We have just five days of Christmas 2020, thanks to the on-going Covid situation and having to maintain distance between ourselves and our loved ones.
This year, why not take advantage of the lovely number five and use it to give your voice a five-part wonderful festive work-out as we approach the holiday season?
Make the most of the time available and have a bit of fun, while establishing good and healthy work-outs habits for your vocal folds.
Our voice is created by a combination of the air that we breathe out and the vocal folds in our larynx working in harmony.
As we sit quietly, working away on the computer for example, these intricate little muscles that are responsible for making your voice work well are stationary… they are having a Still and Silent Night all of their own!
If we suddenly make demands on our voice without giving those muscles a chance to warm up properly, it just won’t function as well as we’d like. It’s like going out for a run without doing stretches and limbering up, you run the risk of injury.
Humming is a fantastic way of gently warming up your voice. It gently gets those vocal folds vibrating on a single note then as you hum up and down a few notes (like a slow police siren) those muscles can gently extend and contract. What a fabulous way to warm up your voice!
Here are five vocal exercises to help you keep tuned up – whatever speeches you have this Christmas – plus practical help to maintain health and fitness in your vocal folds.
Here are the Five Days of Christmas exercises for your voice:
- Humming up and down
- Yawning and stretching
- Smiling big wide smiles
- Inhale really deeply
- Move your voice around.
How to do the exercises:
- Take a nice breath in, imagining the smell of warm mince pies, or mulled wine, so the breath goes right down into your Christmas boots! Relax your jaw and let that hum resonate though your chest, your cheek bones and your nose.
- This is one where you can really let rip! Close your mouth and breathe a long, long breath in…. and on the outbreath, let your voice do some real ahhhh sounds on different notes. This is the stretch and yawn of all yawns! Go for five in a row!
- Relax your lips and spread them into a really wide smile. Wider, wider and wider as you say ‘eeeeeee’ on different notes. ‘Eeeee’ going up or ‘Eeeee’ going down or a mixture of both.
- Imagine you are inhaling the fragrant smell of your favourite Christmas food or drink as you breathe in to speak. How about that piquant smell of vinegar on your fish and chips?! This is a wonderful way of getting a great volume of air into your lungs, ready for speech.
- Following on from number 4, begin speaking on a higher note than normal and let each of the next words come out at a lower pitch until you reach a low note at the end. Then try starting low, getting higher, then down low again.
You can use the words of a Christmas carol to do these exercises and either say or sing the words as you gently warm up your voice.
Your voice would thank you if it could, for keeping it fit and active, ready for those festive family Zoom calls, work related conferences and just joyfully chatting to friends.
Have a peaceful, heathy and happy Christmas and please get in touch if you’d like help with your speech or voice in the New Year.