Riva Capellari

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Located in Brookside in the heart of Kansas City

The Vocal Gym

The focus of exercising is to condition our muscles and connective tissue for optimal performance. Staying “well-conditioned” helps prevent injuries and soreness after physical activity. These principles also apply to vocal training.

Broadly speaking, there are two basic types of muscles. Type I muscles are slow but have a high endurance level. They are involved in activating major movements. Type IIA muscles respond faster, but fatigue quickly. Another Type II muscle (B or X in the voice), is a combination of the two: fast, but with a higher endurance rate than Type IIA.

So how does this apply to the “vocal gym”?

Type I muscles are needed for days of pro-longed speech and singing. Strong postural muscles maintain proper alignment which is necessary for full, deep breathing; both essential for healthy, long-term phonation.

Type IIX muscles are active in the closing (repeated often in speech and singing) and the shortening (pitch change) action of the vocal folds. They also protect the airways by preventing foreign elements from entering the lungs. These muscles are strengthened with rapid scale, staccato, and arpeggio exercises.

Just as in other physical exercise, stretching  improves and maintains vocal flexibility. Sirening up and down the scale in semi-occluded positions (hums, trills, Zs etc.) stretches and adducts the vocal folds with minimum collision, working the “pitch” (cricoidthryroid) muscle while maintaining proper lung pressure throughout. This trains the muscles without undue force.

Vocology: The Science and Practice of Vocal Habilitation. I. Titze & K.Verdolini Abbott. NCVS. 2012.

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