SOVT, Vocal Development, and…Straws??

Hello everyone!

I recently had a student with an emergency situation: she woke up with no voice! This is a little girl (11) who might as well have been born on the stage — she sings all the time! And she had several performances coming up (thankfully she was not the lead in all of them). I frantically asked my colleagues for what would help and several of them recommended SOVT exercises. I had no idea what they were, but one of the kind vocal teachers did a video chat to show me her exercises. I will explain her exercise below, but please check out this website for further information on SOVT exercises. Even Renee Fleming says it changed her voice! (When I find a good article about her comments I will share.)

Essentially, SOVT is singing with a more closed mouth on an “oo” sound to reduce unnecessary pressure on the vocal cords. My colleague recommended getting either a hot cup of water or a steamer, then inhale the steam through the straw slowly. The steam actually touches your vocal cords, unlike simply drinking a warm drink, and is better able to clear out the vocal folds. After that, hum a comfortable pitch through the straw, imagining your voice goes to the end of the straw. Do this only up and down by a few half notes, on a sustained note each time (if the voice is fatigued).

I hope this will help you and excite you as much as it does me! I haven’t finished reading the article yet (have to go teach in about ten minutes!) but it seems like a useful tool for all singers!


About Lady Fair

Lady is a musician with a bachelor's degree in music education. She plays multiple instruments and has participated in numerous musical ensembles, giving her a wide variety of experiences and knowledge to use in her teaching career. Of her ensemble participation, she has fifteen years of band experience, nine years choral, and four years in orchestra. Éowyn's primary instrument is clarinet, with voice and piano being close secondary instruments. Throughout her musical education career she studied voice and clarinet simultaneously. In addition to clarinet, piano, and voice, she has also studied violin and oboe at the college level, and also plays recorder, tin whistle, and other instruments in the woodwind family. If you ask her, she will say, "I chose to major in music education because I have a desire to use my knowledge and experience in music to share its beauty and foster a love of music in the hearts of my students. I hope to encourage my students to try their hardest, feel like they have accomplished something, and give them a life long passion for music." Lady currently teaches private lessons on clarinet, sax, flute, oboe, piano, and voice, and recently gained a position teaching orchestra and chorus at a local middle school. She is also a member of the Once Upon a Dream woodwind ensembles.
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