The Touring Singers Regime

Mixdown Magazine Article

SINGERS TOURING PREPERATION

There is nothing more exciting than a bands the first real tour. Packing the van, car  or plane with all your equipment and hitting the road.

A tour means that you’re going to play more than three shows in a row. In Australia this could mean just playing the five or 6 major cities. Though if you are also going to include a rural tour this could make it a 30 date tour. Beyond that it is every bands dream to do a North American tour which could easily include 40 to 50 dates. With the bulk of these dates done back-to-back.  I am going give you a few helpful hints to survive the rigours of touring because most of the time it is very hard, gruelling and tiring work and not all just performing and partying which the common misconception.

 Your Fitness Regimen

A full two months before a long tour begins you should start preparing your voice, body and mind. Your fitness and cardiovascular regime should consistent of some situps, crutches or bridges and also any physical activity that will get your lungs working a few times a week e.g. Jogging, swimming, martial arts.

 Your Vocal Fitness Regimen

Over the next two months you should be gradually building up your scales and song practice and rehearsal to build strength and stamina before the tour starts.

Starting off from scratch I would recommend doing 15 minutes worth of scales and then 15 minutes worth of singing every day for the first week. Then increase both of these by five minute increments for the next 7 weeks. For the last two weeks before the tour starts you should be singing through your whole entire set.

Three days before you start touring you want to bring your scales and songs work out down to about half of that (roughly 15-20 minutes of scales and songs) so that you are fresh for the start of your tour.

Eat well and get good amounts of rest during this time so that you are at your peak vocal, mental and physical plateau at the start of your tour.

Dead Letter Circus LIVE

These boys from Dead Letter Circus really know how to rock and pack out a venue.

 

 

Rehearsal Preparation

2 Months before a full length performance you should be rehearsing EVERYTHING that you are going to be performing on stage!

Everything from the very moment you walk on stage until you walk off stage. Practice everything from what you’re going to say to the audience, your movements, stage presentation, crowd interaction, audio visuals, guitar changes, sound and lighting all needs to be rehearsed so they are seamless. Once you have everything nailed down, it is up to you to maintain this high professional high level of rehearsing until your tour begins.

The Day of Your Performance

It’s always a good idea to try to get to the venue an hour or 2 before show time.To find  where you can park, where the stage entrance and backstage areas are. Give yourself plenty of time to set up, do your vocal warm ups and be in the right state of mind before your performance

I usually try to have of light meal containing complex carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, or grains, along with a salad 3 to 4 hours before my performance. This type of meal will give you a lasting energy that kicks in within 2-4 hours, right when you need it on stage. I also try to stay well hydrated the entire day of the show by regularly drinking room temperature water. If I’m feeling a bit hungry just before a performance I generally snack on a piece of fruit or a light sandwich. Avoid eating anything too heavy or spicy as you don’t want to inhibit your breathing or irritate your throat during your performance.

The 1 to 2 Hours Before the Show

We’re now at the business end and everything that you have worked so hard for. Is time to get in the right mental state and start preparing for the performance. Everyone has their own way of doing this. About 1 hour before the show I would try to find your own space.

I would do scales to warm up specific parts of the voice that I will be using in my performance. For instance if you were the lead singer of Coldplay you would warm up the lower to middle part of your true voice and your falsetto voice or if you were the lead singer of Metallica you would warmup your entire range but finish up your scales warmup by doing some husky scales.

Personally, I don’t do any scales or singing on the day of a performance as I want to keep my voice as fresh as I can until the very last note I’ll sing on stage. However, if you are a bigger touring band, you’ll most likely need to warm up before sound check in the afternoon. Again, try not to do too much during sound check as you want to save your voice for the real thing.

10 minutes before I go on stage I would do a light limbering and stretching of my body. Then, and this is very important, I would proceed to sing the first half of the first song that I am going to perform so that I will have complete confidence in what I am about to do in a few minutes when I am on stage.

Now, it’s time to get on stage and have some fun. In the end THAT’S what it’s all about! Having fun, sharing your talents and art and enjoying what you’re doing.

Immediately after the show, do a light body stretch, vocal cool down and drink plenty of water. From there you can proceed to eat and do whatever you wish! However, If you have continuous shows or a show the next night it would be best to go home, take it easy, and get some vocal rest. Again vocal rest can be a challenge for touring bands as you may have a pre or post show meet and greets, media interviews/ Radio performances, in store signings and performances or after the show parties.

 

The Four Main Points to Always Remember When Touring

 

1.Try to get good amount of rest and sleep.

2. Be sure to eat and drink well.

3. Try to do some physical exercise whenever you can, even if it is just a brisk walk through town.

4. Always warm up and cool down correctly before and after your sound check and performance.

 

By Peter Vox

Principal Teacher and Director at