Friday, February 16, 2007

The Master Tonic Remedy

As a singer myself, I have grown to loathe the common cold, not to mention (shudder) the FLU!

Respiratory illnesses usually turn into laryngitis for me. My immune system is quite strong, but this weekend I started feeling that awful sensation in my throat that told me I was catching this terrible cold that has been going around in my area. So when my sister sent me this bottle of strange brown liquid and told me it would deal with most anything that ailed me, I decided to try it. OH MY GOSH- my eyes bugged out when I just lifted the lid... BUT... I AM WELL- after only one dose. So I will pass it on to you-

If you are REALLY serious about wanting to stay healthy, check this time tested remedy:

"The Master Tonic"- (aka "The Flu Tonic)
Chop or blend equal parts of:
  • Habanero Peppers
  • Horseradish
  • Gingerroot
  • Hot Onions
  • Garlic Cloves

Cover and blend with

  • raw, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

Let it sit for a couple wks, shaking it regularly, then strain and use as needed

My sister offers this recipe to make it tastier:

  • 1 tsp master tonic
  • dash of worcestershire sauce
  • couple of ice cubes
  • fill glass with tomato juice
  • top with squeeze of lemon

Read the complete directions for making the tonic, and dosage recommendations at:

Here is another chat room with some practical info:

Another chat room discussion about this tonic:

Here is another website which advocated taking it "straight" (a serious zing!)

Another site advocating this remedy:
Natural Tonic: Richard Schulze

The Importance of Resonation

Resonation is your key to effective communication. If you say or sing something, what your listener "hears" is determined by the WAY you do it...

Let me explain:
If your throat is somewhat closed and/or your airstream (power) is not supported and controlled, your resulting sound will not be perceived as important or confident. Your message will be "I'm not sure about this", "Don't eat me for saying this" or "It's ok if you don't listen to this".

Here is an example:
I was listening to NPR this morning and there was a hilarious bit about the note "Bb". There was an experiment someone did (this person may need a life) near a pit of alligators. He played a Bb on a tuba, and the gators started roiling and splashing around because they thought they heard a big rival intruder coming. No note except a Bb did the trick. Follow this link for more of the story.

Now I'd like to see a further experiment. I bet if the guy played a Bb on a kazoo or flute, the gators would have ignored it. The resonation caused by the tuba communicated the message they "heard" that made them go nuts.

Conclusion: If you want your listener to "get your message", do it with an open throat. Your vocal cord buzz will then be able to reach all your resonation zones, and your sound will be rich and full. For help with resonation, check out my vocal training course at

ALSO: if you're near a gator pit, don't voice a low "Bb". Do it in falsetto :)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Are You Really Communicating?

When we speak indistinctly, it doesn't communicate. Only common sense, right? Funny how a desire to communicate something can get scattered like a flashlight beam.

It's like there's a disconnect between your mind and your voice. It can happen for a lot of reasons, such as-
  • You're not quite sure that the object of your message really wants to hear it. Hey, and sometimes, they don't! It's your job to change their minds...
  • You don't really want to communicate- you're going through the motions while thinking about something else (don't you hate it when someone talks to you and you know they aren't really "present" with you?
  • You are wondering how your voice sounds, how you look, what they think about you, what the judges will conclude(which has absolutely NOTHING to do with communicating)
  • You may be afraid your voice or your message isn't good enough. (This is where you may need some help with vocal techniques and songwriting/selecting)
  • You are, for whatever reason, INSECURE. Could be a temporary condition, or a chronic state.
  • Or... You're actually only rehearsing for the real thing! Try this... count to 5 in a zombie-like voice (rehearsal). Now look at a point of your choosing and count with some kind of attitude... try mad, happy, amazed, confused, etc.

Communication problems can also be caused by a disconnect between your body and your voice.

Vocal training can provide life changing help to people who think that the voice only comes from the throat. Consider this...The best communicators have rich, musical voices with dynamics and flow. Guess what? If your voice is not like this, it's only that you don't know how to access all of your instrument. Much more than your throat, your voice involves your whole body. In fact, when operating optimally your voice should never feel like it's coming from your throat at all (unless you put your hand on your larynx and feel the vibration)!

To help connect the body and the voice, I have a saying: "act as if and ye shall be". In other words, what would your body language be (how would your posture be, how engaged would your eyes be, how well would you form your words) if you WERE secure about your voice and determined to communicate? OK, fake it till ya make it. Have faith in your voice... use a confident stance and delivery, and your voice will then clearly understand it's chore. Before you know it, you really ARE secure about your message, and someone is truly listening.

Remember that true communication has a purpose and an object. If it's worth saying/singing, then commit and communicate!!