Get to know your voice better - singers & speakers & teachers & voice lovers | Natasa Nahtigal | Skillshare

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Get to know your voice better - singers & speakers & teachers & voice lovers

teacher avatar Natasa Nahtigal, Vocal Coach & Doctor of medicine

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (1h 4m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:06
    • 2. Our body as an instrument

      7:02
    • 3. Airy vs. clear vs. tense voice

      4:28
    • 4. Colour of our voice

      7:52
    • 5. Breathing = fuel for our voice

      12:31
    • 6. Pronuniciation training

      11:48
    • 7. Relaxed body = relaxed voice

      8:22
    • 8. Amazing straw exercise

      4:51
    • 9. Tips for vocal health

      3:46
    • 10. Conclusion

      0:52
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About This Class

Our voice - the most amazing instrument on this planet!

Over this first course I will show you basic facts about the human voice. In a very simple and fun way we’ll go through the main areas - how we create sound, how we create low and high notes, how we get our vocal colour and vocal power, I will give you tips for optimal breathing and optimal body posture and I will share with you a couple of advices on vocal health.

Through my years of experience, I found out that knowing these facts really helps people when they are working on their voice – whether it is singing or speaking. If we know how our voice works we start to use it more efficiently right away and likewise, if we are doing any kind of vocal exercises we start doing them accurately and in a healthier way. 

This course can benefit people who use their voice a lot (singers, speakers, teachers, callcenter agents,...) and it can also benefit people who would just like to explore what their voice can do.

At the end of each lesson I will give you a short exercise/project, so you can start to explore your voice right away and see what it is capable of.

All you need for this class is your voice and the courage to explore it. :)

