Episode Five, Warm-Ups Part Four
Hydration, Tongue release, and adding voice to breath with SOVTs
In this episode we’ll dip into hydration, release the tongue some more and add voice to breath with SOVT exercises.
With ALL of the suggestions in this podcast, only do what feels good to you!
Here are the links I mention in this episode
A Messy Transcript
Hello, and welcome to episode five warm-ups part four,
do you have a big glass of water with you? If you don’t have a big glass of water, grab one, you can pause this, go grab one. Um, I haven’t talked about hydration yet. Not really, which is a massive mistake on my part because that really should have been the first thing I talked about.
So in order to really fully juice up your vocal folds, you need to be drinking kind of all the time. Right. And it can take 24 hours to get them nice and juicy. So if you think you’re gonna go into a recording session or do a big gig and it’s okay to just glug a couple of pints before you go on that, that’s not gonna work.
What you need to do is be in the habit of hydrating all the time, and that could be room temperature, water. Tea, uh, juices, juicy fruits and vegetables, crunchy things. It’s not just plain water all the time. It can be other things, right. But drink what feels good and drink all the time. Okay. So that’s the first thing, drinking water all the time.
Um, When I’m talking to my voice students about building this as a habit, I say, let’s do this thing called habit stacking, which I learned from James clear, his fabulous book called atomic habits. And what you do is you add a new habit that you want to build, like warming up or drinking more water to a habit that you’re already doing.
That’s. Just locked in and is a no brainer. So for me, it’s putting the kettle on for a cup of tea in the morning for you. It might be getting the coffee to perk or having a cup of tea, also, whatever it is, um, while that water is boiling or the coffee is brewing, get yourself a great big pint of water then, and just drink it while you’re waiting for that to happen.
So you just incorporate that into the thing that you’re already doing. So that’s my top tip for getting yourself hydrated. Once you remember how delicious water is, cuz it really is delicious. you might be more inclined to drink it through the day. Another thing I really like to suggest is, uh, in the states anyway, especially here in California where it’s hot, uh, our water all comes out of a filtered thing on the fridge. For most of us. And so it’s freezing cold and I don’t like to drink freezing cold water. So I get a picture, um, and fill it with water at the beginning of the day.
And then I, it cools to kind of room temperature. Well, I should say it warms to room temperature, and then I drink that. And once I know I’ve drunk, that big picture, um, I’m in, I’m in good shape, but I’ll often fill it again because honestly I drink a lot of water. You can pick up a funky glass colored picture from a thrift store or, or somewhere on sale or whatever, like spend a fortune on something crystal and shiny, whatever works for you.
Uh, but drink lots of water. Okay. So let’s go back to the tongue. Uh, we’re just gonna go and revisit an exercise that we did last week. Where you stick your tongue out and touch your nose and touch your chin. Except this time with the slightly advanced level is that we’re going to count to 10 in your mind as you do it.
So stick your tongue all the way out and then touch your nose. And I want you to, in your mind, count to 10. Okay. Ready? So stick your tongue out. No.
Mm. Mm mm, good. And let’s do the same thing. Sticking your tongue all the way out and touching your chin and counting to 10, uh, uh, her, her,
uh, uh, Eh, now, when you do that for an extended time, you’ll start to feel where there might be tension in the tongue root or in your jaw. So for me, when I stick my tongue out and touch my chin, eh, I can really feel it in the tongue root. So if you’re like me and you feel it there, what you can do is this lovely exercise that I learned from my osteopath slide, your finger behind your gums.
And just gently of the bottom teeth and just gently massage around the base of the gum, which is kind of gonna release the tongue root a little bit there. So stick it. And again, this is a little tricky for radio, but, um, stick your finger in, uh and just gently massage the base of the gum on that bottom so you’re around the tongue root. So obviously behind your teeth, uh, uh, uh, and if you feel tender spots, don’t press hard or do anything strange, just be gentle. Okay. Just wiggle your finger around where it wants to go. Uh,
Take as long as you need, uh, apologies for all that lip smacking going on here and just really like wiggle your finger around. So you can just feel where there might be any tension and that kind of helps your tongue root to release a little bit more. So why don’t you try now sticking your tongue out again and touching the chin and holding it for a few seconds and seeing if that tension is still there.
So it out that. That’s a lot better. You can also try making sure that your tongue is relaxed and not holding tension itself. And when you stick your tongue out and touch the nose, are you finding tension at there anywhere? So stick it out again. Mm-hmm can you release your jaw a little bit more? Yeah, good.
These are all good things. Okay. And the last thing I want you to try is tongue curls, where you stick the tip of your tongue behind your bottom front teeth, and then let your, uh, the body of your tongue kind of bunch forward and kind of pulse forward, like some weird sea creature. So try that. So say, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, watch your posture, make sure you’re not sticking your chin up.
Mm, uh, don’t clench your butt. Uh, uh, uh, good. Okay. So there’s a few more things you can try for the tongue. Lovely. So as promised last week, I said, okay, it’s time for us to start adding voice to some of these warmups. So rugby belly, again, let your belly, uh, remember that we haven’t forgotten it. Making sure that when you’re ticking, your breaths in your shoulders are nice and relaxed.
Your knees are soft, your butt is released and your posture is good. So my shoulders are just dropping away from my ears. The crown on my head is reaching up towards the ceiling. We’re gonna do something. Uh, I, uh, I call capturing gum. So I’m gonna be waking up the resonators whilst also stretching the muscles of my face.
