Singing when unwell

Singing when unwell can be challenging, but there are ways to minimize strain and still perform effectively. Here are four tips to help you manage:

1. Stay Hydrated

  • Drink Water: Keep your vocal cords well-lubricated by drinking plenty of water. Aim for room temperature or warm water, as cold water can constrict your vocal cords.
  • Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol: These can dehydrate you and irritate your throat.
  • Steam Inhalation: Inhale steam from hot water to soothe and hydrate your vocal cords. You can add a few drops of eucalyptus oil for added relief.

2. Warm Up Gently

  • Gentle Warm-Ups: Do gentle vocal exercises to warm up your voice. Start with humming or lip trills to get your vocal cords moving without too much strain.
  • Avoid High Notes: Refrain from singing high or loud notes during your warm-up. Focus on the comfortable part of your range to avoid further irritation.

3. Modify Your Technique

  • Sing Softer: Reduce the volume to avoid putting too much pressure on your vocal cords. Use a microphone to help project your voice if needed.
  • Focus on Breath Support: Use proper diaphragmatic breathing to support your voice and reduce strain on your throat.
  • Articulation and Diction: Enunciate clearly to ensure your words are understood without having to push your voice.

4. Rest and Listen to Your Body

  • Vocal Rest: Limit speaking and singing outside of necessary performances to give your voice a chance to heal.
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your voice feels. If you experience pain or significant discomfort, it’s best to rest entirely and seek medical advice if necessary.
  • Avoid Whispering: Whispering can strain your voice more than speaking softly, so try to speak in a normal, quiet tone instead.

Taking these precautions can help you preserve your voice and reduce the risk of further damage when you’re not feeling your best.

Singing Strong end of year concert

After an amazing year of music making in the Singing Strong Vocal Studio it is now time to celebrate with an evening of song from singers both young and old, new and seasoned performers.
This concert will be an opportunity to sit back and enjoy an evening of a wide range of styles of music as well as supporting singers in their musical journey, wherever that may be.
Saturday 2nd 7pm  VRI Hall, Queens Parade, Traralgon

Seeing Miss Saigon at the Sydney Opera House

Hi it’s Mary from Singing Strong. I had a lovely excursion to Sydney a couple of weekends ago for my daughter’s 22nd birthday. We had the most wonderful time in Sydney I haven’t been there for, I’m trying to think, it’s been over 20 years, so I’m starting to give away my age a little bit here, but that’s okay.  We went to Sydney and we got to walk around circular Quay. We walked around the Opera House and walked around to Sydney Harbor Bridge. This was amazing. I always love to watch the fireworks on New Years Eve from Sydney, so it was lovely to actually walk around there. We also went to Bondi Beach. My daughter is a Bondi Rescue fan and we went there and had a look at all of the area of Bondi Beach. We also went to Manly on the Sunday which was the most beautiful weather but incredibly busy, Sydney is just exploding with people, but it was really lovely, we had a great day.

We went to the Opera House on the Saturday night to see Miss Saigon. Miss Saigon has been around since the 1980s, but I had never seen it for whatever reason I didn’t manage to get to see it. It’s composed by the same people who composed Les Miserables. It is very different but musically as exciting as Les Miserable. If you haven’t seen Miss Saigon I would highly recommend it. Now it was very confronting I have to say, but the music was amazing. The young girl who played the role of Kim is literally 18 years old and has been plucked out of the obscurity and she was just incredible.  The thing that I really valued and got so much enjoyment from even though it’s an incredibly sad story was the calibre of the singing and I have to say well done Opera Australia for putting this on. The singing was just world class, and I can say that honestly because I have been to a few different places around the world. The technicians are to be congratulated on the sound quality, there was so much going on in this show but it was just fantastic. The singing was incredible.

Now I know a lot of people are not so much music theatre fans and prefer contemporary pop music and that sort of thing and there’s nothing wrong with that, there’s some great singing.  I’m going to be talking about that in the future, how pop singing is just amazing, but this night, I don’t know whether it was just the thrill of being at the Opera House. It was such high quality singing, so well-rehearsed,  such strong powerful in control voices that could sing a huge dynamic range who were singing, this incredibly low music and then she has this beautiful high soprano coming through on some of the songs, it was just amazing.  The show is coming to an end in Sydney, but it’s coming to Melbourne so if you are a person who lives in Victoria and you haven’t seen it I would highly recommended it.  It is not for children, it’s like I said incredibly confronting. We just need to be careful with what we are exposing our children to. If you haven’t seen Miss Saigon you must go.  I’m not going to do any spoilers, not going to tell you that the actual show itself because there’s some incredible things that happened on the stage that just flew my mind.

