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Musician Nutrition

Looking for some nutrition tips for the day of a big performance?

Well, I was having lunch with three music teachers (instrumental and vocal) the other day, and I took the opportunity to bombard them with questions for you.

As you can probably guess, they all had their pet peeves. It was a rapid-fire discussion and I did my best to keep up. Here are some of their tips for how to bring your A-game to performance day.

Avoid salty foods (and not just the obvious chips and pretzels). Stay away from pizza, fast food burgers and fries, and just about all of those rich, saucy (and delicious) ethnic restaurant dishes. Sodium has a tendency to dry out your lips and mouth, making it uncomfortable to sing or play a wind instrument.

Avoid Dairy and your voice with thank you. In some people, even the tiniest bit of dairy results in an increase in phlegm production. We’re guessing that constant urge to clear your throat is not what you’re after on the big day. So, stay away from milk, ice cream, yogurt and chocolate.

Avoid Soda. Everyone agreed on this one. But surprisingly, sugar was not culprit. Carbonation, and the subsequent urge to burp, seriously interferes with breath support. But sugary drinks and snacks aren’t exactly off the hook. Players of keyed instruments, beware: if you simply can’t resist the urge for a sweet treat, remember to rinse your mouth out afterwards. Sugar from your saliva will settle into the lower keys and cause them to stick.

Limit your sugar intake. Not just for the reason stated above, but also, why compound performance day jitters with a sugar rush?!

Avoid anything minty or mentholated, as these will have a tendency to dry you out.

Lastly, everyone agreed that prior to performance time, DO eat and drink things that are light and nutritious. And by all means, wash your hands before you even THINK ABOUT picking up an instrument, mallet or piece of sheet music on performance day or any other day.

4 Comments to “Musician Nutrition”

  1. Robert says:

    Avoid turkey, the ornithine can make you sleepy.

  2. Kristi says:

    Vocalists: throat sore on the day of performance? Drink some warm tea with honey or have chicken soup. Since you carry your instrument inside of you at all times, it can get strained. These 2 items will help ease the sore and aid in your vocal healing on performance days.

  3. Dr. Eric says:

    Protein (long lasting energy). Drink fluids 1 hour before the concert and have kids use the bathroom—even if they don’t need to—right before the show.

    Turkey making you sleepy is a myth.

  4. As the front man and guitarist for my band “For All Of This” my vocalist and I tend to avoid dairy products before performances.

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