Now you might be asking, how can these exercises help my speaking voice?
Firsly, these warms ups are not dissimilar to warming up for any physical activity. A warm up is designed to improve the blood flow to the muscles you will be using and stretch them out, which ultimately will assist in avoiding injury. And yes your vocal cords are highly susceptible to injury if not used correctly.
What I love about these warm ups though is that they help to connect the mind, the voice and the ears all together to create an awareness of what your voice is capable of. People start listening to the sounds they are creating in a completely new way. They hear differently. My clients are usually amazed when they discover the potential of their instrument once they start to tune it.
These voice exercises also improve your breathing technique which is the foundation of your voice.
50% of good speaking and singing comes down to effective breathing!
If your breath is shallow, or not supportive to your voice, you will try to compensate by using other muscles to increase volume or sustain sound. This will result in a feeling of exhaustion when you are speaking, fatigue, hoarseness or croakiness in the voice.
We are also expanding the vocal range with these exercises. Most people speak in a limited range of 3 or 4 notes. We call this monotone voice. These exercises open up the chest, middle and head voices which ultimately add more vocal variety to the speaking voice.
Lastly, vocal exercises enhance resonance and improve diction. Resonance is when the sound you create starts to amplify in the spaces above the larynx, in the mouth and in the mask. When you understand how to use these spaces to your advantage, you can enhance your vocal quality, making fuller, richer and more pleasing sounds.
Diction exercises will also help with resonance, clarity and pace.
If your still not convinced!
DID YOU KNOW THAT SINGING PUTS YOU IN A GOOD MOOD!
Singing releases endorphins and oxytocin. Both are hormones which give you feelings of euphoria and pleasure.
Whether I am working with a singing or speaking client, I always will do a vocal warm up at the start of session to stretch out the vocal cords, improve blood flow, reinforce good breathing and tune the instrument and ears. It’s incredible how these simple exercises can make you feel so good! It’s not a secret that singing reduces stress, improves your mood and makes you happier in your day. However, there are lots of physical, emotional, social and psychological benefits linked with singing that maybe you didn’t know about. Here are 10 of the best!
1. SINGING GIVES YOU FEELINGS OF EUPHORIA AND PLEASURE!
Singing releases endorphins and oxytocin. Endorphins are hormones that increase feelings of euphoria and pleasure. Oxytocin is also known as the “cuddle hormone” because it is released when people snuggle up or bond socially. It is known to decrease stress and anxiety. Both of these hormones can make you feel better in general and even decrease any pain you might be feeling!
2. SINGING IMPROVES COGNITION
Studies have shown that singers and musicians have higher cognitive processing. Those who learn or have learned an instrument have enhanced memory skills, higher attention spans and better communication skills than those who have not. It can even help to prevent the onset Alzheimer’s disease.
3. SINGING CAN LOWER YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
Several studies have shown that due to the calming and relaxing effects of singing,it can lower your blood pressure.
4. SINGING STRENGTHENS YOUR MUSCLES
When you sing with good vocal technique, you engage your core, your back, your intercostal muscles and even your pelvic floor. Your facial muscles will also get a work out when you sing as you open your mouth in different ways to produce clear, resonant tones and enunciate.
5. SINGING DEVELOPS YOUR BREATH CAPACITY AND IMPROVES YOUR POSTURE
When you sing, your naturally sit or stand up straight to create a good sound. Singing also improves your breath capacity and can assist Asmtha suffers by slowing down the cycle of panic which worsens asthma symptoms and by helping to get more oxygen to the lungs.
6. SINGING CONNECTS ACROSS CULTURES
Singing and music crosses all boundaries and cultures. It can help you feel connected to all of humanity. Those who sing or play an instrument have a better connection to other people’s thoughts and feelings.
7. SINGING STRENGTHENS SOCIAL BONDS
Singing with a band or in a choir or any sort of group with other people can be fun and bonding. Even just attending a concert, gives you an opportunity to share an experience with a group of people. There are many studies that have shown that singing in a choir can decrease depression.
8. SINGING BUILDS CONFIDENCE
Stage fright is a common feeling for any singer or anyone for that matter. However, when you perform well and receive praise from your friends, family or colleagues, you can eventually overcome your fear and improve your self-confidence. With time you might even find it easier to present anything in front of a group with good presentation skills.
9. SINGING INCREASES YOUR ABILITY TO APPRECIATE OTHER SINGERS
Sometimes you don’t know how hard something is until you try it yourself. Once you start to sing, you will have a great appreciation for other singers and their talents. You may also start to listen to a wider variety of music as your own musical capabilities grow and you try new songs.
10. SINGING CAN HELP FIGHT DISEASE
Singing can boost your immune system as it decreases your stress and anxiety levels. It has also been proven to be helpful in the treatment of Parkinson’s Diseaseand can assist in improving memory function to prevent Alzheimer’s.
