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Give Your Voice a Break

Just like your body after a stressful workout, or your brain after an exhausting day of work, your voice needs a break too. Contrary to popular belief, complete vocal rest is not always recommended for healing the voice. More importantly is actively recovering the voice which is extremely beneficial, especially for individuals who rely heavily on their voice, such as singers, actors, teachers, and public speakers.

vocal rest and active recovery with Luke Steinhauer

What is active recovery?

Active recovery refers to a recovery process involving low-intensity exercise or activities that help facilitate muscle repair and reduce fatigue after intense physical activity. Unlike passive recovery, where rest is complete and inactivity is maintained, active recovery includes activities like sirening, stretching vocal structures, and SOVT exercises. These activities increase blood flow to the muscles, helping to remove metabolic waste products and deliver essential nutrients needed for muscle repair and recovery. This approach can lead to quicker recovery times, reduced soreness, and improved overall performance.


Siren for a Vocal Warm-up AND Cool-down

This beneficial vocal exercise involves gliding smoothly through the entire range of pitch from the lowest to the highest note and back down again. A vocal siren not only "warms up" the voice but also cools it down by reducing swelling at the level of the True Vocal Folds. A true Estill Voice Training® siren is soft, low impact, and a vocal fold stretch. Just as you would stretch before and after a physical work out, be sure to do the same for your vocal workouts.


SOVT Vocal Exercises

SOVT stands for Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract, which refers to exercises and techniques used in voice therapy and vocal training to improve vocal quality and efficiency. These exercises partially close the vocal tract, creating back pressure that helps balance the vocal folds' function and reduce strain on the voice. Common SOVT exercises include:

  1. Lip Trills: Blowing air through closed lips to create a vibrating sound.

  2. Tongue Trills: Similar to lip trills, but using the tongue to create the vibration.

  3. Straw Phonation: Phonating through a straw, which creates resistance and back pressure beneficial for vocal fold function.

SOVT straw phonation

When in Doubt, Vocal Fry

While you may not like the sound of this vocal option- it’s not hurting you! Millennials and Gen Z gets a bad reputation for talking with vocal fry. It's perceived as lazy, uninterested, and too quiet. If you consider what connects all of these traits, you realize that when a person produces this quality, they need to be fully relaxed. Vocal fry requires very little effort and encourages your vocal folds and surrounding muscles to let go and reset. “Fry” a little after a vocally taxing day and you’ll feel rejuvenated and refreshed.

 

About the author: Luke Steinhauer is a premier vocal coach, international voice consultant, and Estill Master Trainer, based in New York City. Luke is a graduate of The University of Michigan and an MBA Candidate at Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business, CUNY. @lukesteinhauervoice

 

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