“Singers Survival Tips” – Zinc & Vitamin C

The 1st Episode of my “Singer Survival Tips Series” . I am creating these for those vocalists heading out on the road or even just doing local gigs. This is one of THE BEST tips I share with all my students about staying healthy. Its the fist thing you’ll want to have in you “Survival Kit”!





Hi I’m Mitch Seekins – The Vocal Coach it is so nice to see everyone finally heading back out on tour and doing shows, so I decided to do this series of singer survival tips to help out. This is stuff that I share with all of my students – from the ones launching world and national tours to those beginning to do local gigs again.

It’s so very important for a vocalist to stay as healthy as possible to get through the shows. These tried and true tips will be things that I’ve picked up over my 38 years of touring and gigging and have used myself… oh and if you find these helpful please share and hit the subscribe button there’s more stuff coming

This is the beginning of April which is a season change and what comes with that are colds and flues as well as the beginning of the allergy season… yay ….you are constantly exposed to different varieties of germs wherever you go as each place has its own micro climate so to speak. The germs in New York are not the same germs that are in LA which are not the same germs in Chicago or Toronto my first tip is zinc and vitamin c. I personally have used this for years as well as my students grab a bottle of 10 or 20 milligram zinc tablets any brand will do it doesn’t have to be fancy and a bottle of at least 500 milligram time release vitamin c that is really important the time release aspect of the vitamin c allows the body to absorb the vitamin c as efficiently as possible if you slam it with too much vitamin c the body will just purge it and you don’t get the full benefit so the time release is actually really important depending on your stature more vitamin c is perfectly okay I’m six foot three and i take a thousand milligrams of time release vitamin c every day so if you’re of a smaller stature 500 milligrams will be just fine as well how to use this combination depending on your size I’m once again a big guy so i’ll take between you know 30 or 40 milligrams of zinc you really don’t need to go much higher than that if you’re smaller you can go 10 or 20 milligrams that’s totally fine but you take that once a day with the time release vitamin c and then you can use the vitamin c again later on in that day but not the zinc a good rule of thumb is when you take this take it with a little bit of food as the zinc may upset your stomach you want to take this right as you begin to feel something coming on you know that funny feeling in the throat where you start to feel like there’s something not quite right that’s when you want to do this you don’t want to leave that feeling for 8 or 10 hours or 24 hours and then try to do this you want to nail it right at the beginning. What this combination does is it kick-starts the body into producing massive amounts of white blood cells which is your immune system the white blood cells fight colds and flus and what have you and you don’t want to take this more than four days in a row because if you begin to develop the cold your body is going to be producing as many white blood cells as it can – it’s that kickstart that really gives you an edge on kicking the cold before it really takes hold. Now this doesn’t work a hundred percent of the time but you know, it works about eighty percent of the time! uh for example I began to have a cold that my son brought home from school on Tuesday it’s Saturday today and I started to feel it in my throat at about midnight so i actually got out of bed took my zinc and vitamin c went back to bed and then i took it again in the morning and then hit it with vitamin c that night and because I’m so big it’s a thousand milligrams and then i did it again on Thursday morning Friday morning I did it today is Saturday there’s no cold there through that time there was no point where I wouldn’t have been able to do a show if i had to so you might think well why don’t I just take the zinc all the time the problem with that is, is that even though it’ll say it on the bottle because their job of course, is to sell tablets, your body will get accustomed to it and it won’t provide that jump start that boost that’s so important in combating a cold when it’s trying to take hold so I don’t recommend taking it more than three or four days at a time the vitamin c like I said I take it every day vitamin c is a good supplement to take every day for immune health.

So the major takeaway of this is to know that to be a successful singer you need to have a strong and robust immune system. There you go that’s my first Singer Survival Tip! Once again if you like this and found it helpful, please share and hit that subscribe button … I have more stuff to come

Womens Lip Trills

This is a file that you can download or stream and use to help or begin a warm-up cycle.

Okay! Just a couple things to touch on before we start. If you haven’t watched the how to do lip trills video, just go back and do that it’s really, really short. Use your hands when you need to, if you need to… if you can do without it that’s great but if not, use your hands and gently lift the cheeks up. The Passaggio, the crack… don’t allow the crack to happen too early. You want to stretch the chest voice up a little bit you don’t want to ram it but you do want to want to stretch it and when you go up into head voice or falsetto make sure you come back down into chest. You want to work that Passaggio, that crack. That’s an important part of the exercise.

This is the arpeggio that I’m going to use and I’ll go up and semi-tones and that’s about it!

Let’s go to work.

Mens Lip Trills

This is a file that you can download or stream and use to help or begin a warm-up cycle.

Okay! Just a couple things to touch on before we start. If you haven’t watched the how to do lip trills video, just go back and do that it’s really, really short. Use your hands when you need to, if you need to… if you can do without it that’s great but if not, use your hands and gently lift the cheeks up. The Passaggio, the crack… don’t allow the crack to happen too early. You want to stretch the chest voice up a little bit you don’t want to ram it but you do want to want to stretch it and when you go up into head voice or falsetto make sure you come back down into chest. You want to work that Passaggio, that crack. That’s an important part of the exercise.

