SOVTs Are Great for the Voice!
Semi-occluded vocal tract exercises are incredibly healthy for your voice because they create a secondary resistance in the vocal tract that takes away about half the pressure. The magic of SOVT exercises is that the back pressure essentially decompresses the vocal folds. In other words, they help you to naturally sing in a healthier, less pressurized way, and when your voice gets used to this kind of ease, you can carry the muscle memory into other forms of singing.
Firstly, your vocal folds are pushed slightly apart, which is important for singers who habitually tighten their throats when singing.
Secondly, the vocal folds close with full tissue contact all the way along their surfaces, preventing air leaking through when it shouldn’t.
Thirdly, the back pressure from the vocal tract meets the air pressure from the lungs and they almost cancel each other out.
Therefore, the vocal folds vibrate with much less air pressure – it is easier to produce sound.
Finally, they barely touch as they vibrate, making SOVTs very gentle on the voice.
To understand why this secondary resistance is important, just imagine punching the air as hard as you can, without creating any resistance. What would happen? Your joints would probably hyper-extend, and if you did this enough times, it’s very likely you’d get injured. Now imagine doing the same action in water. The resistance from the water would keep you from injuring yourself.
If you carried this feeling of resistance with you when you punched the air, you’d be doing the action in a much healthier way. The same is true for semi-occluded vocal tract exercises.
You can use SOVTs to warm up, cool down or to rehabilitate the voice.
Therapists and teachers use SOVTs for training, vocal rehabilitation and for safely exercising the voice when it is not in tiptop shape.
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