A lot of you might live in apartments with thin walls and feel embarrassed about singing and especially practicing those vocal exercises comfortably where others can here you. I know many of you resort to practicing in the car.
Some of you, are regular travelers and need to find a place whilst on the road, where you can still exercise the voice without feeling inhibited…staying in hotels.
When on stage for a performance, this is the part of us that we are happy to show to the world. The finished product. But the preparation to get us ready to be there, where we might make mistakes, we are experimenting, learning, warming up, trying new material…that is commonly the side of singing and public speaking which is not a public affair. We need to find a place where we are comfortable to perform these tasks.
As a singer and speaker, and particularly, someone who is establishing new techniques, it is important to exercise the voice on a daily basis. Your voice coach will hopefully have given you exercises to improve your breathing, strengthen your vocal cords, improve your range, pitch and vocal stamina.
So can you get over the phobia of practising when other people might hear you?
Firstly, I say…don’t be shy to be warming up your voice. It’s part of the preparation and it’s what will make you sound awesome on stage, and in everyday life as well as a speaker. If your a singer or a public speaker and your your good enough to have a gig, anyone hearing your warmups will not be thinking…oMg what an awful singer next door. Quite the opposite. Be bold and do what you have to do. Invite your neighbours to your gigs, rehearsals or to hear your run through your presentation or keynote.
Same when you are in a hotel. Who cares…you will most likely not have to see these guests again.
As for practicing in your car. It’s not a bad idea. Posture is not the best. But if you feel you have more privacy here and will be more effective then, it’s better than nothing at all. I do however recommend that you pull over and practice for the 10-20mins on the side of the road. Singing and vocalisation exercises can take quite a lot of concentration and some people even find the breathing can make them feel dizzy, so driving at the same time is not recommended.
Reading out loud is a great way to warm up the voice and maintain good vocal skills. It’s a great way to develop your vocal control, expand your range and allow yourself the liberty of roleplaying the characters when storytelling.
Reading out loud will work your vocal endurance, clarity of speech, ability to sight-read, act and enjoy the whole experience.
As you read aloud, keep in mind you are a storyteller, so your reading should bring the story, or the scene you are describing, to life so the person listening, believes every word you say. Honesty and authenticity are also key.
When practising, playwith the characters in the books. Don’t read in your normal voice! Use a different voice to bring the character to life. Remember to be clear and specific with what you are saying. The meaning must not be lost because of your character choice.
How can this assist in my business discussions, meetings, presentations and speeches?
You will learn to use more melody and vocal variety. Your clarity of speech will improve. You will practise pacing and pausing in appropriate places. Your breathing will improve. You will learn to bring a story to life. This will, ultimately, help you to captivate and engage your audiences at all times.
It’s easy to admire those who are able to stand in front of an audience and give a peak performance without showing their nerves…whether it be an actor, a singer, speaker or someone giving a presentation.
You too, can reach this level of calm when you’re about to speak, sing or present. Even if you only have a few minutes to spare.
It’s quick and effective method to keep you focused.
Do you have a hard time being heard in meetings or discussions?
Maybe your voice is too soft, you lack confidence, you are nervous speaking in front of people. Perhaps you mumble or speak with a monotone.
You know you have valuable information to share with your colleagues, but for some reason, you find it hard to participate in discussions and express your viewpoints. Even when you do get a word in, you find others very quickly speak over you or barely notice you opened your mouth.
Your voice is not reflecting your position and is holding you back from future career development.
If this sounds like you, there IS a way to improve your vocal skills.
There are several different reasons as to why the above scenarios may be causing you grief.
When you are nervous, your throat gets tight and your voice doesn't come out sounding like YOU. It might be shaky, or hoarse, or barely audible. You might find you trip on your words. This causes embarrasement and you become so discouraged you don't even want to speak up any more. After a while, your colleagues, may even question your competence because you never voice your opinion.
A similar senario can occur with mumbling and monotone. If the voice is inaudible, not clear, or uninteresting to listen to, people will often shut out, or speak over the person who is speaking. Again this can cause feelings of frustration, discouragement and over time you will hold yourself back from speaking openly. This in turn can dramatically hold you back in your career and personal life.
If you feel your voice is holding you back from reaching your goals and turning your dreams into a reality, it's time you took the step to make a change. Learn to speak with a voice which communicates with confidence and reflects your skills and competence.
I would love to assist you to reach your goals.
In an initial 45 min assessment session we will discuss your weaknesses and your strengths and establish a plan for future development. You will leave the session knowing exactly the course of action needed to reach your goals.
As we mature into adulthood our voices become cultured and civilised, and we lose touch with our expressive natural capabilities. We hold back our ideas and feelings through anxiety, fear, cultural expectations and more. We forget the way we used to easily express our experiences and emotions as children. Over time, our voices become restrained and limited in potential.
But your voice is your greatest asset.
Hi, I'm Lisa Hugo. I am passionate about helping singers and speakers understand, discover and develop their instrument within. Their Voice.