Well done to the production team and everyone who was involved. I’ve seen a lot of shows in the last 12 months now that we’re out of covid. I’m trying to go and see everything and I have to say out of all the shows that I’ve seen recently that is like number one at the top, can’t get any better, at the moment I to find a show that is a higher level vocally. It just blew my mind. if you are in Victoria and have an opportunity it starts on 29th October. It’s not that far away, please go and see it, you will absolutely love it. As I said it is very confronting, very sad, but just an amazing show. Please go and see it. You can watch it online, but I just don’t think you get the same experience.  There’s something about live theatre that you get a totally different experience.

Well done everyone at Opera Australia, I loved it.

What makes a good, great, awesome singer?

I recently held a performance workshop with my singing students. In the video below I talk about what we discussed when it comes to being a good, great or awesome singer. The list we came up with is just the beginning, I am sure you can think of lots of things that would go into each category.  This is to get you thinking about what makes the difference between something that is okay, to something that you go home talking about to everyone you meet.

This is a performance of Adele from 12 years ago. Simple but powerful!

Watch what happens just after the 1 minute mark. Adele is human, just like all of us.

It’s not always what you think

I like to look on line for the latest musical trends, new singers or great live music.  I had a post pop up about a 14 year old girl, Sara James, who performed on America’s Got Talent, just a couple of weeks ago, for which she received a golden buzzer from Simon Cowell. Now, don’t get me wrong. Sara’s performance was excellent, she has a very bright future ahead of her, and it was a polished performance for someone so young.

However, we have to be careful not to be deceived that she just one day turned up out of the blue and did this amazing performance. While I was watching her perform there was a gut feeling in me that this girl has not just appeared out of nowhere. She was nervous, however I could tell that this was definitely a practiced performer.

Once I dived into the internet abyss, I soon discover that this is not the first competition she has performed in. Sara has grown up with music in her life, her father is a singer and she attends a music school. She has won the Polish (she is from Poland) “The Voice Kids” and last year came second in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. She has also had a video clip produced and released on you tube only a couple of weeks ago. This girl has worked hard!

Do not be deceived by these competitions. For those who perform well, you can be guaranteed that there has been an enormous amount of work done to get them where they are.

Would you sing on The Voice?

The Voice begins on Monday 25th April

Who won The Voice in 2021? Have you listened to her music recently? Yes it was a girl who won – Bella Taylor Smith. A beautiful and talented singer who was able to win a singing competition in the midst of a global pandemic. But did it guarantee her success? It depends on what you classify as success. She won $100,000 and a recording contract. Has she gone on to do great things with her music. She might think so. Is her name well known? Probably if you watched the Voice, but outside that circle, I don’t think so. What about the winner in 2020? He is a more well known name: Chris Sebastian. What about his music career? Do you think it is much different because of the Voice? Maybe a little bit, but he hasn’t become a household name like his brother.

Singing competitions can be a lot of fun, or a lot of stress. They can give you opportunities to perform in front of an audience and develop your stage craft. You can win money and maybe get a music contract. My concern with a show like the Voice is that it focuses more on the back story of the singers and the judges are given a lot of focus. If you check how long the singers actually sing for, it may be a little over a minute.  How can you truly gauge the skill of the singer in that amount of time?  Does it guarantee success, wealth and the opportunity to tour the world and perform – for the very few, yes.

I think singing competitions are worthwhile, if you treat them as an opportunity for you to improve as a singer and musician. Focus on how you can take this opportunity as a way to grow as a musician. But don’t go into these thinking it will bring fame and fortune. That will only come with hard work, constant, consistent practice and persistence.  Make sure you watch The Voice, even if only for one episode. Appreciate the courage it takes for these singers to get on stage in front of a nation wide audience and then enjoy the singing.


Singers need to have confidence.

What is the true meaning of confidence?

Confidence means feeling sure of yourself and your abilities — not in an arrogant way, but in a realistic, secure way. Confidence isn’t about feeling superior to others. It’s a quiet inner knowledge that you’re capable. Confident people: … know they can rely on their skills and strengths to handle whatever comes up.

When people are listening to music or watching a performance, the experience is that the listener is focused on the singer first. That means that the instrumentalists are more in the background.

That means, if we are singing solo, the pressure is on us to perform well.

Singers must remember lyrics and work with an instrument that we don’t always have control of. We don’t get the feedback like you do when you are playing an instrument external to our body.

It is harder for us to sing higher; we have to be in great shape, feeling well. If you want a higher note on a piano, you simply push the key.

The singer is the one who must connect with the audience. We are the ones telling the story.

That is stressful, as it can be difficult to make that connection, especially when we don’t feel fully confident in ourselves.

Confidence is about making sure we are as prepared as we can be before going on stage.

If you are worried about aspects of your singing and don’t have true confidence both technically and expressively, there can be the concern about failure.

