One can hardly ignore the loud voice of a newborn baby: with no warm-ups, training or instruction, he uses his vocal folds correctly, controlling them so perfectly, as to produce ear-piercing sounds with significant vocal strength.
This shows that speaking and even (non-professional) singing are innate skills, which require no training. Professional help is only needed in case your vocal effect is unsatisfactory.
In other words, natural, free, and fluent singing or speech comes easy. But in order to achieve vocal strength you must, sometimes, contract your oral cavity and neck muscles-without a further straining of your cords, but while relaxing them.
Confusing as it may sound, it’s very easy to practice these techniques for improving vocal strength.
Supposing you had a strong voice, as a baby, you have the same vocal capacity today-unless your lifestyle is unhealthy.
So, if you’re not heard loud and clear, or you have difficulties to generate a strong sound effortlessly or without damaging your voice, you should try the following exercises:
Warning: in case of ailments on your vocal cords, of vocal fatigue, avoid these exercises. Instead, perform short relaxation exercises such as the drinking straw exercise
- Diaphragm and abdominal muscles strengthening exercises:
- Breathe in through your nose, and then breathe out through your mouth while making an “s” sound as long as possible.
- After a few minutes’ exercise, start making a short “s” sound while intensively drawing your belly in.
The purpose of his exercise is tightening your belly and diaphragm, strengthening the breath support and make the diaphragm and abdominal muscles contract with a better coordination. This allows you to support and strengthen your voice. We recommend performing this exercise a few seconds before any vocal effort.
- Make your voice a little nasal, imagining it as a howl. This should make it sharper and less airy. The reason that sometimes speakers with strong voices can shout without getting hoarse, is they usually increase their vocal strength by making their voice nasal.
- External oral and neck muscles strengthening exercises:
- Except in the cases presented below, it doesn’t take opening your mouth wide to enhance your vocal strength. Instead, you should kind of “chew” and “bite” the words-that is, moving your lips intensely, thus pronouncing the vowels accurately and stressing them. Just let the sounds roll in the front of your mouth and “chew” them forcefully.
- Another useful trick is “braking”, or resisting the words’ pronunciation. While in case of vocal overstraining, you should release your jaw and relax your tongue and lips, if your voice is intact and you want to enhance its strength, you should press and stress the words.
Practically speaking, just imagine your upper and lower teeth forcefully attached together while speaking or singing. This should increase your vocal volume and enhance local muscles effect. To increase the effect, you may show your teeth occasionally.
Another and commonly practices vocal strength exercise is trying to speak while holding a cork with your teeth. This exercise stresses actions such as, biting, small mouth opening, and teeth exposing. It also uses additional force of external neck muscles during consonant pronunciation and increases air resistance, thus pushing the vocal folds more tightly against each other, eventually producing a stronger voice.
- Exercises for singers:
When shouting or singing high tones, as well as low tones, (tones above or below first octave), we recommend you should relax your lower jaw. Here, the extent of mouth opening is most important: in high and low tones, a wide mouth opening strains the muscles which allow the tightening of you vocal cords. This makes it easier for you to reach high and low tones. When singing the middle octave, you should not open your mouth widely. By contrast, when singing very high tones, you should release your upper jaw further, smile wide, and sense your voice vibrating with head resonance. This exercise should strengthen your voice box muscles and boost your confidence.
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