Exercises I Use in Rehabilitating Damaged Voices
Working with people who have had or continue to have Vocal Damage is tricky because they have much fear in regards to using their voices, and rightly so. This fear creates inhibitions which must be conquer by learning a healthy technique. I begin by teaching one of three of the basic elements of singing until it is mastered to some degree before I add the second component and when that is mastered to some degree, I see if the student is able to coordinate both of these roles simultaneously. Only then do I add the 3rd component.
When it is mastered I see if the student is now able to coordinate three roles at the same time. It is necessary for the student to learn how to divide his attention between several seemingly opposing roles. He needs to be able to use a variety of groups of muscles both simultaneously and differently, already contrarily. All these muscle groups must not, by sympathetic muscle action behave the same way. These groups of muscles must perform their roles quite differently, and it takes a good degree of expert over one group of muscles before right work can become a good habit, that is,done without to much thought. Only when the function is comparatively easy to perform, is it possible to divide the attention between another group of muscles or roles and so on.
Exercises I Use
1. I begin working only with the breath. I develop the diaphragm with special exercises called pulsations. The pulsations are the first and most important component needed to be mastered. The pulsations teach breath sustain in the most efficient and functional way. After that I show the student how to use the breath for singing. (nevertheless with no sound)
2. Next I have the student apply the principals learned using a whispered vowel in which the air is directed over the upper inner jaw or hard pallet using an H to instigate airflow and using only the whispered vowel. Until the student can coordinate both the diaphragm and the forward projection of the air, I use a whispered vowel so that there will be no vocal straining.
3. Then I have the student apply everything learned in the first two stages, but with a spoken vowel, but using the letter H to instigate air flow.
4. I then show the student how to close the vocal chords with a special exercise I have developed for that purpose and only then can they speak the vowels (with the H in front) While 1. coordinating the breath flow into the forward disguise, WITH: 2. the action of the diaphragm, AND: 3. closure of the vocal chords.
When these elements become second character to the student or patient, and he/she is able, with time, to resonate the voice in the higher resonators, while the flexible diaphragm acts as the motor for the airflow, then effortless voice production is possible.