Winding down means lowering your pulse, slowing down your breathing and reducing adrenaline levels -says Daniel Borch.
When the gig is over, your adrenaline (epinephrine) is flowing and the muscles in your larynx are well-supplied with blood, lubricated and stretched.
The larynx will often move up slightly after you have sung for a while which means that the vocal folds are stretched more than is usual for your speaking voice and your voice will be higher.
Talking at this higher pitch can wear your voice out. The liberal flow of blood to the vocal folds can lead to swelling of the vocal folds or mucosa when they cool down. As is true of all physical activity, it is important to stretch the muscle fibres so that they don’t stiffen and can return to their original condition as quickly as possible.
Winding down means lowering your pulse, slowing down your breathing and reducing adrenalin levels.
To slow our breathing down, we use the breathing exercise we used before the gig.
Breathing out exercise
- Place your right index and middle fingers between your eyebrows.
- Place your thumb and ring finger on either side of your nostrils.
- Close one nostril with your thumb and breathe deeply and slowly through the other one.
- Close the other nostril with your ring finger and repeat the breathing pattern through the open nostril.
- Close your eyes and repeat calmly for two minutes.
Stretching Exercise – Neck
- Slowly tilt your head to the left. Breathe.
- Tilt your head to the right. Breathe.
- Lift your head back up to its normal position.
- Place your hands on your collarbones and pull downwards.
- Slowly tilt your head backwards while opening your mouth. Jut your bottom jaw out (as if you had an under bite) 3-5 times.
- Let your head fall slowly forward until your chin is almost resting on your chest (don’t force it). Breathe.
Stretching Exercise – Back
- Interlock your fingers behind your back and push your chest out. Breathe in.
- Push your hips forward and then stretch your back like a cat. Breathe out.
Vocal Cool Down
Cooling down is a process that includes stretching of the vocal folds and relaxing the larynx. This is vital to avoid vocal fold swelling after intensive voice use.
Below is an exercise called Back to Square One:
- Begin by singing softly in the falsetto register. Then let the chest register take over as you progress further down in your range. Sing softly all the time.
The possibility of post-gig voice care varies from situation to situation, but it is important that you give yourself five minutes after every gig. If there is no where you can be alone, go to the rest room!
The above article is an excerpt from The Ultimate Vocal Voyage by Daniel Borch pp. 90-91
My Reaction to This Week's Singing Competition Entry
Jen Street - Overcome
I enjoyed your song and your singing. You have a natural stage presence. I’d like you to try to sing straight into the mic. When you sing above it you lose a lot of the nice bass sound, and also some volume. As you are mainly singing in “falsetto” or what some would call mix or head voice, you don´t need such high pressure from your breath support – try singing this song without pushing so much air. I would like to see you bring in more chest register as well. This will give you more vocal tools and expand your ability.
Daniel Zangger Borch is one of Sweden’s most recognised vocal coaches. He has been a regular on adjudicating panels for popular TV shows such as ‘Idol’, ‘True Talent’ and ‘X-Factor’. He is also a professional singer, recording artist (with seven albums) and songwriter. Daniel holds a PhD in Music performance and is Head of the Voice Centre, Stockholm and Zangger Vocal Art. His new book, book “The Ultimate Vocal Voyage” has been released internationally.