Connect your voice by disconnecting the parts of your vocal tract first and then put them together again!

Weekly Teaching Tip – Aug. 1, 2016
by Sissy Handler

Many of our students have voice problems or can’t achieve what they want easily, because of their habits and “used to” feelings and sensations. We all know that for some students it is extremely hard to drop the jaw, to actively navigate the tongue, to use the lips, etc.

So the first step for them might be to try to feel these parts, then do exercises that activate and navigate them, like:

1) Lips: bubbles, kisslips, momomom, b b b b, p p p p,…
2) Tongue: Stretch out tongue to all directions, get awareness of length and flexibility and the root of the tongue and the back part. Add words that make the tongue move like: Yeah!, Yeehaaa! Oioioioioi, Aiaiaiaia, etc.
3) Jaw: Open and close the mouth, drop the jaw actively, stretch and massage the tense cheek muscles in order to relax. For some stundents it is helpful to intensify the tensions first and the let it loose. Many students are able to open up better if you tell them to feel their lower front teeth opening up, wanting down. They use them when eating every day, so they have more attention and awareness of their teeth than the jaw. Then add words like: Wowowow! etc.

Do it with a mirror first and then without a mirror to see if they can do the same thing only by feeling it.

Most of the students find it the hardest thing to seperate the movement of the tongue from the movement of the jaw. So if the tongue needs to go up in order to do work on the hard palate (e.g. “ee”) the jaw wants to jump up and close the mouth more. And the other way round the same thing happens. Drop the jaw for an “O” for example, the tongue refuses to go up if needed for an “ay” for example. So give them exercises to disconnect and let each part do their “jobs” perfectly and then put them together again with new awareness and feeling what the tongue, the jaw and the lips as well should do.

Activating and then coorinating all 3 together:

like a ruminant animal – chewing of a cow
mijöm, nija, sijo

b d g, p t k, b d g, p t k

Take whatever exercises are helpful for this student! Do it slow enough that he can feel it!

When doing these exercises always make sure:
The air can come through and there is no unwanted tension or pressure!!!
1st aid kit:
Whenever there is too much tension or pressure: make them jawn, sigh and do an airy soft glissando exercise.

Always keep in mind that they don’t notice when they change it again. They don’t do it intentionally and simply need our continuous reminders. 😉


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