The Speechworks: vocal exercises to help with good communication

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1 The Speechworks: vocal exercises to help with good communication Physical check list and exercise review Body position for all vocal exercises Feet parallel - shoulder width apart Legs straight without knees being locked Pelvis tucked underneath spine i.e. in a direct line with straight spine Arms hanging loosely by sides Hands and fingers relaxed Shoulders relaxed and level with each other (check) Neck straight Head - sitting perfectly straight on shoulders (check that chin is not pointing up and head tilting backwards check that chin is not sitting on chest with head lolling forwards) facing straight ahead. Upper body warm up exercises: Head First make sure body is in line with physical checklist Keeping head level turn head to left to look over left shoulder and hold in that position for five seconds feeling the stretch down right side of neck to right shoulder Keeping head level turn head to right to look over right shoulder and hold in that position for five seconds feeling the stretch down left side of neck to left shoulder on each side From centred position slowly drop chin onto chest and hold for five seconds feeling the stretch between the shoulder blades From centred position slowly raise the chin dropping head backwards on shoulders opening mouth and releasing the jaw so not to strain throat hold in that position for five seconds

2 forwards and backwards Drop chin onto chest and slowly roll head around to left and back releasing jaw and round to right and back down to chin on chest Do not turn head keep face forward keep eyes open at all times Repeat exercise, rolling head to right After slowly repeating exercise six times return head to centred position Upper body warm up exercises: shoulders From centred position raise both shoulders up under ears and hold for five seconds Release let shoulders drop to relaxed centred position allowing sufficient time in between each shoulder raise to allow shoulders to fully release tension From centred position isolate left shoulder bringing shoulder forward, up, back, down in a circular motion returning to centred position Repeat with right shoulder From centred position isolate left shoulder taking shoulder back, up, forward, down on a circular motion returning to centred position Repeat with right shoulder From centred position bring both shoulders forward, up, back, down in a circular motion returning to centred position From centred position take both shoulders back, up, forward, down in a circular motion returning to centred position

3 Upper body warm up exercises: twists From centred position raise arms so elbows are parallel with shoulders palm of hands are facing down and finger tips are touching keeping hip facing forward twist head and upper body to left so face is over left hip repeat to right to each side before returning to centred position Upper body warm up exercises: rolls From centred position slowly lower chin onto chest Let the weight of head gently roll the neck and upper back forward Continue the motion slowly letting mid back roll forward Continue the motion slowly letting lower back roll forward Arms should now be hanging loosely with fingers pointing towards toes Head should be relaxed and hanging loosely Slowly return to centred position imagining placing each vertebra back on top of one another one by one Repeat exercise four times NB. Be very careful not to strain when doing this exercise and keep eyes open at all times. Do not try to touch toes first time Upper body warm up exercises: face It is very important that the face is warmed up Face pulling is a good warm up make lots of funny faces Screw the face up tight and release and stretch Chewing not from side to side like cows Stick out the tongue like the Chinese dragon Stick out the tongue and pant like a dog Horse blows to exercise the lips

4 Breathing exercises Starting on the floor Lying on back with legs on chair making sure that the backs on the knees are the right angle on the edge of the seat of chair and the bottom is as close to the chair as possible this position gets the spine straight the small on the back in touch with the floor and the back of the neck straight arms relaxed at sides eyes may be closed The lying position with chair is an excellent position for relaxing and releasing tension good for breathing exercises because we can feel how the mechanism is working Always breathing first with stomach and imagining breathing with lower back filling the tanks from the bottom not with snatching breaths from the top of the chest. Exercise no 1 Breathing in for a count of seven and releasing on an sssss for a count of 10 Repeat several times before increasing count in 5s We are looking for a fluid and constant release of air, which can be determined by the consistency of the S sound Repeat as often as liked give breaks in between each exercise so not to hyperventilate Exercise no 2 Same as above but releasing on a Shhhhh sound this is not as easy Spend plenty of time on these exercises they are good relaxation and good releases of tension Exercise no 3 Same as above only in centred standing position Try to do these exercises at home a night just before retiring to bed they will help good sleep Vocalising Using breathing technique as in previous exercises Releasing air on a middle range hum for increasing counts Releasing air on a hum and opening the sound into an Ahhhh Change of sound from hum to ahhh should be fluid and not staccato Look out for two-finger drop as in previous exercises

5 When hum sound is placed correctly lips will feel a tingly sensation this means that the voice is place forward in the face where it should be Be gentle with the open sound at first building it gradually Give time in between each exercise so not to hyperventilate Humming through range To be done when voice is warmed When brakes and cracks are eliminated voice is in good shape When good sound is being made scales should be attempted if not tone deaf and consonant exercises to strengthen tongue placement and encourage vocal dexterity The Speechworks Leaders in communication and presentation skills training

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