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What are the best techniques for stretching the vocal cords?

Your vocal cords are like any other muscle in your body. Just as they can be strengthened with dedicated and consistent training, these precious sound-producing folds are also susceptible to damage and fatigue when overstrained or exercised without proper vocal warm-up. For singers who regularly put pressure on their voice box to hit every note on pitch, stretching the vocal cords becomes essential to any successful practice or performance routine. Besides priming you to sing at your peak potential and protecting your voice from wearing out, stretching the vocal cords can also expand your vocal range, allowing you to glide gracefully across the octaves. Nevertheless, the vocal cords are a delicate structure and even stretching them requires proper technique! To help kickstart your singing career on the right foot, we’ve rounded up the best vocal warm-up and stretching techniques employed in professional vocal training classes.

1. Yawn-sigh

If you see people in a singing class yawning and sighing right from the start—it’s not because they are bored out of their wits or dreading the lesson to come. Chances are, they are merely warming up their vocals with the yawn-sigh technique! A speech therapy technique that has made its way into the studio, this strategy entails breathing in close-mouthed while yawning to gently stretch the throat, then releasing the air through your nose as if you are sighing. This exercise is beneficial for reducing vocal tension and promoting fluidity in the voice.

2. Breathing exercises

In its most primal form, singing is all about how exhaled air interacts with the vocal cords to make them vibrate. So it’s not difficult to see how breath work is inextricably tied to the process. Learning to activate the diaphragm when singing can come in handy when you’re trying to project your voice and hold all the end notes without the risk of straining your vocal cords. Practice inhaling deep into the diaphragm, slowly exhaling with a hiss, and keeping your shoulders and chest relaxed throughout the exercise. With practice, you will be able to develop more lung capacity and better voice control.

3. Vocal sirens

With the right vocal training exercises, it is possible to extend your vocal range, and singing sirens is one of the most effective exercises for the task. The practice involves making a continuous “ng” or “ooh” syllable sound through your entire vocal range, moving from the bottom and all the way to the top before going back down again. In addition to developing the vocal range, doing sirens also allows singers to practice making smoother transitions through breaks or changing registers. Just be careful not to put too much strain on your vocal cords when moving up and down the scales. 

4. Straw Singing Exercise

Who knew that kitchen straws could be essential in a singer’s toolbox? A technique used in many vocal classes, singing through a straw can aid in breath control and toning and coordinating the vocal cords by elongating the vocal tract without putting too much stress on it. And all it takes is a straw and a half-filled glass of water. Simply sing into the water through the straw, making sure not to let any air leak out from the sides. You can even do some warm-ups with vocal slides, sirens, and scales!

Book a Singing Class with SeanyMac

While these techniques can all be helpful for stretching the vocal cords, each singer’s starting point is different, and the training they need for their vocal muscles may differ from person to person. And that’s where it can be immensely beneficial to have an experienced vocal teacher guiding you on your journey towards improving and developing your vocals the safe way. If you are looking for professional and tailored vocal training in Hong Kong to take your vocal skills up a notch, look no further than SeanyMac Studios.

Home to some of Asia’s leading musical talents, SeanyMac Studios offers professional vocal training in Hong Kong for singers of all ages and levels. With highly qualified singing teachers and an expertly honed 6-step approach that covers all the bases of vocal technique and stage performance, SeanyMac is dedicated to helping you unleash your musical potential! Book a singing class with SeanyMac Studios today!

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