Developing agility to improve vocal flexibility

by | Aug 17, 2018

Everyone dreams of having a flexible body that can be twisted, turned anyway around. Well, this is possible with regular exercises in the gym and practicing yoga. Then why not aim for voice flexibility similarly, so that one is able to speak and sing in all ranges? This is possible by developing a flexible voice that starts from a relaxed and agile body.

In my previous post, I explored what not to do with your posture. Here are some exercises to do to improve your posture.

For all the exercises, stand with feet slightly apart, and weight evenly distributed. Knees should be relaxed and allowed to move backwards and forward. The thighs should be loose and pelvis should be balanced.

1)Punching the air :

  • Raise one arm and then the other, with the heel of the hand extended towards the ceiling.
  • Straighten arms and gently punch the air, with alternate hands.
  • Feel the ribcage move up and ‘free’ the abdomen with this arm movement.
  • Watch out for neck tension.

2)Interlacing the arms

  • Raise arms above head, but not to their fullest limit.
  • Interlace the arms, so that the back of the palm is facing ceiling.
  • Reverse the position, so that the palm is now facing the ceiling
  • Begin to ‘walk’ the hands towards the ceiling, feeling the lift of the ribcage.
  • Notice the space between the lower ribs and the hips.

3)Hand swing

  • Raise arms above the head and stretch towards the ceiling as high as possible.
  • Maintain this stretch for 30sec, and then slowly start to lower the arms.
  • Allow the head to follow this movement, and start curving down, one vertebra at a time.
  • Fold over at the hips and bend at the knees so that the arms swing freely near the floor.
  • Uncurl vertebra by vertebra, until completely upright and relaxed /s/ shape is maintained.

4)Breast stroke

  • Arms are placed at mid- sternum, as in starting breast stroke in swimming.
  • Shoulders are not raised and elbows are level.
  • When you inhale, move your hands forward, and then out to the sides, keeping the bend in the elbow.
  • The movement in the ribcage, as it moves slightly upwards and outwards should be felt.
  • When you are exhaling, return the hands to the starting position.
  • This should be done for 10 reps, slowly increasing to 20.

5)Beach Ball

  • Raise the arms to mid-sternum, as though you are holding a large beachball, with fingertips touching and arms curved.
  • Slowly sweep arms to the sides, the ribcage should expand when you are inhaling.
  • Exhaling when returning back to starting position.

6)Shoulder exercises to release tension

  • Raise both shoulders to their highest levels towards the head, so that the distance between chin and shoulders are shortened.
  • Hold this position and release them, ensure no residual tension.
  • Repeat this exercise with one shoulder and then the other.

7)Shoulder rolls

  • Shrug the shoulders up and down 10 times.
  • Move them forward circularly, in a smooth fashion. Do that about 10x
  • change directions, and roll shoulders backwards.
  • Repeat the exercises with first shoulder and then the other.

8)Shoulder rotation:

  • Stretch out both arms, with palms facing upwards.
  • Rotate the arms forward, so that the palms are facing down, and then backwards again to face up.
  • Repeat this 10x.

9)Head neck Alignment

  • Allow for chin to drop down onto chest and feel the extension at the back of the neck.
  • Do not push or force the chin down, no undue tension to be felt back of neck.
  • Raise the chin slowly until the head is easily balanced.
  • The crown of the head should be the highest point.

10) Figure of EIGHT – Practise this sitting or standing

  • Feel the length in the neck. Imagine the head is attached to the neck by a ball – bearing which is free to swivel.
  • Allow the head to bob and rotate freely.
  • Use the head to describe the horizontal and vertical figure of eight( Bit like the bobbing head of dogs; at the back of cars etc)

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