These vocal exercises are intense. In my studio, I start them gradually so you don’t get frustrated. They are based on Bel Canto exercises that basically force your nonessential vocal muscles (that tend to get in the way) NOT to get involved so that your vocal cords come together at the same time. Now, vocal cords are supposed to come together at the same time…perfectly. If they (the cords) do not come together, for whatever reason, you may cough. Forming each pure vowel in the extreme, reteaches your cords to come together at the same time. It takes time, so be patient with yourself. You will begin to notice your singing and speaking voice getting more resonate and easier to produce.
Think of these exercises as going to the gym. In order to get stronger you do certain exercises that build muscle to help you run a race. The race is the song.
Please review the video for your mouth position
The mouth positions are EXTREMELY important. They inhibit nonessential vocal muscles from working so that you have the purest sound possible.
*Here is the basic process. (REVIEW OFTEN!)
1) While sitting erect in a chair with your shoulders back, and your chest comfortably high, slowly and silently breathe in fully through your mouth, and hesitate for a relaxed moment. (1)
2) While keeping your throat open in a yawn position, and without lowering your head, move your head back slightly and gently at the precise moment that you engage your practice vowel.
3) As you slowly and uniformly slide your voice up the scale, gradually begin moving your shoulders back retaining good posture and keeping your head straight.
4) Always begin your exercise in full voice, and then increase in volume– as much as possible- as you slowly slide your voice.
5) Be sure that you don’t lower or raise your head as you slide up the scale.
6) Always observe the correct mouth, jaw, and lip positions.
7) Always slide your voice with maximum volume, but without vibrato (only during the slide), and at a slow and uniform speed, until you reach the intended note.
8) Return down the scale in the same manner: slide your voice slowly, increasing in volume, as much as possible, and without vibrato, but with a constant and uniform speed until you reach the first note on which you began.
9) Permit your vibrato to occur only at the bottom and top of the scale (don’t be concerned if your voice does not have a noticeable vibrato).
10) Do not permit your shoulders or chest to drop while voice building.
11) Stay relaxed when your shoulders are moving back in the chair and when you return down the scale.
12) Keep your shoulder at the back of the chair when you are returning down the scale.
*From A Revolution in Singing by Gary Catona
(1) I eliminated “chest and shoulders raised comfortably high” so that you don’t confuse “shoulders raised” with ‘shoulder to ears.’ Catona means that your don’t “droop” your shoulders forward. Do this: Droop your shoulders forward, roll your shoulders forward, up, around and back. As your shoulders go back and down elongate your spine and aligning your head to where your ears are right above your shoulders.
Female Lower Exercises:
Female Upper Exercises:
If you have any issues, document them, and we will talk about them in class. REMEMBER: These exercises are NOT meant to sounds pretty. In fact, if they do (sound pretty)…you’re doing them wrong. These are raw sounds. They are meant to allow your vocal cords to come together perfectly.
Here are some unusual things you may experience (again from Catona’s book):
1) Building your voice frequently feels vocally effortful.
2) Your tongue may block the back of your throat and produce gagging-like sounds, sensations, and reflexes.
3) You may feel tickling, or a mild scratchy feeling, in your throat.
4) Throat tickling may produce coughing and watering eyes.
5) You may feel your throat muscles stretching and adjusting.
6) Your voice may feel vocally fatigued and “scratchy” after a session.
7) You may feel a slight sore throat after the first few sessions.
8) You may lose breath during vocal exercising.
9) You may feel tenderness in your neck after the first few sessions.
10) Your jaw muscles may become fatigued.
11) Your speaking voice may drop in pitch and increase in resonance.