This Is A Voice

The Straws and Bubbles exercise from our This Is A Voice book

May 16, 2022 Jeremy Fisher and Dr Gillyanne Kayes Season 5 Episode 1
This Is A Voice
The Straws and Bubbles exercise from our This Is A Voice book
Show Notes Transcript

In the first of a new series, Dr Gillyanne Kayes & Jeremy Fisher take you through the Straws & Bubbles exercise from the bestselling book This Is A Voice
Find out the upgrades we now add to the written exercise, and why we'd change some of the instructions
Listeners share their successes using straw exercises including tackling anxiety and singers with PTSD
And Gillyanne discusses some of the SOVT facts she discovered at last week's PAS7+ conference from Brazil, including why SOVT exercises might be very good for shy singers
We announce the launch of the SOVT 1 Training Course, now included in your Learning Lounge Membership
And we include some of the bloopers that happen when we record!

This Is A Voice book link https://amzn.to/3LcpdBP

The full SOVT 1 course plus bonus voice science videos in the Learning Lounge here https://vocal-process-hub.teachable.com/p/the-vocal-technique-learning-lounge 

Book a coaching session with Gillyanne or Jeremy to discover how much more your voice can do
 https://DrGillyanneKayesJeremyFisherInspirationSession.as.me/

Or sign up for the Vocal Process newsletter to read Jeremy's articles here https://vocalprocess.co.uk/build-your-own-tilting-larynx/



Jeremy:

This is a voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher. Hello, and welcome to this. Series five episode one and we are switching it up a bit for this series. Gillyanne, what are we doing?

Gillyanne:

Well, first of all, can I do our little byline? This is a podcast where we get vocal about things voice. So what's the theme for today, Jeremy?

Jeremy:

That was it. That was always switching up. It's just the car crash that was the beginning of that podcast. That's it. Everything else is going to be completely normal from now on. Well you know I love a byline. Okay. So what are we doing in this series?

:

Well, I thought...

Jeremy:

We're doing exactly the same thing

Gillyanne:

I thought we were talking about our this is a voice book? We are. Is that right?

Jeremy:

Yes. Yes. That's the thing that we're doing new this series. Okay. Just to be clear, we're going to be taking the exercises from the voice. Okay. It's going to be an awful lot of outtakes. Yes we are. Okay just to be clear, we are going to be using the exercises from the book. This is a voice, and we're going to be going through an exercise. We're going to be talking through it with you. We're going to be doing it with you. We're going to be giving you all the background, any new information that's come in since we wrote the book, because we did actually write the book in 2015.

Gillyanne:

And it must've been 15 cause it was released in 2016,

Jeremy:

April, 2016

Gillyanne:

as part of the Wellcome exhibition. Yes.

Jeremy:

Also called this as a voice, a great title, by the way. Thank you, Wellcome Trust because that was your title and we love it.

Gillyanne:

It's just a joy. Yes.

Jeremy:

So, okay. We're going to choose an exercise and we're not going to do them in chronological order. We're just going to choose one to start with, and we have chosen exercise number 12 on page 60, which is called straws and bubbles. And this is specifically SOVT. Absolutely. It's an SOVT vibe. Now I want to read out some of the comments that we, uh, have had on the Facebook group, the Singing and the Actor Facebook group. And this is the Facebook group that is for people who've already done at least a three-day course with us.

Gillyanne:

And it's a wonderful group. There's such a great vibe in the group. Uh isn't there, Jeremy we've been running since 2010. And I don't think there's ever been a cross word. I mean, I barely have to organize any moderation. It's such a happy group.

Jeremy:

What, no whips and scorpions?

Gillyanne:

No, no whips and scorpions, nothing like that. There's never any shade on that group. I love it.

Jeremy:

Excellent.

Gillyanne:

Okay, cool. So first quote.

Jeremy:

Yeah, we have some comments. Uh, this is from Grace Courtney "to focus on matching feeling and internal feeling rather than sound was a really big takeaway for me, especially when using SOVT with others."

Gillyanne:

Yeah. And, uh, shall I just do a little add on here? Cause I've recently attended an online conference called PAS7+.

Jeremy:

That was about four days ago wasn't it?

