Straw Phonation (Straw Singing)
Straw Phonation (singing through a straw) is a “SOVT,” or a Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract Exercise (a fancy way of saying that the mouth is partially closed).
When the mouth is partially closed, increased back pressure from a combination of airflow and sound vibrations bounces back to the vocal cords (because it has nowhere else to go, right?), and help the vocal cords vibrate more easily and effortlessly. There will be less impact and stress on the muscles surrounding the vocal mechanism, which will, in turn, allow the voice to stretch and phonate with ease. Use this as a warmup, a cool down, or a reset (3x a day for five minutes). It’s a great way to start and end your day, especially when you have been doing a lot of singing and/or speaking. How to do it:
Place one end of the straw in your mouth and create an airtight seal around it with your lips.
Sing an “oo” through the straw on a note that sits comfortably in your speaking voice.
Pinch your nose every so often to make sure no air is escaping through the nasal cavity.
Challenge yourself by using different-sized straw openings.
When to use Straw Singing: -if you’re experiencing breathy singing: it will help the vocal cords come together more cleanly and prevent less air from escaping -if you’re experiencing strained singing or vocal fatigue: it will help vocal cords vibrate without muscular tension, for a more effortless way to sing -if you struggle connecting your notes, or your notes sound “choppy:” singing slides through the straw encourages Legato (smooth and connected) singing -if you struggle with cracks or breaks in the voice during register shifts or otherwise: it will help the vocal cords line up more easily and efficiently, avoiding drastic shifts in the mechanism At this point, you are ready to vocalize with some simple exercises, so check out my video where we will: Warmup with slides, arpeggios, and scales Sing repertoire through the straw