Meet Your Teacher

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Natasa Nahtigal

Vocal Coach & Doctor of medicine

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: Do you ever think about your voice? Do you know that your vocal cords are size of your fingernail and that when you talk, they vibrate around 200 times per second? Did you know that when you hum or sing, you boost your immune system, you raise your happy hormones and you lower your stress hormones? Hi guys, I'm Natasa. I'm a doctor of medicine who decided not to work as a doctor and teach voice instead. For the past 17 years, I've been working as a vocal coach with singers, speakers, teachers, and if I'm honest lately with a lot of people who would just like to open up and explore their voice. I was also a speaker on Slovenian TEDx, where I talked about our voice as an important part of our identity. In this course, I would like to share with you basic facts of human voice. Through years of my experience, I've found out that knowing this space really help us when we train voice whether it is singing or speaking. You will see how your body produces sound, how you create low and high voice, where you get your vocal color and vocal power. I will share with you tips on optimal breathing and optimal body posture, both really important for our voice, and I will give you a couple advices on your vocal health. At the end of each lesson, I will give you short exercise so you can start to explore your voice right away. I am really happy to be a part of Skillshare community and I hope that knowledge I'll be sharing with you guys will be beneficial for your life. Thank you for watching this trailer and I hope to see you in the first lesson. 2. Our body as an instrument: Do you know what sound is? Sound is a type of energy made by vibration of an object, so when any object vibrates, it causes the movement of surrounding air particles. For example, when I clap you can hear my clap. What happens here? My clapping hands are causing the movement of the close air particles. They start to move and vibrate. These particles then bump in the particles close to them and then they start to vibrate too. Then this ones bump into some more particles, and that's how sound travels. It's like when you throw a stone in the water and you see the wave ripples. First you see bigger waves, then you see smaller and smaller and smaller. The same is with sound. We call this movement sound waves and it keeps going until it runs out of energy. If you are near me, this energy hits your ears and you can hear my clap. If you are far away from me, this energy loses its energy and you will not hear my clap. In our body, sound is created by vocal cords and they actually clap. Our vocal cords are two folds in our larynx and when they clap, they look like this. Take this now. This is how they look in real life from above you when we look at them with a camera. Did you see? They clap. First let's do an exercise together and find out where our vocal cords are. Put two fingers on your chin and then slowly travel down to the bump you will feel in your larynx. This is called Adam's apple in men. You guys have this part way bigger than us girls, but still we also have a little bump here too. Stop your fingers here and let's do what we sometimes do in the morning This was good. Do you feel the vibrations behind your fingers? Well, these are your vocal cords. You actually can hear small little claps of your cords. This vocal cords here are changing the air to the sound waves and we get the sound. Do you know how big your vocal cords are? What would you say? When I ask this to people, they say something like this. But for real our vocal cords are really small. They're in the size of ring fingernails in women and thumb nails in men. Really small, and just one pair of them. They can actually create 4-5 octaves of notes. This is like this size of piano compared to this. Because men's vocal cords are bigger, you guys have bigger Adam's apple, you guys have lower sound than us girls. Now, let's move forward. Depending on how fast our vocal cords clap they create different sound pitches. For low voices, they clap slower Then for high pitches, they clap faster. When I first heard how fast our vocal cords can flap per second I was amazed. For example, when I talk right now my vocal cords clap around 150-200 times per second. If I sing this note they clap 440 times per second, and for really high opera sounds, they can flap over 1,000 times per second. Can you imagine our human tissue? That's why we don't say that vocal cords clap, we say that they vibrate. But the vibration in slow motion is clapping. It's easier to explain it in this way. Now, how can our vocal cords, just two folds, even vibrate slow or fast? How do we do that? Let's check this video again and focus on what is happening to the vocal cords on low and high note. This is recorded by an instrument that slows down the vocal cords motion, so we can really see the whole process more clearly. Did you see that vocal cords are shorter and thicker on low notes, and they're longer and thinner on high notes? Yes, our vocal cords stretch and contract. Let's do one exercise together. Put your hands like this and pretend that you have an elastic in your hands, and now we will stretch it and do the sound Let's go from low to high voice This is like any kind of string. If we stretch it, it vibrates faster and it sounds higher. For example, the guitar string. When you stretch it, it creates higher sound. This is the basis of how our body create sound. We create sound with our vocal cords and depending on how fast they vibrate they create low and high sounds. For this lesson's project explore your range. Try to find the lowest sound that you can do and try to find the highest one. Play with your voice that's the most important. If you there to share video of you doing this with us that would be awesome. I will share a video of me with you. Hope you like this lesson. Next lesson will be about how our body creates different qualities of sounds and how we get to play with them. 3. Airy