True confidence comes with mastering your instrument technically. This means feeling good about what you want to sing on a regular basis, whatever that is.

When the singer makes a mistake, it is noticed. Of course, we will always experience mistakes on stage, it is part of life. No one is perfect. But we need to have the confidence to be on stage, present our songs, and be confident, so that when we have those moments, we can shake it off and keep going.

Confidence is knowing you have the flexibility and versatility to sing what you want to sing.

You need to know your songs well. You don’t want to be struggling to remember lyrics, or not knowing what the melody line is. You need to memorize your songs, so that you don’t have to worry about reading them.

Mental confidence comes from doing something a lot, so much that you have prepared yourself and don’t even have to think about it.  You can’t be worrying about whether the note will be there.

You also must give yourself permission to fail, and you also need to give the audience permission to not like you. Remember that you won’t please everyone. Not everyone will like you.  And you must let go.

There will be some in the audience who will love you, and you need to sing for those people.  Remember its not about you, its about your audience and how you are there to connect with them.  Don’t worry about yourself, connect with the lyrics, the emotion and what you are trying to share.


I hope you have experienced the joy of connecting with a singer and being touched by the song they are singing. You are in the moment with them. If there is a wrong note, so be it. They just let it go and keep sharing. That is what is important.

That is what great singing is about. Online Singing Lessons

Vocal Night 20th May 2021

It is with great excitement that I can announce the first Singing Strong Vocal Night for 2021.

It has been a long time since we have been able to hold an in person concert and I am so looking forward to

hearing everyone sing.  I am sure you are too.

The performance will be on Thursday 20th May at 6.30pm at the VRI hall, 18/20 Queens Parade, Traralgon.

This is a casual evening, where students are given the opportunity to perform in front of an audience.

Tea and coffee will be available.

Bookings are essential and tickets are online at TRYBOOKING. Click here to book your tickets.

Singers, family and friends must all book a ticket as there is a limit on the number of people who can attend.

There will be a COVIDsafe plan in place.

The tickets are free, but I would ask if you are able,  please make a small cash donation at the door to assist with covering costs.

I look forward to seeing you soon.


Singing Strong

The Challenges of Performing


I had the joy and honour of singing at three Anzac Day Services on Sunday. It has been a long time since I have sung in front of an audience and it was wonderful to be able to sing for people again. There were good crowds at all the services and I had a lovely response, with many saying how much they enjoyed my singing.  I believe it is such an honour to be able to sing at an Anzac Day ceremony and to be able to sing at three was very special.

The first ceremony was actually held at the local cemetery.  In my town we have quite a beautiful cemetery, with beautiful gardens, a recently renovated band rotunda and a substantial newly built memorial in memory of returned service men and women who are buried at the cemetery. This year was the first year since 1946 that an ANZAC day ceremony was held at the cemetery. This is because the town cenotaph was built after the second world war and the yearly ceremonies are now held there. 


One thing I was able to observe in detail was the bugler at each ceremony. There was a different person at each ceremony and they all had a very different experience performing. One of the buglers was a mature person who had been performing for many years and was very experienced at performing. One was still quite a young person but had played for many Anzac Day ceremonies, even though they were early on in their performing career. The third was a young person, had been playing for a few years, but had not had experience playing to a crowd. It was interesting to note that they had all obviously practiced for the event and they could all play the last post, but they had very different experiences. None of them played it perfectly, but the mature person and the very young person continued on in spite of any little slips they made. 

The person who had never performed for an audience before did get through the performance, however I could see very clearly that they were extremely nervous and tension had built up in their body, and they simply could not get enough air in to support the notes fully.  They are to congratulated on their performance, performing for the first time and in spite of being nervous, they did get through the last post and overall it was played correctly. It was sad to see their response afterwards. I didn't get a chance to speak to them, but if I could have, I would have told them how well they played for a first performance.  


We can be so harsh on ourselves for performances that don't go as well as we would like. Especially when we are first beginning to perform for an audience. As I said previously, none of the performances were perfect, but the people who had performed previously did not worry too much about perfection, shrugged off a missed note and kept playing.  It is so important that we practice performing, getting used to being in the stressful situation of standing in front of an audience and playing or singing. I have been performing for many years now, and although I can still get nervous, I have performed enough times to understand how my body works and I can prepare and be aware of what I am doing, relaxing and breathing well for good breath support. That does not mean my performances are always perfect.  Usually I go off stage thinking about what I can do better, but generally I am pretty happy with what I have done. The audience wants you to do well, and are for the most part very supportive, so we shouldn't be afraid to perform for others. Perfection is hard to achieve, but we are often hard on ourselves when we don't achieve it.

So get out there and perform.  A LOT!