Let me introduce you to powerful voice strengthening
exercises for singers. Improve vocal cord closure and vocal power, smooth transitions
between registers, extend your vocal range and learn how to sing without straining. Sounds
good? Let’s start. Hi and welcome! If we haven’t met yet, I
am Katarina, speech-language pathologist from How 2 Improve Singing and here on this channel,
I share tips on how to use your voice in a healthy and efficient way. So, if you don’t
want to miss any of my future videos, consider subscribing to this channel and hitting that
bell notification icon. So, you want to know how to strengthen vocal
cords without straining? You may be surprised what I am going to tell you in this video.
The voice exercises to strengthen vocal cords are … drumroll please …. straw exercises.
Have you heard about straw exercises? If not, no problem. I am going to give you some basic
information so that you can start improving your voice today.
Straw exercises or straw phonation have many benefits for a singing voice. Here are some
examples: Straw exercises are excellent vocal cord closure
exercises so you may use them to eliminate unwanted breathiness.
Straw exercises encourage legato or smooth singing because they require a steady airflow.
During straw exercises, your vocal cords are aligned well, therefore these vocal cord exercises
help erasing breaks in voice. My favourite benefit is sound production without
muscular and vocal effort. You don’t need to press or strain your muscles to sing, therefore
these exercises are wonderful for strained vocal cords but they are very useful for any
singer who wants to learn how to not strain your voice when singing.
Now, you may be asking: How is this possible? Well, here is a short answer: Straw exercises
are so called SOVT exercises or semi occluded vocal tract exercises. These are exercises
during which there is a partial closure or narrowing in the vocal tract. When you produce
sounds with an open mouth, without narrowing, the vocal cords have to resist the pressure
that is created below them. But if you create narrowing in the vocal tract, in the case
of straw exercises, the narrowing is at the lips, back pressure is created. This back
pressure above the vocal cords then encourages better vocal cord position and vocal cord
closure. Sounds complicated but it really is not.
If you push too much air through the vocal cords, two things can happen. The vocal cords
either cannot resist the pressure and they leak air, and you will sound breathy. Or the
vocal cords resist this pressure by tightening, which results in pressed phonation and vocal
strain. So, straw exercises are a great tool for singers who use either too much or too
little air when singing. So, what do you need for this exercise? A
straw or several straws of different widths. I would encourage you to use fully biodegradable
environment friendly straws made of paper, straw, or bamboo. Or you can also use reusable
straws made of metal, glass, or silicone. I also saw singers using bucatini pasta, which
is spaghetti like pasta with a hole running through the middle.
I, personally, use straws made out of actual straw and because they are completely natural,
they already come with different widths. If this is your first time doing straw exercises,
then experiment with different widths of straws. The smaller the diameter, the more challenging
task because the back pressure created by this thin straw will be larger. So, pause
this video and go and find yourself a straw. I’ll wait right here.
Good, you are back. Now, let me show you a very basic straw exercise. And if you stay
until the end, I will tell you where to get more exercises.
Put the straw in your mouth and make a good seal with your lips around the straw. Don’t
let the air escape through the nose or mouth. If you are not sure if air is escaping through
your nose, you can plug it and vocalize in this way. Use the vowel “ooo” when vocalizing
during straw exercises. This vowel will encourage neutral position of the larynx. Because the
sound with a straw will never be as loud as a sound with an open mouth, focus on the sensations.
Where do you feel the vibrations? Can you hear and feel the airflow through the straw?
How much air do you need? Can you feel the back pressure? How does it feel?
Now, inhale through the nose and then phonate through the mouth and straw. Choose a pitch
in your comfortable speaking range. Sustain the sound. Notice that you will be using much
less air than during vocal exercises with an open mouth. Put a hand in front of the
straw and feel the air coming out. If you don’t feel the air, you are cutting it off
at the level of the vocal cords. Also, make sure that the air is not escaping through
the nose, if it does, pinch your nose and sustain the sound like this. Try to make the sound as resonant as possible. Feel the vibrations in your lips, in your
soft palate, in the straw. This is a very basic exercise but you can use straws for
phonating any pitch, high or low, or for practicing scales and arpeggios. Or even for practicing
your repertoire, especially challenging parts of your songs. Now, if you want more straw
exercises, click this link to learn more. Straw phonation doesn’t sound like much
but believe me, it’s a wonderful tool used in speech therapy for strengthening fragile
voices and nowadays, straw exercises are becoming more and more popular among voice teachers
and singers for building healthy and strong voices. And the reason is simple: they really work.
And that is all for now. If you liked this video, click the like button, share it with
your friends and don’t forget to check out my other videos right here below. See you
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