vs. clear vs. tense voice: In the previous lesson, we saw that our voice is created by vibration of our vocal cords, and then depending on how fast they vibrate, we create low and high voices. Now let's move on. Depending on how, not how fast, but how our vocal cords vibrate, they create different sound quality. I will explain this with the following exercise and let's do it together. We will clap and we will create sound. In the middle, we will clap from the bottom to the top. On this side, we will clap just with the upper parts of our hands, and we will do this sound. On the other side, we will clap really strongly and create this sound. When our vocal cords vibrate from the bottom to the top, they create clean sound as you heard. When our vocal cords don't touch each other perfectly, and they touch each other just with this upper part, they create an airy sound. When our vocal cords vibrate using too much muscles around them, they create tense sound. Now, let's play together. Let's clap and create sound. The other way of saying this is that on this side, we have too much air, and on this side, we have too much muscle, and here is the balance between these two. We have scale with muscle and air. If it's too much air, it sounds like if it's too much muscle, and if it's balanced, it sounds like this. In vocal coaching, we search for a balanced voice. This middle one. Balanced voice, gives us long-term vocal health and it's a must when we start to play with our vocal power and when we want to create bigger and fuller voice. But you will see this in the next lesson. Why is this good to know in practice? You saw that you can control these three sounds. Now, for example, when you sing and there is a part of a song where you're not happy with your voice. Think about what you're doing with your voice. Listen to it. Do you have too much air? Do you have too much muscle, so do you sing like or you sing like and if you hear that your voice is too tense, then add a little bit of air, and you will get balance. Or if your voice is too airy, then use less air and more muscle, and you will always get to the balanced voice. One more thing. Sure, an airy and tense voice are completely okay sometimes. We need them for our expression. Sometimes we need to whisper, sometimes we need to yell, and this is all healthy as long we don't use this kind of voice all the time. As long we know how we get back from this sound or this sound to this sound. For this lesson's project, take a couple minutes and play with an airy, tense, and clear voice. If you can record it and share it with us, it would be awesome. In the next lesson, I will show you how our body colors our voice to unique vocal color. 4. Colour of our voice: In the previous lessons, we saw that our voice is produced by the vibration of our vocal cords. Then depending on how fast they vibrate, they create low and high sounds. That depending on how they vibrate, they create different qualities of our sound. Tense, clear, and airy. Now, the sound that our vocal cords produce is nothing like the sound of our voice. If we would put a microphone right above our vocal cords, they wouldn't sound like our voice. It would sound something like this. Depending on how high or low I was speaking. Where do we get vocal color then? I will explain this through the trumpet example. The trumpet player does something like this. Well, this is nothing like the sound of the trumpet. This sound that he creates then travels through the trumpet and in this tube it gets power and color. If a trumpet player had a couple of different trumpets, the sound of each trumpet would sound different. Our vocal cords are in fact a little trumpet player. They only create sound. Then this sound travels through our human trumpet, our pharynx, our mouth and our nasal cavity. Here it gains are vocal color. Because each of us has a different trumpet, we have different sizes of jaws, teeth, tongue, nose, cheeks. Each of us has a completely unique trumpet, and that's why each of us has a completely unique voice. Now let's talk a little bit about human trumpet. Where is pharynx? Most people usually show this part because this part hurts us when we are ill. But it's not only here, pharynx is a tube and it's pretty long. In adult human, it is around 12-15 centimeters, that's about five inches. Let's look at this picture. Pharynx starts behind the nose cavity and then it passes our mouth. It continues that it passes our larynx and it continues to esophagus. This is our trumpet, pharynx, nasal and mouth cavity. Let's do one exercise together. Put your hand over your neck and yawn. What did you feel? Did you feel that your larynx went down? Now, swallow the saliva. Let's do it again. What did you feel? Did you feel that your larynx went up and then down and now, let's just breathe? Did you feel that your larynx stays relaxed? Now we will create sounds and we will raise and lower our larynx like this. Did you see I was highering my larynx and I was lowering it? Did you hear how my voice was changing? Did you hear that when I had my larynx in the most natural position in the middle, my voice was the fullest, the clearest [inaudible] , and the strongest compared to [inaudible] or [inaudible] . We can do one small conclusion here. For a good and full voice, we need to keep our larynx in a natural position. We keep our trumpet the longest but not too long. Let's move on. The size of our trumpet is given to us. We can't change the size of our jaw or our tongue or our lips. But we can change the shape of it. This is also the reason why we can create words in million different colors of our voice. One moment, we can put our tongue backwards, then we can put it forward and we can put our lips like this or like this. Or we can open our mouth more and we don't open our mouth. It always changes the sound of my voice. Because we can create different shapes of our trumpet, these shapes color our voice to different vowels, consonants, and we get words and the ability to communicate. We are actually the only instrument on this planet that can change its shape every second. That's why