Gillyanne:

Yeah, it was over the weekend- physiology and acoustic of singing. It was a fabulous event. I have to say, organisers at PAS, you totally raise the bar in online conferencing. Yep. And a wonderful keynote from Anne-Maria Laukkanen who is a Finnish researcher. And I think of as being really kind of pretty much queen of SOVT and giving us a real overview of the development of research, et cetera. And one thing that she talked about with regard to takeaways is that when you are doing SOVT in water, it disguises the sound a bit. So you're not judging yourself. And that can be especially helpful for shy vocalists. It's really

Jeremy:

interesting when you're doing SOVT exercises into water, you don't really hear your normal resonance, so it's very difficult to compare it. This is a great one from Kirsty Orr - "as an aside to the obvious SOVT voice benefits. I thought I'd check in with this. I used SOVT straw exercises with the singing group for PTSD suffers that's post traumatic stress disorder and the effects they had on them was noteworthy. They reported feeling instantly relaxed. And more grounded. And I know several of them then permanently keep a glass of water and a straw handy during the day to regulate their feelings. One also reported that it was an immediate remedy to her panic attacks. So double thumbs up for SOVT all around."

Gillyanne:

Do you know this is so moving and I have to say, I mean, this was a post, um, almost a year ago, over a year ago that I clearly didn't spot. I think it's just such a powerful thing and I'm just obviously hypothesizing here, but I'm guessing that that's sort of the blowing and the regulation of the breathing must help to regulate the vagus, stimulate the vagus so that we can get into a calm state. So we'd love to hear from any of you who found that, um, benefit maybe with your clients? I think it's wonderful. Thank you so much Kirstie for sharing that.

Jeremy:

I think it's also, there's a, there's a small part, which is that you are focusing on something very specific when you're doing SOVT in water.

Gillyanne:

Um, now this final quote is from Foggy Nick, aka Duncombe, who is the leader of Southampton music services, um, singing hub, as far as I know. Um, and she said, Uh, straws have been a lifesaver for online lessons, particularly when students arrive stressed and less than happy with things going on in their lives. And this comes from July, 2020, like all of us during lockdown, it has created fun as well as functional work for them to focus on their sound. Focusing on the steady bubbles has such a calming effect on mental health, as well as the benefits for the voice. Who knew?

Jeremy:

So many good benefits. Okay. So we are not going to do the exercise. I'm going to take Gillyanne I'm going to read out what's in the book. I'm going to take Gillyanne through it. And then we're going to say if there's anything in this exercise that we would change now, because we're six years plus on.

Gillyanne:

Um, watch for those moments when he tells me I'm not doing it quite right,

Jeremy:

I would never do that. Uh, Exercise number 12. The basic approach to breathing for singing is the same as in the general warmup exercises, two and three on pages, 54 and 5. And for those of you who don't have the book in front of them at the moment that, uh, exercise two is breathing in rhythm and exercise three is making space in your throat. But for singing the way you release the breath on the way out is more important. This exercise will help you create sufficient airflow for sung sounds. It's also a good way of checking that you're not overworking your voice. You'll need a drinking straw and a large glass, half full of water. We have a bottle here. The medium narrow straw is best, but different straw sizes will give you different levels of resistance. Now, this is something that we would update now because we know more, the medium narrow straw may actually give you too much feedback and too much pressure. And therefore we'd recommend a medium, or a medium/large.

Gillyanne:

Yeah, this is when you're working in water because there's extra resistance provided by the water.

Jeremy:

Yes. And Gillyanne, sit upright. When you do this, you don't want to compromise your breathing by bending down.

Gillyanne:

Certainly not.

Jeremy:

So number one, start to blow down the straw into the glass of water. You're... Hang on, don't do anything yet. I haven't finished. I'm just holding it up to show people because we've got a wonderful tech set up here. Okay. You carry on reading. If you're watching on YouTube, uh, then Gillyanne has a glass of, you're not watching on YouTube. Gillyanne has a tall bottle of water. Water that we've actually dyed blue so that you can see it a bit better. And Oren's SOVT Singer Straw in it.

Gillyanne:

This is the SOVT pro, which has, um, a little bend at the end so that you can keep, uh, not compromise your sitting or standing position. And a lovely little mouthpiece to assist with, um, keeping the seal around the end of the straw.

Jeremy:

Absolutely.

Gillyanne:

Absolutely gorgeous, love it.

Jeremy:

Step one, start to blow down the straw into the glass of water. Your aim is to keep a constant airflow so that you see a steady stream of bubbles emerging in the water. Breathe when you need to.

Gillyanne:

So I'm hoping if you're watching on YouTube, you will see the bubbles, uh, and Jeremy, uh, an important thing to remind people here is we're not using voice we're just blowing.

Jeremy:

It's just air.

Gillyanne:

So the aim is to keep steady stream of bubbles.

Jeremy:

Yeah, excellent. And those bubbles are quite large. Can you maybe make them a little bit smaller by blowing a bit more gently?

Gillyanne:

I did blow quite hard.

Jeremy:

Showing off breath control.

Gillyanne:

Well, I just think it's useful for people to know that when I blew less hard and I took in the same amount of air I lasted longer.

Jeremy:

Yeah, it doesn't work on radio.

