Semi-Occluded Straw Follow Up

Weekly Teaching Tip – October 29, 2012

Question: This semi-occluded straw technique is what Rocio Guitard told us about during her online seminar, but she didn’t have the straw so she showed it with almost-closed lip. I use it very often to show my students different sorts of “double resistors” – lip bubble, the slovenian “zzz”, as well as “rrr”. Aren’t they almost the same?

Answer: Yes, the ‘semi-occluded straw technique’ provides the same result as double resistors that many of us often use. Double resistors are a really great way to quickly help singers find the balance between air flow and muscle. The double resistor or ‘occlusion’ helps to hold air back so that there is not so much air blast for the vocal folds to try and hold back. This way the vocal folds can more easily find the proper coordination to get the pitches without trying to hold back a lot of air.

If you need it, there is actually one ‘triple resistor’. The singer does the tongue roll with almost closed lips. This really holds back the air and pretty much any singer can find the release and connection this way no matter how hard they usually try and force their voice.

I personally don’t ever use the straw because I find enough success just using the other double resistors already mentioned, but it can be another valuable tool that can help people.One word of caution about the straw usage. I don’t recommend using the really small straws such as coffee straws becuase it holds too much air back and creates too much pressure. It is like ‘support’. There will be some tightening of the abdominal muscles when singing properly, but if we focus on this we begin to create too much abdominal pressure which becomes counter productive.

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