we're also the only instrument that has the ability to create words. Like when you get the piano, piano can't create words and it is always the same. Actually not only that we can create words, we can also say the same word in many different versions like love, love, love, love. Good imitators are pros in this one. They're really good at shaping their mouth to get a certain kind of shape that colors their voice to the sounds like some other person has, or like animal or character. Why is this important to know when we come to singing or speaking? Well, when you know how your body creates different colors of your voice, you definitely start to play with it more. Sometimes I say that each of us have a closet of 1000 different vocal colors. Still, most of us are for real, using just like 10 of those all the time. Because we don't know that it is possible to use thousands of them with just different shape of our mouth. This is also good to know for speakers or singers because if you're able to play with your vocal colors more, you will present your song or your speech in a way more interesting way. Yeah, try to explore what does different tongue position, different jaw opening, different lip position do to your voice. Today's task, go in front of the mirror and look at your pronunciation, singing or speaking, whatever. Then think about how you are opening your mouth when you speak, how you move your lips when you speak. Then try to say one word in 10 different vocal colors, and then share it with us, please. Have fun play with your voice and see you in the next lesson. In the next lesson, I will share with you six tips for breathing that will definitely help your voice. See you soon. 5. Breathing = fuel for our voice: When we talk about our voice and vocal training, we always talk about breathing to why. Our exhale is actually the one that puts her vocal cords into motion. The exhaling air heats the vocal cords from below and they start to vibrate. Talking or singing consists of inhaling, then speaking or singing while exhaling. Then again inhaling and speaking and singing while exhaling and so on. To inhale is important because with optimal inhale, we set our body and our vocal cords in the right spot for vocalizing. For example, if my inhale is like this, my whole vocal instrument gets tense and my voice sounds like this now and if my inhale is like this, I look open and my voice is open. Inhale sets our instrument to the right place. Then the exhale is important because like we said, it is the one that actually starts the vibration of your vocal cords. It puts our vocal cords into motion. If we have a nice even exhale while we're talking or singing, our vocal cords can work at their optimum. But if our exhale is too heavy, like this, HA, that's why a lot of singers do, then too much pressure from below hits our vocal cords and they need to use more muscle tension to keep creating sound. Or on the opposite, if we don't use enough air, like this, then our vocal cords can even create the power that they can. For a great voice, we need an even exhale, not too heavy, and not too weak, balance. Sometimes people come to my lessons and they say, well, "I need to learn how to breathe" but I really need to say to you, that's not true. Sure, we all know how to breathe. If we are alive, we know how to breathe. But maybe our breathing is just not optimal. Since most of us live under conditions of constant stress, most of us all day long breathe like this. Like really very shallow, and in just the upper parts of our lungs. Optimal breathing, will help us to relax our body and gets more air into our lungs. That's why it will also help our voice singing or speaking. Besides that, it will also help us when we do any sports activities. I will give you six short tips you can train so your breathing becomes more optimal. Tip number one, when you inhale, try not to suck the air into your lungs like this. Try to allow your body to accept the air. This one is a really good one and it's true. If I say to breathe in, then most people will do this. If I say to just accept the air, then most people will do this. This is the right way. Tip number two. That one is relax your jaw. When our jaw joint is tense, we cannot really relaxly accept air into our lungs. Try this. Tense your jaw joint like this and breathe in through your mouth. You see it's really hard to be just accepting the air. Now, we'll do this one together. Put your fingers here, just in front of your jaw joint and we will do a bite. Do you feel that a muscle gets tensed under this? We will try to relax this one. We will massage it from top-down. That feels good. Now do the inhale. Do you see how much easier it got? Well, we need to have relaxed jaw joint if we breathe in through our nose or mouth. Try to breathe in through your nose with tensed jaw joint. Do you see? You, again, are sucking the air in and tensing your throat. Try to relax your jaw and breath in through your nose. It's also way easier. Now, one more thing that I get asked a lot, do we breathe through our nose or our mouth? Actually, our nose was designed for breathing. When we inhale through our nose, it heats up the air, it cleans up the air. That's why it is recommended to breathe in through our nose. But singing and talking are the exceptions though. Because we sing and talk through our mouths, it's easier to breathe in through our mouth and then tell something. I'm telling you something like this, hey, hey. If I tried to breathe in through my nose, hey, hey, it takes way longer and it's harder. If we breathe in when we talk or sing through our mouths, it's faster and easier. But if you have a long break between your speech or your song, then use your nose in this break. Tip number two, relax your jaw. Tip number three. When you inhale, try not to raise your shoulders like this. We do this often and this one really affects the color of our voice. Listen to this voice compared to this voice. It's completely different. Let's do an exercise together. Let's lift our shoulders and then drop them down. Again. I'll try to breathe in with shoulders like