Onmutu- General Music Learning Article

What to do when sickness strikes...


It happens to all of us. We are about to go out on stage or get in to the pit to do another show or play a few services in church and sickness strikes.

Many people have a nervous kind of sickness that they have to deal with on a regular basis. Sometimes it is a flu or a cold that you just can’t shake. You have a fever or are having trouble breathing. Digestive issues that you don't really want to think or talk about like having to run to the bathroom every five minutes...These things don’t typically add to the quality of your performance and can add a great deal of stress to your life!

More often than not performing through a sickness or illness is a must. For a freelance musician it is often difficult finding a substitute that you can trust to do well at the last moment. For an orchestral player there may be a bit more flexibility if you have an extra player who can step in.  For many of us performing or even practicing when feeling under the weather can be very challenging.

Often times practicing while under the weather is hard because we are weaker, don't feel up to it, and aren't thinking as clearly.  If you are able take time off to recover and gain strength go for it.  If you need to stay in shape and prepared for upcoming events I encourage you to practice in one or two short sessions each day and stay to one or two small goals for that time.  Another option if you are physically unable to practice is to take the time to do some mental practice.  Learn the notes, phrasing, and musical ideas for a piece while you recover.  You can also take the time to listen to music and watch videos of performances to give you inspiration and new ideas when you get back to playing/singing again!

In my career with only couple of exceptions I have just had to push the sickness aside and proceed.  Of course I really didn't have a choice.  Things would come on suddenly or with little time to find a replacement!  So I just had to press on...

For me this has worked with varying success. Often my performance is diminished and I am in survival mode (play as well as I can and get home and to bed!). Strangely in some of my more intense performancs when I was under the weather my mind and body were in a genuine state of relaxation (or exhaustion) and I’ve had some of my best performances.

Whatever the case I am a big believer in proactive care. That would include good rest and diet, exercise, and a daily routine of natural/homopathic care including a Good Multivitamin, Extra Vitamin C, D, E, Fish or Krill Oil, Colloidal Silver, and Garlic. When you start to feel symptoms of cold or flu utilize ColdCalm and/or Sambucol.

If you are in a situation where you feeling like vomiting (likely due to food poisoning or motion sickness/vertigo or a flu coming on) I have found Pharmaceutical Grade Activated Charcoal to be very effective.  A small amount sprinkled in to water really takes care of this problem.  Some of you may know activated charcoal as one of the remedies that poison control will advise you to take in case of certain kinds of accidental poisoning or overdose.

If you are just experiencing a nervous stomach or mild nausea a good course of action is to chew a few ginger chews.  These are readily available at natural foods stores like Whole Foods as well as stores like Trader Joe's.  Some people will sip some ginger ale as well but make sure you are getting some that utilizes real sugar not the typical high fructose corn syrup that most soda pops have.

If you are starting to see a cold coming your way it is best to be proactive.  I have found that Sambucol/Sambucus in lozenge or liquid form is excellent.  This is available at Walgreen's as well as health food/vitamin stores.  Some people also have had good experience with Zinc to help control cold symptoms.  It is best to avoid the OTC medicines in this category as the natural methods are really more effective without the side-effects.

Here's to good health for all of you!

Disclaimer:  I am not a medical doctor.  I am only offering ideas for you to consider based on my own real-life experiences.  Always consult your physician, health practitioner, naturopath, etc before beginning a new remedy, medication, or other medical treatment.


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