8 Sickness-Fighting Items in a Singer’s Luggage

Allergy season is upon us. YAY. In the UK (milder climate, more wet climate) it hits me harder than at home. If you’ve been in a Whole Foods or health store lately, you would see there are TONS of options. I remember being completely clueless and was introduced to some of these products by both British and American singers. I am not a doctor, but wanted to share the things I use and maybe we can compare notes. JHere we go!

8.     Neti Pot.

This is no new thing for singers, and personally I think some people do it too much. But it has helped me on occasion to clear out the dust spring cleaning brings up. I love the Nasopure because it can collapse into your luggage easily if you squeeze it!

7.     Jakeman’s Honey & Lemon Menthol drops

Similar frequency to the neti-pot, they are good if you can’t find a tea nearby to soothe the throat. Very sweet IMO. You can get them in the US and UK at most grocery and drug stores.

6. Echinaforce Echinacea tablets – A.Vogel Brand (Switzerland)

These tablets are not meant for immediate relief, but they build in your system and are for long-time use. I take one every morning in the winter and spring.

5. Theanine tablets – Source Naturals

This stuff is GOOD, ya’ll. I take it when I feel extra stress come on – stress makes you SICK. It’s a supplement (amino acid derived from plants) that reduces mental and physical stress, improves cognition, and boosts mood and cognitive performance in a synergistic manner with caffiene.

4. “Valor” Essential Oil - Young Living

Apply this on wrists, back of neck, and shoulders. This concoction of spruce, rosewood, frankincense and blue tansy works wonders for me on a stuffed up day. You could also try something like Eucalyptus or Peppermint oil!

3. “Lemon Vitality” Essential Oil - Young Living

Another essential oil. Lemon water in the morning right when you wake up – it supports your organs and immune system. Put it in your smoothie or your tea, too!

2. Wellness Formula Tablets  - Source Naturals

These little buggers are pretty expensive at Whole Foods, but they sure do stop a cold in its tracks! You have to take a bunch and they taste kinda jank.. garlicky and garden-like.

Oh my gosh, I’m so excited for number one. These things have improved many a rehearsal and performance when I was feeling under the weather.

1.     Vocalzone Throat Pastilles –Estrel Medical

These are peppermint, myrrh and menthol in a mini tablet that packs a punch! They open up your sinuses really well in my experience. I usually can’t keep it in my mouth and just set it on my tea cup handle so I can occasionally pop it in my mouth.

Hope this helps! Happy Spring singing to you. Please leave a comment about things you use that might help others get through this icky season!

Emily Birsan
Make a plan, and let go.

This past year, I've debuted some of my favorite roles ever, traveled to gorgeous cities, met so many amazing musicians and conductors and made music with them. This job is very fulfilling, but I've esp. enjoyed working with young artists this past season in lessons and masterclasses. The upcoming young classical singers are giving me LIFE. I find so much joy in conversation with why we do this silly, crazy, dramatic art-form.

Lessons from artists of all ages:

I worked with a young artist in Indianapolis, while singing Violetta. She inspired me with her fearlessness, her curiosity, her joy. During a masterclass in Whitewater, a tenor gave me chills when he let go technically at the risk of cracking and it paid off. These situations remind me that we all are working towards the same thing - technically - to have a plan, and then let go - in all categories of life, that works. 

While singing with the Liverpool Philharmonic this last year, I had many inspiring conversations with Sir Andrew Davis, who was conducting. He shared that if the moment where he gave a perfect performance occurred, he should quit. There's no reason to keep doing this without that curiosity.

Get to it. Make a plan, and let go. 



Emily Birsan
When preparing for a role…

1. Always singing snippets under your breath and people ASSUME you’re singing Beatles songs.

2. Lose your phone, wallet and keys at least once. Each. 

3. Best friends with your water bottle. Why am I peeing so much? 

4. Feel like August 1 is tomorrow and also 10 years away. 

5. WHY DOES THIS ROLE PERTAIN PERFECTLY TO ME and MY LIFE RIGHT NOW. not really, but you convince yourself of that.

mindgames stravinsky onemonthout

Emily Birsan