this. Tip number four, do you know that your rib cage is a moving structure? Look at this video. If we are using this movement, we get way more air into our lungs and also more oxygen to our body. But because like I said, a lot of us are living under constant stress and we breathe very shallowly, we're not used to this movement. Let's try to fill this movement and let's see together. Put your hands on your chest like this and breathe in. Try to move your ribs while you inhale. Actually, your rib should put your hands out. Do you feel it? Sometimes it's hard to do it at first, but when we get used to it, it's really cool because we actually feel that we get more air into our body. This is really important for singing and speaking because it helps us to create longer phrases and we don't run out of air that fast. Try to do ten breaths like this and let me know how you feel after. Tip number five. While inhaling, your belly should go out a little bit. Not too much. I'm not saying you need to push out your belly. That's not okay either, but you just need to be so relaxed that your belly goes out a little bit. Why should it go out? When we inhale, air goes to our lungs and they expand. We have diaphragm here. This is a muscle that's is between our lungs and our belly. When our lungs expand, the diaphragm goes down and it pushes our belly organs down and they push our belly out. In case we have our value really tense like this, we're holding it in, then we're not allowing our lungs to really expand in an optimal way. This one is really hard for us girls because we were used to holding our belly in. But I now I say to you you can just relax her belly. It will be way better for breathing, for your voice, and also for your body. Let's do this exercise together now. We will put hands on our belly. Try to relax your shoulders. We will breathe in through our mouth or through our nose and we will feel that our belly pushes our hands out. Let's do it a couple of times. If this one is hard for you, then you can also lie down and do it laying. It will be a little easier. This is tip number 5. Let your belly feel relaxed and it should go out when you breathe in. Then it should slowly go in when you exhale or talk or sing. Tip number six. When you talk or sing, try to exhale evenly. This is really easy to say, but when we're trying to do it, it's really hard to say or we're like exhaling evenly or not. We have a really cool exercise to train this. You should take a bottle of water and like regular straw, and you just blow air into the water. If the water bubbles evenly, your exhale is even. Now we will add sound. You should add. Again, if water bubbles evenly, that means that my exhale is even. Then I can go up and down and still try to keep the even bubbling of water. That means that also for higher notes, your exhale is even. Try to play with this one. This one is really good. We will actually talk more about strikes exercises for vocal health. But these ones are really good for just training your exhale. These were six tips for optimal breathing. Sometimes I say this to my students, right is six tips on some paper and put it on the wall. Then each morning just choose one from the list and then think about it ten times a day. Well, a couple of times a day. Focus on that one. That's how you will slowly get more control of all your breathing. You will be more aware of what you're doing and you will actually slowly gain better breathing patterns. This is also your project for this lesson. Write the six tips on paper and circle the one that you'll be focusing on today. Hope this lesson will be beneficial for your life. In the next lesson, I will talk about pronunciation. See you soon. 6. Pronuniciation training: When we train voice for speaking or singing, we train three main things. First, our breathing. We saw that breathing is important because inhale relaxes our body and sets our vocal cords to the right place and exhale actually sets vocal cords into motion, so it is important that it's even. Then we train our vocal cords. We saw that depending on how fast they vibrate, they create different sound pitches and depending on how they vibrate, they create different vocal qualities, airy, clean, tense. Then we train movement of jaw, lips, and tongue. With this, we are changing the shape of our trumpet, remember, and that's how we color our voice into different colors, vowels, and consonants. In this lesson, we will focus on the last one, our pronunciation. Good pronunciation is intensive but also relaxed. We don't want too much of pronunciation like this, we don't want to speak like this but also not too little like this because then people don't understand us. The way we talk comes from characteristics of our language, our culture, our personality, our parents and our teachers. When we are little, we observe people around us and we imitate them. For example, people in Slovenia, my country, most of us talk almost without opening our mouth. We talk like this. It sounds like this. [inaudible] I know you didn't understand me but it sounds like this and it looks like this. That's why when I started training singing, I first needed to teach my jaw to open more and I needed to teach my lips and my tongue to work more. I will show you four basic exercises that you can train for a better pronunciation. First, exercise for your lips. It sounds like this. With this exercise, we train our lips and also our vocal cords. This one is also scientifically proven to be very healthy for our voice. With this one, there are two things really important. First is energy on your lips. The second one is nicely balanced vocal closure. Remember that one? Do this with me. Now, let's do it together. It always needs to be both lips and this balanced voice. It shouldn't be too airy or it shouldn't be too tight. Again, we're searching for this balanced middle. Now, do one long node with this. It doesn't matter where. You don't need to do the sound I do. It can be [inaudible] or [inaudible] . It doesn't matter. You can move your head a little bit so you relax your neck. Then, let's go up and