10 Exercises for Your Vocal Health

Each person has a voice that is as unique as their fingerprints and it characterizes their mood, personality and health. The following exercises will help tune up your vocal folds and larynx and will produce the best results (if performed every morning and every evening) to keep your voice honey smooth.

Warmup Exercises

1. Before you begin on your vocal folds, first take a couple of minutes to stretch the upper part of your body, reach up with your arms. Next try and make your elbows meet behind you, then shake your hands as you hold them down by your side.

2. Roll your shoulders, first to the left then to the right, to a count of eight to ten. As you roll the shoulders keep extending the range of rotation to a comfortable level. The movement should be slow and easy.

3. Begin with your chin pointing straight down at your sternum, then making a sweeping motion, slowly roll your neck to the right and to the left (8 to 10 times). Imagine your neck to be a pendulum and let the chin roll to each side, stopping in the middle after each roll. Do it to a slow count of 5, while keeping your mouth slightly open.

4. Place a hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Then inhale deeply (10 deep breaths) into your lower abdomen. You will feel your stomach expand and your lower back fill with air. Both your neck and chest should remain flat. As you breathe in your stomach should expand and as you breathe out, your stomach should become flat. Breathing in and out should involve the muscles of the stomach without creating any tension to the muscles of the shoulder and chest. After the tenth inhalation, inhale through your nose or through pursed lips and exhale with 5 "S" sounds and focus on the vibrations on the roof or your mouth and on your tongue, while ensuring to keep your shoulders still.

5. Make exaggerated chewing motions with your mouth for 2 to 3 minutes without making any sound. Next chant or hum while continuing the chewing motion, letting your voice come out softly and easily.

6. After the first 5 warm up exercises with your body more relaxed, inhale counting in sequence - count one then breath in, count one, two and then breathe in and so on. Keep your mouth open as you count and support your breath with your abdomen. Inhale short and exhale long breaths as the sequence increases. If at any point you feel tension within you stop the exercises. The count may go to 10, 15, 20, etc.

7. The yawn-sigh exercise should be done slowly while paying attention to the quality of your voice, which should be at a low volume that is comfortable for you. Keep a glass of water by your side and when needed take a few sips. Next attempt an authentic yawn, lift your chin slightly, open your mouth wide enough to cause a stretch in your jaw, place a flat hand on your voice box in your neck and feel it go down as you yawn, pull your tongue down on to the floor of your mouth and inhale deeply. Exhale on a sigh of "ah", holding it to a count of 3 to 5 seconds, while keeping the quality of your voice soft and velvety.

8. The Fog Horn (10 times) - Inhale deeply into the lower abdomen, shape your lips in the form of an "O" and make the vowel sound of "oo", on a soft comfortable note and hold for 6 to 8 seconds. Allow your breath to puff out your relaxed facial cheeks and let the trickle of airflow through. While performing this exercise, you should be able to feel either your nose or lips vibrate, if you don't then try using a lower key.

9. The Pitch Slide (8 to 10 times) - Here the aim is to take the pitch of your voice from its lowest pitch to the highest note you can strike. In this exercise the sounds or words used are "Whoop" and "Boom". Use the sound Whoop, beginning on your lowest bass tone, making sure the sound that emerges is soft with plenty of breath support, ending the "p" sound on a "puh" (with emphasis). Reverse the exercise by beginning at your highest pitch and ending on a low bass note, using the word / sound "boom". While performing this exercise concentrate on the sound and the vibration of your lips. Ensure that your voice does not break at any point of time.

10. The Lip or Tongue Trill (10 times) - Relax your lips and your facial cheek muscles, then bring the lips together and project them out slightly, breath in deep into your abdomen, then making a "brrr" sound exhale. As you make the sound, your lips should be trilling.

A Note of Caution:

While performing these exercises do not take it on a level that is uncomfortable or strains your voice.


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