SOME BASIC TIPS for VOCAL HEALTH

These exercises are recommended for “Treble Makers” and also are excellent for all teachers. We teachers use our voices far more rigorously than most. Learning these simple guidelines will help you protect your voice as well.

The single most important thing you can do for your students vocal health is to start off any singing activity with vocal warm-ups.

These Warm-ups have 3 basic principles behind them:

1.      Good Posture

2.      Proper Breathing

3.      Be gentle with your voice and Warm-up before intensive use.
WARM-UPS

Good posture is very important if you want to get the best out of your voice. When you are going to sing, watch that your body is in a position of minimum tension and maximum flexibility with ears directly over shoulders, shoulders over your hips. Check your singing posture in front of a mirror.

GOOD POSTURE -Pretend that you are a puppet dangling on a single string attached to the top of your head.

Be conscious of how you breathe. Deep breathing is essential for safe, healthy, effective voice production. When you breathe in, aim to feel as if you take in air as low down in your body as possible without your shoulders having to rise. Allow tummy muscles to relax outwards as you breathe in.

PROPER BREATHING - Begin your singing with exercises that focus on proper breathing. Panting like a dog or holding hands on the diaphragm to feel it expanding outward while breathing in deeply are two such exercises.
After that it's time for a gentle vocal warm-up.

WARM-UP YOUR BODY- First, stretch your hands up and down, massage your face, lips, and throat to relax tension. Make a humming or an "m" sound gently up and down to start the vocal warm-up.

Then, sing a series of round open vowels such as "Me-May-Mah-Moe-Moo" on one note and then repeating moving up and down the scale.

Check breathing - relax your tummy muscles outwards as you take a breath in.

These exercises will insure properly warmed-up voices. You will be amazed how these simple exercises will make voices (including your own!) sound alive and free.

Other vocal health hints for you

Be sure you keep your vocal folds moist and well lubricated. You can do this by drinking plenty of liquids throughout the day.

Keep tea and coffee consumption to a minimum though, as the caffeine in these drinks dries out the vocal folds and can make the voice sound raspy and scratchy.

Take time to take a relaxed, deep breath when you need to before you start to sing or speak. It will make you feel calmer and more confident.

Don't talk after you stop singing during a rehearsal. It is also important for your health to give your voice a rest.

After speaking for a long time, warm-down by drinking some tepid water. Yawn and then breathe deeply. A yawn is a good exercise for improving your singing as well.

To nurse your voice through a cold or a throat infection, steam it - put some hot water in a basin, lean over it gently with a towel over your head and inhale the steam. Be careful not to scald yourself! For the best results, do this several times a day for approximately 10 minutes at a time.

Look after your voice. Don't strain it. Eliminate background noise before you try to speak loudly over it. If you have to project your voice, always use breath support.

DO NOT push your voice from the throat. When you speak, your navel should move towards your backbone. If this doesn't happen, you won't get the best from your voice and you may even damage your voice without realizing it.

 

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