Episode 7 – Cool Downs and Straws
“Your voice wants to heal itself, if you give it the space and the right tools to do that”
In this episode we are going to take a look at cool downs, an often neglected, but totally essential part of your vocal health kit.
• Why cool downs are important.
• A quick guide to how vocal straws work.
• How to cool down with and without a straw.
Here are the links to:
If you’re going to buy straws, I recommend getting the kit with the cups as well.
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Welcome to episode seven. Uh, this one’s gonna be a quickie, but it’s an important one because it’s all about cool downs. The first five episodes were all about warming up and for millions of us, that was all we knew about really with using our voices. We knew if we warmed up, we’d be in good shape, but it’s more recently in the past five or six years come to my attention at least, that cooling down is just as important as warming up. So when you have extended voice use extreme voice use, , so whether that’s your teaching in a classroom all day, or, , narrating an audio book or doing exertions in a video. You’re going to want to cool down. I will do an episode as well about vocal maintenance, how to actually manage your voice in those really long sessions, but this one’s imagining that you had a session and it’s now over and you’re going home.
So the first thing to do of course is to make sure you keep hydrating all the time. You’ve been hydrating all the way through your session, your gig, your recording spot, whatever it was. And at the end of it, I dunno about you, but if I book an exciting video game, I get really jazzed afterwards and I want to maybe, you know, celebrate a little bit.
Don’t, don’t go to a noisy restaurant. Don’t go out and meet friends and talk really loudly. Don’t shout about it to everybody on the phone, in the car. I don’t talk on the phone in the car because I, I shout a little bit when I’m talking on the phone in the car, even if I don’t need to. So, uh, that’s a no-no for me, but what you wanna do is this.
You finished your session, you drink a ton more water. You go to get in the car, you pull out a vocal straw. Now I’m gonna do a session in much more detail about how to use vocal straws. Um, and that’s very exciting cause I have a great interview lined up for that one. So stay tuned and I will have an interview with Mindy pack who invented the voice straw, and, uh, we’ll talk much more about straws, but for right now, If you have any kind of cocktail, straw, coffee, stirrer straw, something like that, that will work for this purpose. If you have little tiny, short, skinny straws, use two or maybe three, if it’s too hard. And you’re just gonna put the straw in your lips, make sure that it’s a nice tight seal around your lips without tension, and that you’re not leaking air out of your nose.
And just gonna go
with the straw. That’s just the basic principle of what. You’re doing with a straw, but for cool downs, particularly you want to start from the point, uh, of most exertion of where you just were and reset your voice back down to its regular pitch. Okay. So if I was shouting at a video game and my voice was pitched up here, I was doing an alien voice or something else.
I would start at that place.
I’m gradually come down and descending glides until I get down to my natural speaking voice place. Does that make sense? So you can use, and I’m really just gonna be super fast and loose with straw guidelines here, just because if you don’t have a straw kit, I want you to get the idea of using straws, but come back for the proper episode where we’re gonna talk about exactly how to use them.
If you only have a bigger, longer straw, like a, um, a soda straw, a smoothie store, a drinking straw, put it in half a glass of water. Right. And do bubbles with that. I just went and got my straw. Okay. So I’m putting my big straw in a glass of water, right. Blowing bubbles, super fun. But I’m gonna give you the descending glides again.
Now the, I don’t have quite enough water in this glass. The more water you have, the more pressure, the more force you need to use to make the sound right?.
What’s happening with the straw is you’re extending your vocal tract and forcing back pressure onto the vocal folds, which helps them to align. Like I said, we’ll have a much more detailed episode on straws later. This is really just part of cool downs. But, um, you want to feel a little press when you’re using a straw.
It doesn’t wanna just be all baggy. Like, like if I vocalize through this big fat straw without water, it’s like, oh, there’s no, I can’t get anything. You know, there’s nothing. I could also just put my finger over the end just a little bit don’t or not quite cover the end.
That feels quite nice. So the general idea is you go from the point of most extreme effort where you. And come back down into your regular speaking voice. If you don’t have straws, um, you could use the, uh, fronts of your thumbs. You know what, when you were a kid you used to try and do the whistly thing with the blade of grass.
I did, there was a lot of grass in England, big fat, nice blade. And you’d get it between your two, thumbs like that. And you’d go.
So you can do that. Try that right now. Get your thumbs as if you’re blowing a blade of grass, let your cheeks puff out and just feel how that pressure feels just a little bit in your throat. Mm-hmm Mmm. Mmm. Right. And it’s great. If you can also just remember to drop the larynx a little bit. So I go a little bit like The Count. Oh. I went to see that Muppet exhibition in San Francisco this week and, uh, I saw The Count and it was lovely. And I went at to him and I said “one vocal exercise, two vocal exercise”. Yeah. Nice dropped larynx. So try that with your thumbs.
That probably sounds great on the mic. I’m just realizing. Um, if you don’t have thumbs and you want to do, uh, the fuzzy vs, you could do that
or hums mm. Or bubbles.
Anything to just help your vocal folds come back to their natural setting. Uh, if you’ve really really been working and the folds are a little bit inflamed, it, it might take a little longer, or you might have to start with the bigger straw than you usually use. So it’s nice to have a variety of different kinds of straws.
And a variety of different kinds of cool downs.
So I would say that those is some of your options for cooling down at the end of a session. Drink more water again, and try to not put yourself in situations where you need to, uh, use your voice that evening. Depending on the voice usage, if you’ve just been singing a lot, but it’s not actually been, uh, extreme, uh, that might be good if your voice feels tired and a little bit hoarse do the cool downs and then just don’t talk for the rest of the evening.
Okay. And you should be fine by the next day. Your voice wants to heal itself always. And I think this is the thing I always want you to remember. Your voice wants to heal itself. If you give it the space and use the right tools to do that.
So that’s it for today. Don’t say you don’t know how to call down, cuz now you do! Go to your free voice.com/resources to grab the five minute warmup video, which is gonna review a lot of the things we did in the warmup series.
It’s also where you are going to find a link for the voice straw kit and my little personal link that will give you a 10% discount on there. It won’t show up until you check out, but it’s. Okay guys, I’ll see you next week. Bye.