How to use the Straw Technique for singers and speakers!


Hello everyone and welcome to Voice
Soaring Studios and the first episode “Let your voice soar”.
my name is Jeffrey Alani Stanfill. I’m a vocal coach here in the North
Jersey and New York metropolitan area. I’m thrilled that you’re here to join me for
the first many informative videos designed to help
you understand your voice, how to keep it
healthy and make it last a lifetime! I’ll be sharing vocal exercises that
will truly let your voice soar! In addition to the
vocal exercises, I will give you tips on things you can do
every day to keep your voice healthy! which brings me to my first tip, the
straw! back in July 2012 I wrote an article on
my website voicesoaring.com about the straw
technique and how it can help singers and speakers
recover their voice from strain and fatigue. Since then I received many many emails
on this topic! it seems a few you would like a little more
clarification on how the straw technique works So the first thing you’re gonna need are
few straws. I prefer two sipping straws The reason is that two of them create and
enough back pressure in the pharyngeal cavity to
get results needed. Okay so now, hopefully you have your
straws in hand First, we’re going to actually be
singing through the straws. What this does is it creates pressure in
the back of the throat or scientific name the “Pharynx” By
creating pressure in the back of the throat we’re stretching open the pharyngeal
cavity. This in turn allows the vocal cords to thin out
stretch out. Vocal cords function best
when they’re then and lean so they can close more
precisely. If you find that your voice gets husky a
raspy after singing, this is a sign that you’re using too
much chord mass and the result is a thickening of the vocal cords. As vocal
cords become thicker from either over-singing, using too
much chest voice with the head-voice mix, screaming at a sporting event or just
from speaking too long the phone with your head to one side they become
less pliable less vibrant. First off, in case you don’t have access to a piano
you can use a piano app for your smartphone or tablet. their are lots a free piano app that works
very well. Now, put the straws between your lips
like this. We’re going to be singing through the straws on ascending 3 tone scale. Ladies you’re
gonna be starting middle C or C4, guys are gonna be starting
at C3. I’m gonna be demonstrating in my range
but ladies remember I’m gonna be singing an octave above you. So if I’m singing here, you’re gonna be singing here mmm mmm mmm As you sing the scale, you may notice
it’s difficult to get a lot of sound out. if you are getting a lot of sound you’re
likely letting too much air escape through your nose. If this is the
case, then close your nose and try like this. mmm mmm also to check that you doing it
correctly, the sound should stop completely if you
cover the end to the straw with your fingers. you should notice a bit of pressure
building up in the back of the throat. a couple things to be aware of: make sure
you’re not biting the straws. Also be sure to seal the area around the
straw with your lips. We don’t want any air escaping around the sides. Make sure your tongue is nice and relaxed.
If it stiffens up while singing the scale If it will stiffen up the pharyngeal space
as well. Now that you have the hang up let’s take it up!! mmm as you sent you may notice the need to
push more breath through. me also notice that your abdominal
muscles are engaging. This is good. Let’s go back to middle
C for the ladies and C3 for the guys lets do a five tone scale. Once you begin to master this concept, you
may notice more internal vibration in the head.
This means the vocal chords are thinning out and vibrating and the thin edges Thus producing more head-voice. Once
you’ve achieved comfortable sending 5-tone scale, it’s a
good thing to add a glide up and down on octaves. If you would like
to start lower than middle C, by all means do so Lets glide up and down on an octave.
mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm You may notice I’m taking a breath between
each half step through my mouth. As you begin to
reach the upper register may feel some difficulty reaching the upper notes. This is because the vocal
cords are not thinning out as much as they need to. Give this a little time. Try not to
force too much sound or breath pressure.
Remember the idea is to let the pharyngeal space stretch. Ok, once
you’ve achieved easy glide up to about G5 for the ladies
and G4 or for the guys then it’s time to add a song. You can
sing anything you’d like through the straw. I recommend something easy like “Happy
Birthday” or “Amazing Grace”. Let me demonstrate using “Amazing Grace” Amazing grace how sweet, the sound. that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I see. T’was blind but now, I see. Once you’re able to sing an entire verse
and chorus a song like this, your voice is gonna
feel fantastic. Of course no amount as singing through a straw can replace healthy vocal technique. In future
episodes will be covering every aspect that of healthy vocal technique based on the concepts at the
Swedish Italian school of singing. if you’re lucky enough to have some good
vocal coaches in your area I highly recommend schedule lessons with
them, especially if you’re serious singer. Now if you don’t have coaches in your
area, we offer Skype lessons here AT THE studio as well as in-person lessons at the
New York City studio and the Montclair, New Jersey studio. If you
had any questions about topic today please feel free to write me
at [email protected] You can also
ask questions in the comments section below. in the coming months I’ll be releasing
instructional DVD for Pop, Rock and Musical theater singers
based on the concepts that the Swedish Italian school of singing. don’t forget to subscribe to the
channel: I look forward to hearing from you you can also find me on Facebook at
voice soaring studios-Jeff Alani Stanfill Until next time keep singing and let your voice soar! Peace
and harmony to you all!!!

