Thursday, July 21, 2016

Some Healing Help for the Voice


All of our voices matter. And time spent caring for our voices is time very well spent!

Often we don't even give our voices or vocal cords much (if any) thought -- until something happens and our vocal cords become inflamed or in some way damaged or strained. If we've ever had laryngitis, we KNOW how difficult it is to be without a voice, even for a short time.

 And how often do we use our voices just for pure pleasure and fun??

Here is a chance to have some fun with our voices and to help them heal and become stronger at the same time. What could be better?

By the way, these exercises are great for singers, for people who use their voices a lot such as teachers, speakers, actors etc. And I do believe that under use of the voice (as in people who have been silenced or vocally shut down in any way) is as damaging as overuse of the voice. 

Semi Occluded Vocal Tract Exercises

Exercise Number One: The Straw Exercise

We begin with a straw  Pick any colour you want!!!

I've recently come across a very exciting (to me anyway!!) series of vocal exercises called "Semi Occluded Vocal Tract Exercises". Despite the somewhat complex name, these exercises are actually very simple and fun to perform. And they are not very loud -- a definite bonus for those of us who do our vocal exercises in our (possibly not very sound proof) apartments.

From what I understand about these exercises, they are very healing and helpful in the case of voices that have been overused and are overtired from singing or excessive speaking.  I am also discovering,  from my own practise of them and from sharing them with others, that they are extremely helpful also to those of us who have "underused" our voices or had our voices somehow shut down from a young age.  If we are shy or fearful about speaking our truth, or we grew up in the era of "children should be seen and not heard", holding back our voices can create as much or more tension in the vocal cords and throat as overusing the voice. These exercises really help to relax the tension in the throat and vocal cords, as well as strengthening and creating flexibility in the cords and in the voice.

Semi occluded vocal tract exercises work by keeping most of the breath and vocal vibration moving through the body (as opposed to projecting it out into the environment as we mostly tend to do with our voices.

I am going to let the expert, Dr. Titze, who created this first "straw exercise" explain and demonstrate. Click on the link here:    Dr. Titze -- Straw Exercise

The Second Exercise --  THE LIP BUBBLE  

This exercise is also known as the Lip Trill. I just love this exercise -- it is so much fun and feels really great -- energizing, refreshing, vitalizing. It leaves my lips, tongue and whole mouth area feeling light and tingly. It can also get me into higher notes and lower notes than I could normally get into doing regular scales or singing. Initially it can take some time to build up stamina -- the lips may tire easily at first. But it is so worth sticking to and once you've got it, doing scales or even lip bubbling" a song can be a great exercise.

Check out this great lip bubble video.  The Lip Bubble  The bonus here is also some important tips on breathing.

For a little more detail and some important guidelines on doing the lip bubble correctly, check out this link. Lip Bubble Instruction  To get an easier and more correct sound and vibration, it is important to bring the fingers to the cheeks, at the level of the lips (as he demonstrates) and to gently lift the weight of the cheeks up (which he doesn't mention).

If you try these exercises, let me know how it goes.

And remember to love and care for that beautiful voice of yours!!



  1. I don’t waste my free time that’s why I read the informative things when I got this blog I really enjoyed reading this. singing exercises for dummies

    1. Thank you for all of your previous comments and also for all the links you have sent me. I appreciate your great feedback.