down. Also, for talking, it is good that you use different pitches so that you don't talk all the time on the same note because your talk will be less interesting. That's why also this kind of exercises are really good for talking too, or you can go from up-down. Then you play with your voice and that's how you train your lips, your vocal cords, and your pronunciation. For singers, you can actually do the whole song with this sound. This was an exercise for our lips. Now, we will continue to do an exercise for our tongue. I would actually say that too much tension in our tongue is one of the main enemies of a full and relaxed voice, whether it is singing or speaking. A lot of times, we do this and we're like tensing our tongue and we're pulling it back. For good speaking and singing, we need to have our tongues relaxed. Exercise for this is little funny and it goes like this. You put your tongue out and you do this. This one is again, good for your tongue and also your vocal cords because you don't want to have it too airy or too tense. It needs to be balanced. Then you can go up and down. This exercise was really, really hard for me. Actually, if I'm honest with you, I wasn't even teaching it for the first 10 years of my vocal coaching career because I couldn't do it. If you're facing this problem, that you can't do it right now, it's worth to keep on doing it because I'm sure you'll get to that. Then we'll do another exercise for our tongue and this one is with our tongue in. Then we go up and down, or down and up. This is also really good and this exercise and the other one are also scientifically proven to be really healthy for our voice, so why not do them? You can do this before you have speech or before you go singing and that's a great way to train your tongue and to train it that your pronunciation will be better later. Now, we will continue to exercise for our jaw. We said that we need to have intensive but relaxed lips, intensive but relaxed tongue, but our jaw needs to just be relaxed. It shouldn't be stuck on one position. It should move freely. Not too much or not too little. We were already talking about our jaw in the breathing section. We said that if this jaw joint is relaxed, then we can really inhale correctly, we can really accept the air in our lungs. First, let's repeat the one exercise we did in breathing section. Put your fingers here and massage this muscle. Now, we will do this one a little different. We will go from down to the top and we will continue above our ears, so above our ears and around our ears. We will do this again. From the bottom, we relax this muscle then we continue up behind the ears and down. Why are we doing this exercise? Put your hands here just above your ears and do a bite. Do you feel that there is a muscle that gets tense under your hands? This muscle also really affects our jaw joint and that's why it also affects our talking. With this exercise, we actually relax this muscle. It does feel great, right? Let's do it again. It really feels good to me. Good. Now, we will do another exercise for our jaw and we will look up and we will drop our jaw down like this, like it's dead. It falls down. Then we will look back straight and we will keep this feeling in our jaw joint. This is really good if you do a couple of times a day, especially if you come from a country where the language is really, really tight, like ours. If you start doing this, then your pronunciation will get better and better through time. We will end this lesson with my favorite pronunciation exercise. Take a pencil or you can take your finger and put it in your mouth like this and hold it with your teeth. Now, speak like that. Hey, how are you? With this one, you can train your lips, your tongue, and your jaw at the same time, like this. Then talk like this or you can put pencil like this and talk like this. It's really great because you train all three things together. You will see that it really helps your voice to get clearer and more expressive. Let's do this together now with a finger. Put it like this and we will count to 10. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Do it again. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Do it again. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. I'll do it without. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. It's completely different feeling, almost like when you're doing with your finger or with a pencil all of your muscles will start to hurt, so you will know that you're doing the right kind of fitness. For this lesson's project, record yourself while doing the exercise for your lips, this one, and try to do the longest that you can, and don't stop and don't breath in. Try to do the longest that you can and let's compete with this one. Please send the recording and I will send the recording too and yeah, let's compete with this one, let's have fun. Then in the next lesson, we'll go through three main body tensions that can affect our voice and we will see how we can relax them and how we can get fuller and more relaxed voice. Have fun. 7. Relaxed body = relaxed voice: Let's do a short recap. For training our voice, we need to train breathing, we need to train our vocal cords, we need to train our pronunciation, our jaw, lips, and tongue. Then we have something that hold all of these together, and this is our whole body. Our whole body, it's like a framework around this more important parts of our instrument. This is really cool to realize because mostly, when people start to work on their voices, they focus on this part only. They're like, "Okay, I need to train singing and what am I doing here?" But actually, our whole body affects our sound. Everything in our body is connected. Any excessive muscle tension in any part of our body affects our voice. Listen to this. When I am tense my voice sounds like this, and when I'm relax, my voice sounds like this, it's very open. Sometimes, people are really surprised by how much their voice changes with only relaxing their body. Their voice gets more range, more power, and way nicer color. Actually, relaxing our body