I've had a cold this week, and whenever I get sick it bums me out. I feel like the momentum I had with my practicing just stops dead.
If you're wondering if you should be practicing while you're sick, the good news is: you can!
Grab your tissues and keep reading.
Caveat: if you're like seriously bed-ridden, then please just rest. Don't push yourself. Your voice can only function if the rest of you is.
But let's say you're just congested, or you have a cough which is making you hoarse or restricting your breathing. You can still move forward with your craft...
How, you ask??
If you're hoarse, it is likely due to inflamed vocal cords, and you don't want to mess around with making that worse if you can help it. You want to think about longevity of your instrument.
Here are some activities you can do to practice while your voice is out of commission:
Listen to your music. Study the melody, get ideas for dynamics, phrasing, or where to take breaths. Hear what you like about the recording artists' technique (or not) and decide how to incorporate that into your performance.
Do breathing exercises. If your breathing is compromised, then skip this one, but if you can breathe in and out of your mouth and expand your ribcage, this is a great tool for those "days off."
Study your lyrics. Have you thought about what they really mean? What new meaning can you derive from them, or how can you connect them to your own experiences? This will help your performance tremendously.
Stretch or do yoga. Moving your body gently to get the energy flowing can help you clear the sickness faster. Yoga can also help you with your alignment for singing.
Visualize your best performance. This might feel a little woo woo to you, but try it. Close your eyes and hear yourself singing your song how you want it to sound. Allowing your mind to imagine hitting that high note with ease will actually help manifest it.
As you might have guessed, these are all things to be doing when you're not sick as well. But on those days when your voice needs a rest, don't forget this list of practice tools.