Page 10 - Voice for Life Songbook 1
P. 10

                                Here are some exercises to practise breathing:
􏰀 Breathe out; then, when you reach the end of the stream of air, release to allow the air to rush back into your lungs through your mouth. Feel how the air is cool against the roof and back
of your mouth. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then sigh out. Repeat the exercise with your hands round your waist to feel how it expands as you breathe in and contracts as you exhale.
􏰀 Place your right hand on your left shoulder and take a deep breath.You should find that this causes you to breathe low in your body rather than taking a shallow breath at the top of your chest – which is what you should aim for every time you breathe to sing. Repeat with your left hand on your right shoulder.
􏰀 Pant gently for a few seconds as if you are a dog trying to cool off. (Don’t try this exercise for too long otherwise you will find it makes you dizzy!)
􏰀 Holduponefingeratarm’slengthfromyourface.Imagineitisacandlethatneedstobeblownout. Take a deep breath and blow energetically. Repeat the exercise, increasing the number of fingers you are holding up and blowing out each in turn.
􏰀 Breathe in silently over four counts, then let the air escape to a steady ‘shh’ over another four counts. Instead of holding your breath in between the inhalation and the exhalation, try to imagine it is a smooth, circular process. Repeat the exercise a few times, then try the same thing on a ‘zzz’ or ‘vvv’ sound at a comfortable pitch. Gradually build up to eight, twelve and sixteen counts.
Tone and resonance
When you start to engage the voice in the warm-up process, it is best to start with humming, gentle slides or short patterns of notes in a narrow range. Start in the middle of the register and move downwards first to exercise the lower vocal range before gradually extending it upwards.You should try to include both legato and staccato sounds.The following exercises can be used in this process:
􏰀 Sing the word ‘sing’ and sustain the ‘ng’ sound at the end. Feel how it makes your nose and lips vibrate.This is called an open-mouthed hum. Slide up a major third and then down again. Repeat the exercise moving down a semitone each time.
􏰀 On a rolled ‘r’ or lip trill, slide around in the lower to upper middle range of your voice. Mirror the movement with your hands as you ascend and descend in pitch.
􏰀 Tryaseriesofexaggeratedyawns,startinghigherwitheachyawnandslidingdowntothebottom of your voice on an ‘ah’ sound.You might like to stretch each time you yawn.
􏰀 Make low, resonant ‘vvv’ and ‘zzz’ sounds. Feel the vibrations that these sounds produce around your lips and teeth. Starting in the middle of your range sing a descending triad on ‘va’ sound, keeping the ‘v’ as active and resonant as possible. Repeat the exercise, moving down in semitones.
􏰀 Sing the same note five times on an ‘oo’ vowel. Make the first four short and detached and the last sustained. Repeat the exercise a semitone higher each time and introduce other vowels, e.g. ee, aw, ah, eh.
􏰀 Onavowelofyourchoice,slideupafifthandbackdownagain.Repeattheexercisemovinga semitone higher each time.When your singers are comfortable with this you can increase the interval of the slide to an octave.
􏰀 Using a bright ‘ya’ sound, sing a five-note descending scale. Repeat starting a semitone higher each time.

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