About four years ago I lost my voice. I didn't just misplace it, I lost it totally and completely. I'd been on the road for the better part of several months, for the most part speaking most of the day. As I was to learn, my technique was terrible and placed serious strain on my vocal chords.
Fortunately, I'd blocked the next month off on my calendar so I didn't miss any speaking engagements. But I did make an appointment to see a speech pathologist at The University of Iowa. She gave me great advice and some very helpful exercises. One of the most important things I learned is the importance of warming up your vocal chords in the morning. Like any muscle, they're more likely to be strained when they're cold and stiff.
Now, if you've watched that wonderful movie The King's Speech and seen the vocal machinations the character played by Colin Firth had to go through, you have some idea how silly it feels to warm up one's vocal chords in the morning. Especially if you happen to be in a hotel room where the night before your neighbors had demonstrated how thin the walls are. So I took to doing my vocal warm-ups in the shower.
Lo and behold, I discovered an amazing fringe benefit: singing in the shower does wonders for my mood and motivation. I am an incorrigible night owl, and not terribly sunny at sunrise. But no matter how tired, grumpy, anxious, or depressed I happen to be when I climb into the shower, going through my vocal exercises, culminating with a rousing rendition of "The Grand Old Duke of York" that will never be heard outside the confines of a shower curtain behind a closed bathroom door, magically lifts my spirits.
This weekend, I challenge you to try it yourself. Start with several choruses of "me-me-me-me" up and down the scales, move on to do-re-me-fa-so-la-te-da, then graduate to "Can't Buy Me Love" or "I Feel Good" - or if you're a real talent, Bach's fourth Coffee Cantata.
You probably won't become the next American Idol, but you will feel a whole lot better about starting off your day.