Gillyanne:

They can all count!

Jeremy:

Okay. Step two. Now Hum down the straw. Now this is actually, uh, an instruction that we would now change because the difficulty with humming is that your mouth is closed and the air is coming down your nose. And one thing that definitely doesn't work for SOVT exercises is to have any air leaking down your nose because it changes the pressure inside.

Gillyanne:

Yeah do you want me to do it wrong?

Jeremy:

Yeah. Do it wrong. Yeah. This is humming, this is humming and blowing down the straw.

Gillyanne:

Um,

Jeremy:

there's no air going to down the straw at all. So there's no

Gillyanne:

bubbles.

Jeremy:

Fabulous.

Gillyanne:

That was fun.

Jeremy:

Okay. So sing, we're going to say sing down the straw and again, There are some weird instructions here because people go singing. Okay. My mouth is open. The thing about singing down a straw is that your lips need to be sealed around the straw. And it doesn't mean hard. It just means make sure no air is coming out of your lips other than down the straw.

Gillyanne:

Okay. How am I for depth? That's about right.

Jeremy:

Sing down the straw. Keep the airflow gentle. If you splash yourself, you're blowing too hard. You're aiming to maintain the bubble factor while you make a voiced sound.

Gillyanne:

I'm going to be so in trouble. If I splashed, you know what? Because we've got dye in here, water, computer,

Jeremy:

Yeah, my computer, my desk.

Gillyanne:

Yeah.

Jeremy:

Very good. Part three. Start moving between the unvoiced breath and the voiced sing/hum. Taking a breath anytime you need to make sure the bubbles stay constant when you change from unvoiced to voiced and use this rhythm to practice... a four counts of breath, you're very keen. A four count of breath unvoiced followed by a four count of hum or sing, voiced

Gillyanne:

spot the overachiever in the room.

Jeremy:

I think there's two of us! Very good. And if you were watching, uh, the bubble stay the same, and if you're listening to the sound of the bubble stayed the same.

Gillyanne:

I tell you what's quite interesting about this as well. Um, which is that different notes give me slightly different feedback because we know that when we're blowing into water, we get what's called an alternating current. So don't be surprised if that happens with you.

Jeremy:

Uh, step four, after 30 seconds of this lift the end of the straw just out of the water and repeat the pattern of unvoiced voiced. You'll see, hang on. You'll see ripples, you're so keen. You'll see ripples let me finish. You'll see ripples appearing on the surface of the water, they're a visual representation of your airflow. So your aim should be to make sure the ripples stay the same when you move from unvoiced to voiced.

Gillyanne:

Do you know what I'm reading this, perhaps as someone who's neurodivergent when you're reading it aloud and I'm saying. You want me to last out for 30 seconds?

Jeremy:

Good point!

Gillyanne:

Isn't that interesting. How wonderful to be able to critique our own work. So the idea is I just move the surface of the water.

Jeremy:

Oh yeah. I would. I'm going to change the instruction very slightly. Now, if you start in the water and then you lift it while you're blowing until just above the surface.

Gillyanne:

Okay. Right. I want you to watch and people, if you're doing this yourself, then maybe look in a mirror

Jeremy:

Yep, very good, Now go to voiced.

Gillyanne:

I'm going to do that and go into voice at the end, if that's all right.

Jeremy:

very interesting. It's a bit of creaking as well.

Gillyanne:

Yeah, I tell you what was interesting about that. And this could be, you know, just a personal thing with me when I'm hovering over the surface of the water. Cause I can hear a bit of air noise inside, uh, the bottle. And I think I'm very much an auditory processor. I think I was trying to get that feedback at the same time and actually that doesn't work. Can I do it again?

Jeremy:

Absolutely.

Gillyanne:

Um,

Jeremy:

Very good. The ripples stayed the same.

Gillyanne:

Cool.

Jeremy:

Okay. Step five. So far, you've been using the water as resistance to your airflow. Put the glass down and use the tip of your finger to partly cover the end of the straw. Now, when you hum down the straw, the resistance comes from your finger partly blocking the exit. Now we had little problems with this when we were rehearsing it. So I think I'm going to, again, change the instruction slightly and say, cover the end of the straw with your fingertips so that nothing is going to come out and then slide your finger across very slightly so there's a little gap.

Gillyanne:

Okay. And I'm just going to say for any teachers who are working online and use dye in their bottles. Like I did, for Heaven's sake wipe it before you do that.

Jeremy:

Have tissues handy.

Gillyanne:

Absolutely have a tissue to hand. So I'm going to blow with my finger completely blocked.

Jeremy:

Completely. Yep. Nothing's coming out. Okay.

Gillyanne:

And if you're watching this on YouTube, you'll see that buildup of pressure, um, sort of feeding back into my cheeks.

