Semi-Occluded What | What’s Behind the Name Singdaptive | Singing is No Worse Than Talking for Covid Spread

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The paper cup, the straw, and the lip trill are all voice-freeing exercises.
Originally published: September 1, 2020

Semi-Occluded What?

Have you ever felt like your voice wasn’t working in the middle of a long rehearsal? Have you felt tension building up in your throat but didn’t know what to do about it? There is a near-instant fix to get rid of tension and help you sing better. S.O.V.T. (Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract) exercises can reset your voice like magic when it is tired or tense. Grab a paper cup, place it over your mouth and nose then vocalize. Or, grab a straw, place the tip in some water and hum a scale or some long tones through it. Or just do some plain-old humming! These are all S.O.V.T. exercises.

S.O.V.T. exercises narrow or partially block the passageway (i.e. your mouth) where sound travels out of you, which creates gentle back pressure. Whenever you vocalize with this back pressure, it balances out the air pressure that is coming from your lungs. How does it help? This back pressure effectively decompresses your vocal folds, releasing tension and making them vibrate more efficiently. If you do S.O.V.T. exercises correctly, you can actually teach your vocal folds to vibrate in this healthy way all the time. These exercises are very gentle and therefore can be used to exercise the voice while it is healing from illness or injury.

Another bonus of S.O.V.T. exercises, is that – since your vocal tract is partially closed or blocked – they can be quieter than regular singing. That is why we included them in our Developing Your Voice in Isolation Course as examples of quieter ways to sing when you are stuck at home. Use them as warmups, cool downs, vocal conditioning or even use them mid-performance to reset your voice – S.O.V.T. exercises are a singer’s best friend.

What’s Behind the Name Singdaptive?

From Star Trek to wearing mixing bowls on your head, this Singdaptive chat with the four founders hilariously explains how we arrived at our name.

Singing is No Worse Than Talking for Covid Spread

After a high proportion of singers caught COVID at a choir rehearsal back in March, many have feared that singing is ESPECIALLY bad for the spread of the coronavirus. Scientists have completed a study and have discovered that loud speaking AND singing are equally bad for spreading the virus.

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