops are easy enough to come
by so I wouldn't worry about them, but I would make sure that any
specialty items were packed, like herbal teas.
Last, but not least, bring a good, soft pillow for your personal comfort! See you next month.