Jeremy:

Yes. Slide your fingers slightly. Good. So it's now your finger is providing the resistance. If you take your finger away completely and then put it close to, or just partly on. Yep. And now put your finger partly on the end of the tube. So it's going to sound really weird on radio. Gillyanne is doing silent exercises. It's good. Okay. Uh, finally take the finger away and hum down the straw. Good. Done. Okay, this is very interesting. That was the six stage exercise. And it says at the very end using these methods of gentle resistance allows your vocal folds to vibrate efficiently without forcing, and it enables you to practice your breath flow. You can use this exercise for a few minutes each morning to get your breathing and your voice going. If your voice gets tired during the day, take a minute out to repeat steps five and six, that's just with the fingertip, with the straw,

Gillyanne:

I've got a little add-on and we were playing around with this when we, when we were doing during the rehearsal. This is a trick I actually learned from Lynn Darnley. If you want to feel the airflow on your hands, lick the hand, or you could put water on it. If, if you lick the hand,

Jeremy:

preferably your own hand,

Gillyanne:

um, you'll get much more of a kinesthetic sensation um,

Jeremy:

and because Gillyanne's hand is now wet, it's much easier to feel the air flow against your hand. Very good. So there's a few things that we change. I mean, this was written nearly seven years ago. There's a few things that we changed with the instructions, but the basic exercise is still very good. Okay. So if you have any questions about that particular exercise, Then, um, go to Speakpipe.com/Vocalprocess and leave us a message.

Gillyanne:

And insights that you might have about using it and how you're using these types of exercises with your own students. Yes.

Jeremy:

And we do have something to announce, which is actually connected with the first. This week, which is we have just released SOVT one, the training course, and SOVT the Voice Science Video Bonuses into the Learning Lounge. Um, and so that's all included in your Learning Lounge fee and I just want to basically share what that's worth! Because when we first sold the SOVT course and the bonus videos that was 95 pounds worth, and now they're going into the Learning Lounge basically to be included. So you don't pay that anymore. The Learning Lounge is 33 pounds, 33 plus tax, wherever you are in the world. Uh, and that gives you a month's access to absolutely everything. So there's well over 700 resources and downloads in there now going back 15 years, I think it's a huge resource.

Gillyanne:

Can I do a little, it's almost like a little flight correction. Um, Jeremy, you know, it's great. You've talked about what the, um, what the value is the monetary value, but there's a lot of other value as well, which is that you are working with Jeremy, me and with Oren. And we are walking you through how to use your SOVT exercises. Jeremy does some wonderful tweaks, you know, where you were working on, making sure that uh, the participants were actually sealing their lips around the end of the straw. And I wonder if it's, you know, because singers can be a bit breath obsessed. I speak as one, who's a chronic overbreather. That, you know, you want to feel what you're doing with your breath, because you're so used to getting that feedback. And so you kind of sneakily let a little bit of air out around the corners of your lips. Also, some people were doing a nasalisation while they were trying to blow in the straw

Jeremy:

and some people were doing breath. As well. So they were actually starting the breath going first and then trying to get the sound on top of it, which was not the exercise that we were doing. Yeah.

Gillyanne:

So it's, it's altogether. It was a two hour training and there were breakout sessions and you can see this kind of tweaking going on there. And then, um, the add-ons, which we call the bonuses.

Jeremy:

Oh, these are all the voice science information...

Gillyanne:

It's about 15 tracks.

Jeremy:

Oren is very, very good at breaking down voice science, into understandable language. And so he will take you through in these, all of these bonus videos, he'll take you through aerodynamic theory. He'll take you through all sorts of things to do with SOVT and why it works scientifically.

Gillyanne:

Um, do you know what I watched the bonus session twice and I'd made quite a lot of notes on it. I found it really helpful.

Jeremy:

Uh, and if you're, if you're worried about being pushed for time, uh, we've broken the course down into five - eight minute videos. There's one video that's 20 minutes, which is part of the breakout session. And we decided to let that run. But basically if you have a spare five minutes, drop in, watch a video, make notes, drop out again. Yeah.

Gillyanne:

You don't have to sit there for two hours. We know how busy people are. And also, you know, people are still getting screen fatigue. Aren't they.

Jeremy:

Um, so that's the end of the first episode in the new format where we're going to take you through the exercises and explaining bits of the differences that we do now, uh, coming up, I can't remember what's coming up I have no idea for the next episode. We're going to choose another exercise and take you through that as well. Uh, if you like this format, then please do let us know. We are still going to be doing longer interviews and longer chats with people and they will drop in every so often. Uh, but series five is basically to do with this is a voice exercises, so we will see you next time. Okay. this is a voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher.