Why do SOVTs work wonders on the voice?
The magic of SOVT exercises is that the back pressure essentially decompresses the vocal folds.
This makes your vocal folds do several healthy things.
Firstly, your vocal folds are pushed slightly apart, which is important for singers who habitually tighten their throats when singing.
Secondly, the vocal folds close with full tissue contact all the way along their surfaces, preventing air leaking through when it shouldn’t.
Thirdly, the back pressure from the vocal tract meets the air pressure from the lungs and they almost cancel each other out.
Therefore, the vocal folds vibrate with much less air pressure – it is easier to produce sound.
Finally, they barely touch as they vibrate, making SOVTs very gentle on the voice.
Shelagh Davies says you can use an SOVT to warm up your voice and get it in the right place before you sing.
Therapists and teachers use SOVTs for training, vocal rehabilitation and for safely exercising the voice when it is not in tiptop shape.
Kathy Alexander is a writer, singer, vocal coach and choir director. She has appeared in Vision TV’s Let’s Sing Again, The Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra and the Victoria International Jazz Festival (main stage). You can see more of Kathy’s work here.