The most recent home game for the Nashville Predators went twice as long as the typical game and took a toll on the screaming voices of their loyal fan base. Before they play again tonight — with their season on the line — WPLN sought out a voice coach to explain how diehard fans can get the most out of their chants.
To get the full effect, this story is best when heard (click above) but the advice from Gaelyn Garrett, director of the Vanderbilt Voice Center, goes like this:
- Be quiet during the day. Rest those vocal chords.
- Warm up. Just like a professional singer — only substituting Preds chants for melodies.
- Stay hydrated. In other words: avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
- Rejuvenate. The entire game-going experience demands more from the voice than normal, so use intermissions to rest. Find a quiet place with friends.
Garrett says a night of screaming can mean inflammation and swelling the next day — and, at worst, even a ruptured blood vessel. It's the same ailment that occasionally befalls some of Nashville’s professional singers.
The good news, she says, is that most people can get away with letting out a few wild screams for goals.
The ‘P’ in Predators
It also matters how you belt out those sounds. Garrett’s short rule: less throat and more wide open air flow.
“You want to be able to open up and ‘ahhhhh’ … and that ‘eeeehhh’ — any kind of that activity is bad,” she said.
She warns generally against the manner of speaking known as “vocal fry” — a manner of talking in an overly low and gravelly voice, emanating from the back of the throat.
“You want to bring the sound up in the front of your face,” she said.
There is a benefit to the team’s name: the ‘P’ sound at the beginning is easier on the voice. Along with the letters M, N, S and T, these are known as voiceless consonants.
“‘Predators’ is actually probably pretty good, unless you get hard on the ‘Preeeeehdators.’ If they think about the ‘P’ sound, then they’re probably going to be better,” Garrett said.
One Fan’s Recovery
For superfan Laura Lloyd, there’s little holding back during the game.
“This is kind of what I sound like as we get toward the end of the season. It’s kind of my playoff voice,” she eked out, a bit scratchy, in a call with WPLN.
The season-ticket holder in Section 325 — at center ice — said the triple-overtime win left her arms tired from waving towels and one wrist bruised from clapping so hard.
“We were all so exhausted. At one point, the person I was sitting with, was like, ‘Is this the third overtime?’ ” she said. “You could see the guys, they were tired. They were gassed, but they hung in there. … And I’ve never high-fived so many people in my life, hugging strangers as we’re walking down the halls, leaving the arena.”
Lloyd performs all the chants — with all the words.
“I particularly enjoy yelling at their goalie,” she said. “This is something that I find great pleasure in, I’m afraid to say.”
Lloyd says she sips on ginger beer as a home remedy to help her voice recover.
While Garrett, the voice expert, didn’t put much stock in that, she returned to her two staples: rest and hydration.
And should anyone rupture a blood vessel, Garrett said that level of “voice emergency” could demand five to seven days of complete voice rest — doctor’s orders that a fan might find hard to follow.