This is the arpeggio that I’m going to use and I’ll go up and semi-tones and that’s about it!

Let’s go to work.

Warming Up – Lip Trills

Warming up! The first of a series of short videos and exercise files that you can use or download. This one is all about Lip Trills, an exercise that has been around at least 400 yrs! I explain how and why to use them.

Today’s little video segment is all about how to do lip trills. An important part of a warmup cycle that should be habitual for every professional or serious vocalist.

I explain the how to’s and why for’s in my latest blog, which is on my website – If you haven’t seen it please go to my website, mitchseekinsvocalstudio.com and in the blog section you’ll find it there. Have a look!

I will be shooting a full episode about the importance of warming up shortly.

Ok… Lip Trills

Very easy to do and still very helpful even if you do them wrong, but of course much more helpful if you can do them right!

They work like this – demonstration

The goal is to maintain an even lip bubble trill thing and more important is to stretch through the passaggio or that crack between chest voice and head voice or the falsetto

You can use the fingers to gently lift the cheeks and take the weight off the lips, so they trill easier like this,


But if you can do them without the use of your hands, that’s better…. but honestly not necessary.

Then you do a series of arpeggios, working your voice from the bottom to the top of your range, trying to stretch through the crack, like this – demonstration

as opposed to flipping through – demonstrate

if you can’t seem to stretch through right away don’t fret too much about it. Its just a matter of time to get the cords to settle into position and you’ll be able to do it, as long as you concentrate on trying to do it, every single time you do them You still get a wonderful way of stretching everything out until it starts to work!

That’s it!

I’m going to film 2 sets of arpeggios for you to use or download.

1 for women and 1 for men

The range I’m going to use is a common range that seems to basically work for most men and for most women’s ranges.

Of course, it can’t be specific for your individual voice, but it’s a great place for you to start

When you study with me, once a student has a good grasp on the fundamentals then I make a warmup file specifically for their range and their abilities.

There you go! Have fun with them.

In the meantime, please subscribe or check back periodically for more tips and videos, I will post them as soon as I have them!

If you have and questions post them! I will answer 2 posted questions a week, so post away!

So, there you go…. See you next time!

“Singers Survival Tips” – How and Why to Vocally Warm Up

“Singers Survival Tips” – How and Why to Vocally Warm Up

Photo: Mitch working with Adam Wilson from Red Chair.

Want to learn more about how to warm up the voice? 

I’ll answer some questions about how and why you should warm up before a gig, a recording session or a rehearsal.

Hi, I’m Mitch Seekins – The Vocal Coach  and have been teaching recording artists, touring artists and regular people how sing , maintain, and even repair damaged voices so they can look forward to a less stressful and a much longer career. I performed and toured myself, singing many different genres of music for 37 yrs., so was able to develop and test all kinds of warm up methods. The following is what I teach my students!

  • Warming up is a key factor for a vocalist before any event. Getting the muscles moving, the blood flowing to the area, knocking gunk off the cords, is the best way to ensure your top performance and lessen the chance of hurting the voice.
  • As a vocal coach I guide singers how to not only develop and strengthen their voices but also how to maximize what they have at any given time, This includes being at the top of their game and healthy, as well as…not being at the top of their game and dealing with vocal fatigue, swollen vocal chords or being just plain sick!
  • I do get questions regarding how to vocally warm up properly. As a student of mine, once the fundamentals are established, I create warm up files specifically for everyone. This includes warmup exercises that pertain to the level they are at as well as their specific vocal range and abilities. Obviously, I can’t do that here for you, but I can share some simple exercises for common ranges and at least get you started on the right track!

Some of the questions I get are:

How long should I warm up for?

  • I have always viewed singing as an athletic event. If you imagine yourself as an athlete, you can often rationalize how to approach things. A top-level athlete will ALWAYS warm up before a competition. This ensures that the body’s muscles are warm, have all the kinks worked out and are ready to perform. They would never warm up to the point where it becomes a “workout”. You should never waste the energy you need for peak performance. The goal is to get the muscles prepped for peak performance!
  • From a singer’s standpoint, it’s the same. Unless you’ve begun the process of getting everything moving how could you ever expect to perform at your best? For a vocalist in today’s music business, being in top form and consistent is a must!
  • What I have found to work best, is a warmup lasting 10 to 15 min, that should end approx. 20 to 30 min prior to the show. Having a short rest after a vocal warm up is important as it allows the muscles to relax and if there is any residual phlegm left, time for it to clear. Like any pro athlete you need to work that into a pre-performance habit, so it is always done.

What do I need to warm up? Chest voice, Head voice or Falsetto…. or all of it?

All of it. All parts of the voice are used in producing a good quality sound for a show. Therefore, you need to stretch all aspects of your voice out!

Is there one exercise that does it all for me?

