Vocal Warm Up Exercises – Singing Through A Straw!

May 2nd, 2014 | Author:

The Vocal Tract
There are a group of vocal warm up exercises that have been around for hundreds of years that are still widely used by singing teachers, voice coaches, and vocal health practitioners today because they do such a great job in preparing the voice for effective singing. One of these exercises includes vocalizing and singing through a straw!  

Believe or not, adding the use of a straw to your vocal warm up routine could be one of the best things you could do for your singing voice.


Using Straws In Vocal Training 

Vocal straw exercises fall into a category of vocal exercises known as “semi-occluded vocal tract exercises” (SOVTEs). Essentially SOVTEs are vocal exercises that involve producing sound through a narrow (semi-occluded) vocal tract. And these exercises provide some pretty cool benefits for singers.

Incase your wondering, the vocal tract is the group of cavities above your larynx (voice box) where air passes during the production of sound. That cool animated image above clearly demonstrates the vocal tract in use.

Some of the other more commonly used SOVTEs that you may be more familiar with include:

* Lip Trills (lip bubbling or raspberries)

* Tongue Trills (the rolled “R” or “BRRR” sound)

* Voiced Consonants (“V ”as in van; “Z” as zip; “TH” as in they; etc..)

* Humming (on “MM” or “NG”)


How To Incorporate A Straw Into Your Singing Practice

Below is a video presented by one of the world’s leading voice scientists Dr. Ingo R. Titze. He is well know for his documented scientific research into the benefits of using a straw for the development and rehabilitation of the voice. He gives a great demonstration in this video of simple ways you can implement the use of a straw into your vocal practice routine.



Other Vocal Straw Exercises

Some people find they get great results by practicing with a straw placed in a into a bottle or tall glass of water that’s about 75% full. The bubbling water acts as a clear visual representation of how consistently and steady you are able to keep the flow of air whilst doing the exercises. Once you get the hang of this with a completely relaxed throat on a sound like “UH” in a comfortable part of your speaking range you can progress into more advanced exercises that include things like sirening through your low and high registers, arpeggios and vocalizing songs etc.


So Why Would You Vocalize Through A Straw?

Vocalizing or singing through a straw can be a very quick and effective way to reset and free your voice. It’s a great way to activate an open throat and upper facial resonance without any strain on the voice. At the same time it will increase circulation to the vocal folds and giving them a good stretch which is a great thing to do if you’re wanting to relive a tired or fatigued voice where the vocal folds are inflamed or swollen from overuse.

You’ll also notice that vocal straw exercises do a great job in engaging the abdominal muscles which are essential for the production of big vocal sounds. In fact, many people also claim to make dramatic improvements in their ability to sing higher when they incorporate the use of a straw into their practice routine.

As you can see vocal straw exercises can do so much more than just warm up your voice for singing. Try some out, i think you’ll be amazed at how effective they can be.

Feel free to share your experience with how they work for you.

Enjoy! 🙂


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