Vocal Cord Closure Exercises: Straw Exercises

Vocal Cord Closure Exercises: Straw Exercises

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


  • Katarina H. says:

    Hi and thank you for watching. Have you ever heard about straw exercises? Let me know in the comments below.

  • Dini Vino says:

    Never heard of it! Beautiful arpeggios!! What a helpful technique to learn about.

  • Lindsey Hazel says:

    WHAAATTTT?? Who knew a straw could be so useful for singing!! I loved this one so much, Katarina. I loved that you like to use natural straws!

  • Ian Corzine says:

    Wow! This was really cool. Had never seen this before! Great one K!

  • Simply Natalie says:

    Drink raw egg whites before singing, it helps. thanks for your amazing tips dear…

  • M贸nica Le贸n says:

    Amazing. Thank you

  • Brittany Clow says:

    this one is crazy! never knew it!

  • Pregnancy and Postpartum TV says:

    Yes! Sounds good 馃檶

  • The Restart Specialist says:

    The lats time we used straws was for my son when he was seeing a speech therapist to help strengthen the muscles around his jaw. This is a great video and I had no idea you could do this

  • Pregnancy and Postpartum TV says:

    So many benefits! Yes… seems a little
    complicated, but you explained it very clearly! I have some silicone straws 馃檶

  • Jill W. Fox says:

    This was so interesting. I had no idea that straws were used as singing tools! 馃檪

  • 50something Original says:

    I had never heard of straw exercises. Thank you for this valuable information!

  • Victoria Lioznyansky says:

    Hi Katarina, what's the difference between your two courses "The Power of Breathing: Exercises for Singing Success" and "Breathing Academy for Singers". Was going to purchase one, but not sure which one is more appropriate for my 12-year old son. Thanks 馃檪

  • Pauline Newman says:

    I鈥檝e never heard of this Katarina. I鈥檒l be sure to check on Amazon for these straws you talk about. I was doing the exercises in my water bottle…馃ぃ

  • Abbi Winslow says:

    What a cool exercise! I've never tried it but will have to!

  • Adriana Girdler says:

    Straw exercises are a great idea. I'm going to give it a try! Cheers!

  • Completely Karin says:

    I have never heard of straw exercises before. What a smart way to teach you how to strengthen your vocal cords.

  • Heather Gerhardt says:

    I had not heard of this! Always learning something new from you!

  • Wild Woman Enchanted says:

    Yes.. I have heard of straw exercises. We did these in music school.. .:) … and on another video you did too! 馃檪 Cool to hear you plug your nose and unplug your nose and hear the difference … and very cool with arpeggios… I have to find a straw and try that! I bet it's great in speech therapy. Great video. loved this video! as always… ~Elizabeth

  • Tina Hughes says:

    this could be useful for wind instrument players

  • janet jaye says:

    Too much talking….馃檮馃弮馃徑鈥嶁檧锔忦煆凁煆解嶁檧锔忦煓

  • priyadarshini swain says:

    I m a speech language pathologist and i read about these techniques.

  • priyadarshini swain says:

    Are u a speech therapist?

  • m26498130 says:

    Hi Katarina, ideally i should not raise my larynx when doing straw phonation, is that correct? Thank you- Viktor

  • Chelsea says:

    Hi there, I have bilateral vocal cord paresis. Currently I cannot hum while plugging my nose because the gap between both cords is too large. Are there other exercises I could do to improve vocal cord closure?

  • naz araghi says:

    Thank you so much 鈾ワ笍鈾ワ笍鈾ワ笍

  • sudhir kumar says:

    Dear Madam …I am facing phontory gap problem from long time ….I am 31 year old and have taken speech therapist but not so much changes …..plz tell me some effective exercise for it . Thanks

  • Mohamed Amin says:

    Please can u give me yr whatssapp ? I wanna send u my symptoms to tell me what should i do

  • Ali sultan says:

    賰賷賮 丕噩毓賱 氐賵鬲賷 賲孬賱 丕賱賲毓賱賯賷賳 丕賱氐賵鬲賷賳責

  • antony bristow says:

    katarina….thank you so much for your clear teaching on the straw exercise.this has helped me take a huge leap in my voice abilities…also you are one very beautiful lady.

  • Surviving Childhood says:

    Can you help for helping control air and breathing when playing a Romanian Pan Flute ? Or wind instruments?

  • Bamberrydude says:

    I understand that these are exercises that encourage proper positioning of the vocal cords by causing back pressure, etc, but how does that translate to permanent results? Do these exercises just teach the vocal cords how to maintain their position or do the exercises actually strengthen these little muscles? I ask because read that overuse of the vocal cords is what causes them to become weak so wouldn't exercises weaken them even more? I thought that resting a muscle should always follow overuse.

  • Aditya Raj says:

    How many days it takes to thicken/Strengthen my vocal cords for Permanent time?This exercise is great,I can feel the thickness in voice just after practicing this exercise,But after some time,the thickness return back to normal. How can I sustain that Thickness for permanent time?

  • Bijin Domigo says:

    Ma鈥檃m how about vocal cord nodule?


    Your voice and phonation is very clear…

  • Don Kaala says:

    I have hoarse or raspy voice…. Can this technique is helpfull to reduce that?

  • Rockstar 1996 says:

    Hi, thank you for the video, does the straw technique help with whistle register ??

  • Dipika Gurung says:

    Is this exercise helpful for vocal cord paralysis? Please reply鉂わ笍

  • Carmen Mar铆a Gonzalez says:

    I used to sing constantly. However, after a crisis of asthmatic bronchitis with laryngitis I sang less and less, until I had not been singing for many years. Now I want to sing again and I feel that my vocal cords are very hurt, as if they had lost elasticity, and I can't control the air. Even when speaking, the voice is very airy. Can this exercise help me recover my voice?
    I visited the otolaryngologist and he says that my vocal cords are fine. Still, all the time I feel that there is something in my throat when swallowing. When I try to sing I feel that my voice does not come out. I love to sing and I want to recover my voice.

  • wendyannh says:

    I'm so glad I found your channel! I just started voice therapy, including straw exercises, but the therapist didn't really explain why they work and I didn't think to ask. It's wonderful to have the explanation, so thank you! I've subscribed and will soon watch your other videos.

  • Angela Minnefield says:

    Will this help me when I run. I have VCD and I cannot breathe when I run

  • Seth Brolsma says:

    You have such a nice to e to your voice. Very sweet.

  • Abdullah Shah says:

    Hi. Can you train my voice

  • Gautam Ganesh says:

    Hello Katarina, Very well explained.
    I dont have a deep voice. Therefore when I speak in an external environment, sometimes its inaudible and then I have to repeat myself loudly(in the process stressing my cords)
    Will this exercise help make my voice go deeper and/or stronger?

  • finsha niyas says:

    Is this helpful for patients with sulcus vocals?

  • Robert Adamovski says:

    Dear Katarina,
    I sometimes feel different vibration and power in the vocal cords.At one time my left vocal cord feels stronger or the only one that works,and the other time the other vocal cord.Is this normal ?
    How can i make them to sound the same or even?

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