60 comments

Hi Jeff fantastic video! I am much clearer now about the straw technique 🙂 Could you reserve one copy of your DVD for me please? Would like to learn more from you. How much is it?

Do you think the Straw technique is very similar to what some vocal teachers are teaching where the voice is imagined going forward to one small focused point in front of your lips? That seems to widen the pharyngeal space as well. 

Hope to hear from you soon and thanks so much!

Hey mquek7, this is similar to that approach, but it is not designed to replace the idea of finding your pharyngeal space through proper exercises. I will be doing a video on that subject very soon. This is really more medicinal in that it is a healing approach for inflamed vocal chords. I use the straws on gigs, especially between sets to make sure the vocal chords are not thickening up. It's a bit like stretching between sets at eh gym!
 The DVD by the way will include a cd of the exercises to practice with. The price has not been decided as of yet as we are still in pre-production, but I promise to make it as affordable as possible!

Thank you Jeff! I'm studying vocals at uni and have been battling some awful raspiness the last 3 weeks, and I think you've just given me the key to fixing it! KEEP IT UP! <3

This technique was well explained and demonstrated in this video.  I'm going to share it in a SingWise Facebook post tomorrow.

Dear Jeff

 Congrats on your new Vocal Instructional CD.
 
  Is there a soft copy downloadable version I could order? 

  Shipping it all the way to Singapore would cost tons.

   Thanks!

[email protected]

96556540

I had a lesson with Jeff a couple of days ago and he really is a phenomenal teacher!

As a baritone I had trouble with making to heavy of a sound and Jeff was the first person who could really explain how to use the breath in singing.

I watched a ton of videos on youtube, but his technique is really the best I have come across.

I really like your tutorial videos. They are very helpful for me, and they are a reminder to remember technique, "they will help guide you through".

I recommend you reference Ingo Titze, the original physicist that created and defends the technique scientifically in numerous journals. He appreciates you getting the word out. Thank you!

Hey Jeff! The problem I have, is that while I can do these exercises fine (and hit a D5 on a good day), once I start putting actual words in and trying to get my voice to a decent volume, and going through a long passage of high notes (A4-D5), everything begins to slowly fall apart! :'(
I presume I'm just not resonating properly when using my mixed voice (think 80's heavy metal vocals), and in trying to compensate for a lack of volume I put myself in a bad position. I then go into full chest voice as a failsafe and just end up feeling a little hoarse at the end. Like my throat gets progressively scratchier as the song goes on and I start worrying about my voice cracking, so I switch to chest voice instead!

