‘Tis the season of exams and recitals. We’re prepared, right?
(‘Fail to prepare > Prepare to Fail.’) As stress levels lift, we need clarity to function to our ability. Or we fluster in performance and lose the plot – and control of passages or scales. “I played that perfectly at home!” we groan.
WATER: a miracle boost for performers
Under the spotlight, we challenge our systems in many ways. Multiple signals buzz from brain to body. Our bodies are made up of about 70% water. This is an excellent conductor of electrical energy, necessary to efficiently pass messages between the central nervous system, brain and sensory organs.
How many glasses of water did you drink today?____
In a “normal” day we need about eight glasses of water; even more in pressured times.
Stress dehydrates. Responses become sluggish when we’re dehydrated. During challenging times, maintain water intake to improve concentration, mental and physical co-ordination. It alleviates mental fatigue, increases energy levels, and keeps our brain firing.
I know what you’re thinking! More frequent visits to the bathroom – another pesky performance symptom. Many performers notice that nerves increase their frequency of urination. Why? The smooth muscle of the genito-urinary system contracts when our sympathetic system is activated. Increased adrenaline rush and resulting cardiac racing can cause diuresis. Such issues are eased if we learn to channel that adrenaline away from such symptoms into energy.
Make water a habit
Drink plenty of water in pressured weeks, days, the morning of a performance. Ease back in the hours and minutes before, perhaps rinsing your mouth before walking onto the platform. On-stage, I like to have a water bottle at hand for a discreet sip between pieces. This helps another problem that besets performers; dry mouth.
Singers and speakers
Water is essential for voice production, to lubricate the vocal folds. Room temperature or warm is best; cold constricts and heat relaxes.
“Water is the only drink for a wise man.” (Or woman) – Henry David Thoreau
Let’s drink to that!
Hear Ruth play
Workshops and Coaching
Ruth offers one-on-one sessions in SE Qld or via Skype. Email to check availability.