Voice Tips 101

Posted on: July 26th, 2013 by Jane Ramseyer Miller GALA Articles No Comments

Once a month GALA Choruses is offering tips on vocalization and singing for our chorus members. If you have tips to share or vocal questions that you would like addressed just shoot me an email.  This first tip comes from veteran conductor and clinician, Dr. Stan Hill.
        – Jane Ramseyer Miller, Artistic Director for GALA ChorusesADR@GalaChoruses.org


Tip for Singers:
Suffering from vocal fatigue after rehearsal?  Research shows that an excess of sub-glottal pressure1 causes the vocal cords to do double-time. Your vocal cords are being asked to hold back an amazing amount of air pressure while controlling the air flow over the cords. But fear not, there is a great exercise that can help with the problem. The solution is to try to equalize the pressure above and below the vocal cords. This helps the air flow, helps reduce sub-glottal pressure, and can translate into more efficient phonation2.

The exercise:
Take a cocktail straw. Not the Big-Gulp straws but a straw with a small diameter. Placing it between the lips, sing vocal glides from the lowest notes in your range to the highest. But never let more air escape than can travel through the straw.

This exercise can reduce fatigue, develop a more efficient phonation, and allow you to sing longer, better.

Here is a YouTube demonstration by Ingo Titze, a vocal scientist and executive director of the National Center for Voice and Speech at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Try it and let me know if you get satisfactory results.

Dr. Stan Hill,
Conductor Laureate, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (1989-2000)
Artistic Director, Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus (2000-2012)

1Sub-glottal pressure is the pressure below the vocal cords (glottis). It is usually measured in cubic centimeters of water (cmH2O)

2Efficient phonation or optimal phonation is the ideal balance of sub-glottal pressure and air-flow allowing for optimal vibration of the vocal folds.

Jane Ramseyer Miller

Jane Ramseyer Miller serves as Artistic Director for GALA Choruses and is responsible for the artistic aspects of GALA events, resources and Festivals. She is also in her 20th year as Artistic Director for One Voice Mixed Chorus in St. Paul, Minnesota. She holds a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Minnesota and a BA in Psychology from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada - and uses both degrees in her work every day! In 2008 she received the GALA Choruses Legacy Award for her conducting, innovative programming and commitment to community outreach. In 2010 she was awarded the ACDA VocalEssence Award for Creative Programming and the ACDA Minnesota Advocate for Choral Excellence (ACE) Award. Miller also is committed to creative choral collaborations and recently Jewish Pride awarded her their Tikkun olam "Healing the World Award" for a project exploring the music of GLBT and Jewish music of the Holocaust.

Latest posts by Jane Ramseyer Miller (see all)