Q: The Need to Swallow When Singing

I am still enjoying and learning from your book, but I have a personal singing problem. I sometime cannot sing a long phrase or several phrases of melody within a song before I feel the need to swallow the saliva in my mouth and start a new breath! It even made it difficult for me to sing on stage as I’m afraid that this will happen when I have to stop for one or two seconds to swallow and it interrupts the flow of the song! Is that something about my breath support, or because I am nervous on stage, or any other physical problem?
Samuel G.

A:Hi Samuel!

I have had the same problem now and again. When I am playing with a live band, and the tempo of the song is a bit too fast, the “pooling saliva” thing can happen. So, I know to slow the tempo down just a little bit the next time I sing that song.

If you are singing to karaoke tracks and can’t adjust the tempo, then look for places in the song where you can remove a word to create space to breathe or swallow. Words like: and, just, but, I, they, etc are sometimes easily removed and the meaning of the lyric doesn’t change even without them. This may help with the swallowing problem.

Don’t forget to “map out” your lyrics with breathing points, diaphragm pulls and open vowels. You will be able to see places where you can remove a word or two to create space to breathe and swallow and not change the meaning of the line.

Here’s an example of me mapping out “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele. In the manual, also have a look at p. 71, the “Mapping Out Your Lyrics Revisited” section which gives you all the tips and tricks to solve the problem.

Good luck!