Why do SOVTs Work Wonders on the Voice?

Why do SOVTs work wonders on the voice?

Back pressure.

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

Back to Reset Your Tired Tense Voice – Like Magic

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.


  • The suggested SOVT exercises suffer from one drawback – they are not related to actual singing where the voice has to negotiate all vowels and consonants and breathing points plus carry the voice through the break-points in an ever-changing continuum. What is needed is a set of ‘tools’ with which to adjust and control and guide the voice across its whole range. Building on my unusual experience as both a singer and natural trumpet player I have devised such a set of tools – ‘Calisthenics for the Singing Voice’ – The programme uses selected vowel sequences (importantly including the SOVT ee and oo shapes as space linking and voice positioning aids and vocalises over a selection of scale and melodic patterns. in which the voice criss-crosses the breaks both from above and below. Initially the exercises span a comfortable range for all voices to establish the patterns, but the complete programme provides accompaniments in 6 overlapping pitch ranges covering the possible voice range. Demonstrations of the exercises in the medium range (MR) can be heard and seen at
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    The programme is explained and documented at

    < http://www.voicebuilder.co.uk/index.html