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March 12th, 2017 | by Freya

5 Ways to Practice S.O.V.T Exercises

Semi-occluded vocal tract exercises have been enjoying a revival in voice training but what is
the best way to practice them?

To find out more about the benefits of S.O.V.T exercises, read these articles:

Reset Your Tired, Tense Voice and Why do SOVTs Work Wonders on the Voice?

1. A Straw, Popularized by Ingo Titze


Ingo Titze is a leading voice scientist who recommends that you find a small narrow straw
to hum through for 2-3 minutes, 2-3 times a day.

You should aim for a gentle vocal tone with minimal effort. Allow the vocal folds to naturally
thin or lighten as you ascend through your range. You dont want to force the voice.

This may feel and sound alien to those with big strong belty voices, so this may take a
while to master.

If your voice cracks, it may mean that you are pushing too much air, or that your vocal folds
are tired/dehydrated, or that your vocal folds simply need more muscle toning to adduct
efficiently.

As your skill level increases you can work towards using narrower straws.

2. Joseph Stemples Vocal Function Exercise CD


Stemple recommends these exercises twice a day. You are instructed to sing straight tones
and on sirens through your whole range on the word knoll.

Holding straight notes is the equivalent of yoga for the voice held positions will achieve a
deeper stretch, producing more muscle tone and flexibility.

Also, you get the chance to focus on your breathing because the exercises are endurance
based.
Puffing out your cheeks will help raise your soft palate and reduce nasality. You can test this
by pinching your nose throughout the exercises.

Learn more about Joseph Stemples exercises .

3. The Pocket Vox by Doctor Vox


This is a 2-in-1 easy to use accessory that enables you
to practice bubble blowing, then with a quick switch and
refill you can steam your voice too.

You must have a consistent but gentle air flow in order to


create a steady stream of bubbles in the water. Singers
with over or underactive respiratory habits will quickly
become aware of them.

Again, nasality is addressed because you will only


successfully blow bubbles if you are directing your voice
through your mouth.

Because of the visual aid, singers who tend to over-think


may be tricked into going with the flow (or bubbles!)
They may find that they allow the voice to work intuitively
without being tempted to over-work.
The Pocket Vox simply fit over
Read more about Doctor Voxs technology . a quarter full water bottle.

4. The NG Siren from The Estill Voice Model


You are instructed to position your tongue and soft palate as if you had just finished saying
the word sing: tongue high, in contact with the soft palate.

Then, glide through your whole range in this position with minimal vocal breaks. Aim for a
low but consistent volume.

This exercise is often described as a diagnostic tool because it reveals all of the register
breaks and inconsistencies your voice really has.

Once youve mastered the siren, you can perform a miren which is where you keep the
NG position at the back of your mouth but create the words at the front of your mouth. Its
a great way to practice repertoire without tiring your voice.

Find out more about the Estill siren on Tom Burkes blog .

5. Lip Bubble and Tongue Trill


Some people find it difficult to produce a tongue trill, but for those who can lip bubble, the
added benefits are relaxation of the facial muscles and a well-positioned jaw and/or tongue.
You may notice that as soon as you tense or start giggling, you are unable to maintain a lip
bubble or tongue trill. Total relaxation is required.

The rule of thumb with all of these S.O.V.T exercises is little and often, and gentle and
smooth. You are aiming for true efficiency of vocal fold closure and range flexibility.

Keep calm and semi-occlude!

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