And I don’t wanna take my jaw side to side as much as I do up and down. Imagine you’ve got a clay face mask on and it’s all cracking. It’s ready to crack. Um, I want you to kind of stretch your face to get it off at the same time as making a kind of a cat noise. So it’s kind of like a cat chewing gum, right?
So it goes like this. Meow meow… You’re going all over your range, right? meow Like that, this is one of the exercises that’s in that free five minute warmup. If you haven’t grabbed that yet, go and grab that www.yourfreevoice.com/resources. You’ll find it there. And then, uh, lip trills or bubbles, bubble roller coasters.
So if you prop your cheeks up with your fingers, it just takes the pressure off the lips, and just do a first of all. Sometimes this can be really hard cuz we have a lot of tension around the lip, so,
and when it gets a little bit easier, take a nice big breath into your belly and then bubble roller coaster with those, uh, lip trails. So I take a big breath in.
Like that you got it. And I’m trying to keep the larynx nice and low. So I do that by kind of having this slightly yawny quality to my voice, or a little bit like, uh, count Dracula kind of thing, like one vocal exercise like that. So have it in there in the background. And then I’ll talk more about, uh, laryngeal placement later, but that’s just an idea for bubbles. And the last one I’m gonna show you. Something called fuzzy vs. So if the bubbling is really hard, you can either hum. Like an active humm, not a Julie Andrews humm. So if it was a Julie Andrews, hum. It would be like,
I don’t want that so much as I want. Mm. That kind of, Ooh, that’s delicious. So
like that kind of hum something. So it’s really buzzy in my face. So hum. Or you can do something called fuzzy vs. Where you just go to say the word, very see where you are, uh, making that V sound and just go,
oh, I said tickly. Why? It’s very tickly. Mm. That one’s great. So all of those are bubbles, the humming and the V. They’re all something called semi occluded vocal tract exercises. So, so VTS. So if you’re on other forums and you see, so V T or another podcast, that’s what they’re talking about. Semi occluded vocal tract exercises.
So, and what it means is semi occluded means not completely open. Right. So with this and with this, and with this, all these things, your mouth isn’t open. As soon as we open the mouth to create valves, we start interfering with the position of the larynx. So it’s a great way to warm up knowing that you’re not gonna injure yourself.
So if you’re in the car, And you’re not, you’ve not warmed up, but you want to sing along with something. You could just start off by hammering along to it or bubbling along. Right. What was that? I just sang anyway. Mm-hmm oh, that was amazing. Grace. Okay, good. brain. All right. So. Um, the next thing I’m going to, this is I’m kind of going really fast today.
I tell you why it’s cuz my lovely cleaning lady’s coming and she’s gonna get the vacuum cleaner out in a minute and make a whole bunch of racket in my house. So I’m having to kind of hurry. So apologies for that. Um, Here’s the thing and yes, I feel very lucky to have a cleaning lady that comes and vacuums.
She’s lovely. Um, right. So in this episode, we’ve talked about hydration, the importance of that, how it’s not just water, you can get it from other things too. Your fruits and vegetables. We did a little bit more with tongue release. And I think with all the tongue exercises that we’re doing, uh, you can go back and visit the ones from last week, too.
Just checking all the time to see if there’s any tension, anywhere, extra that you can let go of then adding voice with occluded vocal tract exercises. So with the bubbles and the humming and the fuzzy vs. Um, and when you are starting doing any kind of, I like to think of them as roller coasters. I used to be terrified of rollercoaster.
I have to say the first rollercoaster I did was at Disney world when my son was maybe six, almost six. So that would’ve made me 36, that would’ve made me 39. math. Um, I’d been 39. I did my first roller coaster, which was Goofy’s barn Stormer. Which if any of you have been to Disney world in Florida know that it’s a baby roller coaster, right?
It has one loop that just gently kind of goes up and down and oh my God, I was terrified going on. And I really screamed. And my knees shook when I came off, like. Like physical stuff like that. Like Hills sliding down things. I, I have a lot of fear, but I decided that I was going to go on with my son and be all brave because he was excited.
I didn’t want him to be afraid. Like I was. So when I’m talking about rollering and I’m much better now, by the way, I could tell you about roller coasters and my experience and life and how much it’s helped me grow. But I won’t go into that right now. Maybe another time on one of the woo episodes. But for right now, when I talk about rollering, your voice, I want you to always start on Goofy’s barnstormer right on a little tiny like that, right?
Ooh, maybe, um, You can think about it. It was an engine starting, right. But I think little rollercoaster and then get bigger. So you’re always starting somewhere in the middle of your voice, and then you get a bit more adventurous
to, um, ultimately going through your whole range. Oh, but even then, I like to start in the middle and explore up and down rather than starting really high. Right. Or starting really low. So start in the middle goofs barnstormer and then slightly bigger roller coasters. Okay. So that’s what we’ve got today.
Uh, go and grab. The free five minute warmup at www.yourfreevoice.com/resources. Uh, it takes you through the cat chewing gum, the bubbles, the neck stretches and things that we did last time. And, uh, it’ll also give you a little taste of the articulation exercises we’re going to do in the next episode. So.Grab that, and I will see you next week. Keep drinking, keep singing and vocalizing and looking after your lovely voice. I’m, uh, not very good at social media. I kind of forget to do it, but I’m trying to be better on Instagram. It’s one that I seem to like a bit more than the others. So you can follow me at Voxchops, um, and say hi, and let me know if you have any questions or if there’s any episodes or things that you’ve liked.
And, uh, it’ll be nice to see you there. Okay. Bye.