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  • Writer's pictureMarilena Gant

So What’s the Deal with Straws? – Straw Phonation for Voice Actors


The humble straw is a secret weapon in the voice actors arsenal! Yes you read that correctly - straws. Voice Actors and Singers love ‘em. Not just to slurp up our iced coffees but to help us warm up and work out our voices. Straw phonation is a part of a group of vocal exercises called SOVT which stands for semi occluded vocal tract. Put simply, this means the mouth is partly closed as you exercise the voice. Another kind of semi occluded exercise includes lip trills, which are common vocal warm ups for both Voice Actors and Singers alike.

 

As your mouth is partially closed around the straw whilst you sing or glide through your vocal range, some of the air is blocked and this in turn causes a little resistance in your vocal chords. Check out the work of Dr Igno Titze or voice wizard Nic Redman for more on the science behind this and the best way to do this safely and effectively.

 

When done correctly, straw phonation has been shown to improve vocal efficiency and reduce vocal fatigue – now who doesn’t want that!


A hand holding a red soda with a straw against a purple background



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