Always warm up the vocal cords!

By this I mean that the vocal cords should be prepared for singing. What are the vocal cords? The vocal cords (or folds) are two small muscles located within the larynx (voice box) that are responsible for voice production. They are found at about the level of the Adam’s apple (thyroid cartilage) in the neck. The vocal cords are very small (pediatric-ent.com)

How is voice/speech produced?

Most of the time the vocal cords lie apart, forming a “V” shaped opening. During speech, the vocal cords come together and produce sound by vibrating. Movement of the lips and tongue change this sound to create individual speech sounds (pediatric-ent.com).

Why vocal warm ups?

The vocal cords are like the engine of the voice. If you warm up the engine of your car before driving on a daily basis, your engine will run smoothly. Vocal warm ups help the vocal cords to function smoothly and eliminate the cracks, creaks and groans that we hear in our voices at times. Warm-ups, as in weight training, are used to stretch the muscles to prepare them for work without injury.

Warm up exercises

These should be done on a daily basis for about 5- 10 minutes. There are many approaches to vocal warm ups.

However, the simplest approach is to hum the tune of a song, hum to the letters m, n, ng and on hm.

Your voice will see an improvement in quality. Here are some warm up exercises from

Vocal Cool-Downs

Although unfortunately and frequently ignored, vocal cool-downs may also be used to prevent damage to the vocal cords. During speaking and singing, blood flow to the larynx (voice box) is increased. Stopping immediately after prolonged speaking or singing may contribute to a pooling of blood in the larynx, weighing the vocal cords down. Damage may result as one attempts to speak on these potentially swollen folds.

An analogy can be drawn to other physical exercise. After running for prolonged periods of time, an athlete is encouraged to walk for several minutes to maintain blood flow and prevent cramping. The same propensity for “cramping” may apply to laryngeal activity.

The simple practice of gentle, relaxed humming can serve as an excellent form of cooling-down.

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