Vowel Tract Exercises

Vowel Tract Exercises

Spend some time playing with the shape of the vocal tract to help your students understand how small changes in tongue, lip and jaw position change the quality of the sound.

For example, have the student sustain an [ae] vowel as in “hat” on a comfortable pitch and stick their tongue out of their mouth, then slowly pull the tongue back in until it bunches up in the back. Then change the mouth shape while sustaining the vowel, spread the lips wide then narrow them, open the mouth as far as it will go and gradually close it.

These simple exercises demonstrates the infinite variations of vowel sounds and how the quality and ease of the tone is changed by subtle adjustments to the shape of the vocal tract. For a detailed analysis of all the different ways the vocal tract can be adjusted see https://www.voicescienceworks.org/vocal-tract.html by IVTOM Conference Presenters Laurel Irene and David Harris.

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