  • No. But there is one that comes close! It’s called “Lip Trills”. These exercises have been around for a VERY long time. I have the very first book ever written on vocal technique by Pier Francesco Tosi…in 1743! He talks about them in the book. Who knows how long they were around before that? He doesn’t claim to have invented them, just that they are an integral part to any vocal warm up for any voice type.
  • It’s a fantastic exercise that works through all the registers in the voice (chest and head or falsetto), forcing you to relax while doing it, because if you get any tongue, jaw, throat or torso tension, the exercise stops working!
  • It begins the process of learning to properly negotiate the passagio, or that “crack” we all have between the chest voice and the head voice. It’s not the be all and end all of learning how to do that, but it a great way to start.
  • It stretches out all the resisters (Chest and Head) from the very bottom to the very top of your range, working the muscles and getting the blood and warmth to flow.
  • It begins the process of moving any phlegm off the vocal cords
  • It establishes good vocal placement, as you can’t do them in the back of the throat
  • Overall a great way to start a warmup!

Can you do them wrong?

  • Yes. However, they are very easy to learn to do right…to the point that afterwards, it’s difficult to do them wrong! I will be filming examples of how you should approach them. If you don’t get them right immediately, have no fear. It’s only a matter of a little time for the cords to shift into the proper position and in the meanwhile, as a warmup, they still work great!

Do I really need to do this? Usually I just go out and scream my face off! Seems to work for me!

  • Ummm…yeeaahh… good luck with that. You can’t expect that to work for long. Aging is a bitch… and there is no avoiding it. When it comes to vocal recovery after a show, (many of my students sing extremely aggressive shows in front of THOUSANDS of fans at a time) it simply takes time. And the older you get, the more time it takes! Think about the aging athlete. Warming up beforehand really helps in your ability to NOT hurt the voice during a performance. Successful artists take care of their instruments so they can enjoy long careers.


So, there is a basic overview of vocally warming up and why you need to do it! What I’m going to do is give you is a free sample of my warmup files that I produce for my students. This will be a “generic” arpeggio pattern that you can either stream or download for you to use. Personally, I would download them as then you would never get caught if at a gig the internet signal is weak. Just put it on your phone, plug in one ear bud (use your other ear to hear yourself!) and go to work!

  • If you find the starting point too low or the top notes too high for your range just wait until the notes come around that work for you. The file I’m sharing is a common range file that should work for about 95% of you. There will be one file for the male voice and one for the female voice.
  • Throughout the file not only will I be playing the notes to trill to, I will also be “coaching” you on what to think or visualize while you run through the scales.


Mitch Seekins Vocal Coach

Be sure to check out my YouTube Channel “The Vocal Coach” for more tips and files!

Email Mitch to get started


“Singers Survival Tips” – The Importance of Humidifiers

Welcome to the very first tip episode!

This episode is all about a very important tip…


I know that might sound kinda strange but bear with me ok?

And the musical clip features Ian Thornley, a fantastic vocalist, nailing some high notes in Nashville live with his band Big Wreck!

Hi! I’m Mitch Seekins The Vocal Coach….want to see what some of my students are doing?


One of the most difficult things for a singer to do is to stay healthy… particularly while on the road!


Now, when you are at home, you build up you immune system, but once you go on the road,  the germs that are in Toronto are not the same germs  that are in Nashville, which are not the same germs that are in LA …and if it is a great big city, say for example New York, the germs from one side of the city to the other change


And then you come in contact with so many other people through meet and greets, interviews, rehearsals, performances… coupled with the fact that touring is absolutely exhausting … it doesn’t take long for the immune system to get overwhelmed….

and when you are a vocalist sickness always seems to hit the throat first!



What you have to know is The 1st line of defense for the body is the mucus membranes in the nose, sinuses and the throat.


Germs and viruses get caught in these membranes then get expelled when you sneeze, cough or swallow.

During the spring, summer and early fall things are usually ok, but come late fall or winter…

Its not only cold…but its also bone dry!

And when the heating systems kick on. they blow out pure dry air… and that includes Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Man, its really cold out here!


During the day we don’t have to worry so much because you’re eating, salivating, drinking water…the problem is at night when you are doing none of those things.


And when the membranes dry out, they can crack, and then germs and viruses have a direct line into the body….and this is why everyone gets sick this time of the year.

For example, the flu season!


The body produces mucus to protect the area which in turn can dry out….then more mucus…thats why you can wake up in the morning and be all pasty …it’s a vicious cycle.


The best way to combat this is to have a cool mist humidifier in your bedroom… but only at night! You want to let your room dry out during the day.


If you do this the body wont over produce excess mucus and the membranes wont dry out. You have a much better chance of NOT getting sick! It’s not a guarantee of course, but it sure ups the odds!


This is also necessary for vocal recovery which I will be covering in another episode.


All my students have and travel with cool mist humidifiers and I do remind them when it’s time to get them going.

Now if you live or tour in a hot climate all of this still applies… but for air conditioning!

And of course, washing your hands all the time helps as well.

So there here you go…hopefully you found this helpful.


So please subscribe or check back periodically as I will adding more new content as soon as I have it.

IF you have a suggestion as to what you might like me to cover during an episode, please let me know and I’ll take it under consideration.

If you have a burning question that you’d like to ask…post it!

I will be answering 2 posted questions a week….so post away.

I’ll be including the names of the people that contributed footage and pictures for this episode…they’re awesome! Please check them out.

Thanks for watching…and I hope to see you next time!