Key Vocal Function and Strength Building Exercises

Vocal function exercises can help rehabilitate, redevelop, and strengthen vocal capacity for both beginners and advanced vocalists. They are especially useful for "vocal underdoers" - those with a history of vocal neglect and underuse.

In this article, we explore the key vocal function and strength building exercises.


Identifying Vocal Underdoers

Some signs that you may be a vocal underdoer:

  • Speak less than an hour a day
  • The voice feels quiet, weak, or hushed
  • Difficulty with basic vocal functions
  • Shy, socially withdrawn personality
  • Isolating hobbies and passions
  • I grew up in a very quiet household
  • Period of not using voice at all

Vocal underuse can make it harder to control aspects of your voice. Practicing talking louder can help underdoers gain vocal proficiency.


4 Key Exercises for Vocal Function

There are 4 main concepts to focus on:


1. Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract Exercises

Also called "softies", these partially block the vocal tract to cushion vocal folds. Examples:

  • Lip trills
  • Tongue trills
  • "Ng" sound
  • Straw in water (strongest occlusion)

Benefits: vocal health, rehabilitation, stimulates blood flow, great for underusers and warmups.


2. Loudness Control and Projection

Misjudging loudness is common for underdoers. Practice talking loudly, as if lecturing or speaking to a crowd.

For intermediates: explore shifting loudness at same or different pitches. Famous exercise is "messa di voce" - crescendo and decrescendo on one pitch.


3. Pitch Control

Use pitch sirens and wobbles to exercise full vocal range. Underdoers often have small ranges. Combine with softies.


4. Stable, Sustained Sound

Always strive for steady, smooth sounds. Sustain sounds 10-20 seconds without fluttering or wobbling. Increase duration and stability.


Sample Routine

Do combinations of these exercises 2-5 times per day, 3-5 minutes each. Listen to your body, don't overexert. This will strengthen your voice and reduce atrophy from underuse.

For advanced vocalists, use as warmups to improve vocal sound production. Focus on basics to go deeper.

Key Vocal Function and Strength Building Exercises: Conclusion

In conclusion, vocal function exercises are essential for rehabilitating, redeveloping, and strengthening vocal capacity for both beginners and advanced vocalists, especially for those with a history of vocal neglect and underuse. Identifying vocal underdoers is crucial to determine if you need to focus on specific exercises. 

The four key exercises for vocal function include semi-occluded vocal tract exercises, loudness control and projection, pitch control, and stable, sustained sound. Practicing these exercises regularly can help improve vocal health, rehabilitation, and stimulate blood flow. 

For advanced vocalists, these exercises can serve as warm-ups to improve vocal sound production. It's important to listen to your body and not overexert during the exercise routine.