Jeff.
Happy New Year.
Thank you for this amazing post!!! I had thyroid surgery 2 years ago and I am still waiting (and praying) for a complete recovery. I will incorporate this technique into my daily routine.
Regards,
Steve Judge (Scottsdale, AZ)

Boy is it refreshing to see a vocal coach on here actually teaching useful, though more importantly, healthy and correct singing technique. Also to see that when you use concepts and words such as "head voice" or "head resonance" that you actually know, realize others might not, and explain that it's nothing to do with artificially manipulating the voice into going to your head or becoming smaller (or using falsetto! so many online tutorials confuse head resonance with falsetto, it horrifies me…), but rather it's the proper occlusion of the vocal folds vibrating in a healthy way, not too thickly.

Youtube, and the world, needs more coaches like you!

Dear Jeff,I agree with you.I use some "tzzz" in between the front teeth.This opens as you said,the back "uvula",and throat cavity.Very usefull tip.Best regards.

OH MY GOD!!! How could anything possibly be better than lip rolls??? I did this straw technique and I literally am in shock that this got rid of all of the "morning fatigue"! Thank you!

Hello. Tell me please is it healthy to use the straw for my warm up routine instead of a lip trill? ( it doesn't help me)

Hi, I am experiencing heaps of vibration in my throat, I'm also getting the sound at the same volume and intensity as you but after doing this exercise my throat gets so sore and I can't talk for a day. I'm not pushing at all and very relaxed.

Cool video, thanks for this. I'm a baritone voice, I usually flip to my falsetto around an F or F# above middle C. With the straw in I can't get over a middle C. Is this normal? Thanks

My voice coach has recommended this technique but she said to do it into water?? Im going to get some straws and give it go later thanks x

Hey Jeff, Tim here. Right now I have been trying to do this straw exercise more than ever. Is it fine if the notes get headier as it goes higher as long as there are no breaks?

Hello. I am planning to do the straw technique used in this video. Is it OK to use one straw instead of two? Thank you.

Sir, I'm facing problem to ending words while it comes with continues line. I mean I'm facing breath control problem. Please tell me how to improve my breath control.

My teacher has been having me use these in lessons, and I have also watched Ingo Titze's video (he developed the technique, as you know). So, thanks for sharing this useful video!
What exactly do you mean by the Swedish-Italian school of singing?

Would this straw technique explain why my voice feels so much more free after playing saxophone for a bit? Every time I play saxophone, and then sing, I feel like my voice is so much more open and relaxed

hello sir..i am starting practicing now..and i am using straw from juice pack..it is okay?semi big and i used two..😊

I use to have a singing voice as powerful as Freddy Mercury about ten years ago but due to inactivity and poor lifestyle such as smoking etc my voice has suffered greatly and all I can muster these days is a husky whisper. After just ONE ten minute session of this my voice has changed drastically, I can reach high notes again and some power has returned. Just amazing after one session, what will I be like after a week!? Thankyou!

I really am so happy you share your knowledge. I will be singing for your teacher David Jones at NATS in Jacksonville fl on October 20. Carole Clifford is my teacher. I have a 4 octave range thanks to David Jones techniques that Carole is teaching. When I do the warm up like in your show that thins out cords- as you down in pitch, should it feel the same when I begin and go very low, for a soprano anyway.

I used to be a decent singer, but I had no technique at all. I developed an abduction problem of my vocal folds and this completely destroyed me. I can't afford expensive voice therapy, but your channel seems to be a great find! Thanks for sharing this incredibly useful video with us, I hope it will help me <3 keep going! Greetings from Italy!!!

Hi! I have found this video and say: hopefully this help me out with my problem. Here we go: my problem is that when i'm trying to sing in my middle range the sound is so awful and not in tone that I stopped singing like 4 or 5 months ago. In low and hi range everything is ok, may I say better than before. There's anyway you can help me with specific exercises? I'm ready to send you (even if I feel embarrassed) example of what I mean. And of course ready to pay it. Thank's in advance for helping us! God bless you 🙏

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