Slaying Vocal Vampires: Tired Voice Edition - Part I

September 9, 2019

Let's cut to the chase. Audition season is here and we want our voices to be in top shape. So let's think about how we are using our voice outside of singing context. 


Are you a:

Fitness Instructor

Server or Bartender


Retail Sales person




If you answered YES to any of the above, you are probably using your voice very frequently. Our friends at Weill Cornell medical center use an awesome analogy about "vocal bucks". We all have a certain amount of vocal cash in our bank -- some activities use a lot of that cash -- let's call them vocal fatigue accelerators. Other activities do not use a lot of cash -- fatigue decelerators


So, what are you doing to stretch out your vocal cash?! How can we make our bucks go a little further? 


It would be nice to have an unlimited amount of vocal cash to spend, but we aren't in the business of playing the tuba for eight hours and throwing it in the closet when we're done with it (no shade to tuba players). As professional voice users, we carry our instrument around with us all day, so it needs special care. 


How we speak matters! Many of us performers have jobs that require sustained and loud volume of speech ( read: vocal fatigue accelerators). The question can we decelerate fatigue and crush those pesky vocal vampires that get in the way of our most clear and present voice for auditions and performances? 


At IVS, sometimes we teach long days where we are talking A LOT. So we rounded up our favorite activities (i.e. fatigue decelerators) that we help reclaim the free and clear voice:


1. Movement - this one is for the peeps who are standing around often...the cater waiters (literally waiting...),bartenders, Lulu Lemon salesfolk...


Some simple joint openers can go a long way to restoring clear voices. An open body is an open voice! My favs are:


Hoola Hoop Hips - throwback to the 90's with an imaginary hoola hoop. Hips get tight when we stand or sit for too long -- so find your imaginary hoop and get circling! 


Teapot Rib Tilts - Lean over to each side and smoothly move into a rag doll through to the front. This stretch targets some of the breathing muscles and is so good if you're feeling stagnant. 


Nose Drawing - Draw circles and figure 8's with your nose to help free your neck from head.


Do these simple exercises for a minute each, then check in with your voice. Open space for the winnn!


2. Straw Bubbles in Water - an easy and effective one to do if you are speaking frequently and/or loudly throughout the day... ::glances to fitness instructors and teachers::  


Straws are king for finding more ease of production and un-pressing your sound.


Try some simple pitch glides and unvoiced-voiced exercises on the same breath. Use the bubbles as a visual guide to tell you what the airflow is doing. Can you keep the bubbles the same height during the exercises?


Notice the lift and bright, magical sound post-straw!


Check in next week for Part 2 of our favorite things for slaying vocal vampires! 



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