could also be the first part of vocal training. Now, let's explain why our body really affects our voice. Have you ever heard about phasia? We are made of bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, vessels, organs, and so on. Phasia is the one thing that connects all this together so that all of these in the right place. It connects us from our head to our feet, so actually, we could say that our feet are connected to our head. Any part of phasia that is too tense affects our voice, even if it's in our feet. Also, our muscles are really intertwined. For example, we have one muscle here that goes from knee to our spine, and here, we have muscles that go from our spine to our thorax, and this one goes to our neck, and our neck is connected to our tongue, and our tongue to our larynx. You see, everything is connected. That's why too much tension in any part of our body affects our voice. Let's talk about three main body tensions that can affect our voice and are really easy to fix. First one is our neck and our head position. Our vocal codes are in our neck. If my neck is like this, like what I do a lot of times when on the phone, my neck muscle need to work way more to hold my head than if my neck is like this. This comparing to this. Like I said, in our modern days, because we spend so much time on phones, we're getting more and more used to this pose. This pose is not good for our body, nor our voice. I'll give you a cool exercise. Take a part of your hair on the top of your head and pull it up. You would try to lift your head up. It's like you pretend that there's some string lifting your head up. Now, do you feel how relaxed your neck gets? This feels great. Another tip is tucking your chin in. Put your fingers on your chin and move your head a little bit in, tuck your chin in, and then move your head left and right. Now, with this one, pretend that your head is on a ball and it easily moves around. This is really a great way to relax our neck and put our head in optimal position for singing or speaking. Especially for singers, if you want to sing high notes, this position really limits our range. Try to do this first or this, and then sing. This is the first excessive tension. Let's go to the second, our shoulders. I will show you a great exercise for relaxing our shoulders. Put your hand here. Here is your pectoral muscle. It goes from your sternum to your shoulders. When this muscle gets tense, it does this. We have it on both sides, here and here. We do this often when we are stressed, when we're afraid, tired. It's almost like we want so hide ourselves like this, and our voice gets small and closed up too. Let's massage this muscle from here to our shoulder. Pretend you're making this muscle longer, pull your shoulder down and make this muscle longer. How do you feel? Feels good, right? Do you see now my shoulder? It looks completely different than this one on this side. Let's do it on the other side too. Do you see now, I look way more open? Not just that this really gives me the ability to open my voice high even when I sing, it also give me way more confident look, and that's why my voice sounds more confident. Let's go to the third excessive tension that can really affect our voice. This is our pelvis and our knees. Listen to my voice now. The difference is only in a position of my pelvis and my knees. We often hold our knees in this locked up position like this, and then we put our pelvis out, and we often add our phone and put our neck like this. We have three things that are a little bit off balance. For a relaxed voice, we'll try to unlock our knees and we'll try to put our pelvis a little bit more to the front, like this. This one will not only help your voice, it will also help your body posture. Yeah, try to think about it more often, like when you're waiting in line in the store or something like that. For this lesson's project, again, take a small paper and write on the paper this three things, neck and head, shoulders, pelvis, and knees. Again, whenever you see this paper, think about one and relax it like we did in the exercise. One more thing I need to emphasize here, not all of us have all these successive tensions. It's important that we listen to ourselves, we observe ourselves, and maybe we will see that we only hold too much tensions in our knees or in our shoulders. Then let's just focus on this one only. I'm really happy that you're still a part of this class and I hope you enjoy it and it's beneficial for you. In the next lesson, I will show you one exercise that is at the moment, known to be the best one for our voice. See you soon. 8. Amazing straw exercise: Straw exercise is the one exercise I would like everybody to know. It is actually at the moment scientifically proven, it helps our voice the most. All you need for this is a regular straw and a small bottle filled with a little bit of water like this. The exercise looks like this. Really simple. Why does this help our voice? Because when I blow sound into the water, I create backpressure in my trumpet and this backpressure helps me to put my vocal cords to the right spot. It also opens up my pharynx and it actually massages my vocal cords. Because this exercise is so effective, it is also used by speech therapists for treating vocal problems. How do we do this exercise the right way? We need to keep in mind five things. First one, it's really important that we hold the straw with our lips tight. Like this. We need to be careful then none of the air escapes our mouth, not like this. We really need to hold the straw tight. In this way, we create the right amount of backpressure. Second tip, your lips should be a little bit like this to the front. Don't do it like this. If you do it like this, then your neck gets tight. If you do it the right way, so pout your lips a little bit further in front. This will help you to keep your throats and your neck to be relaxed. Third one, your body should be in an optimum position. Remember, when we did the exercise for our head and neck. Be straight and tuck your chin a little bit in. Fourth one, the sound you're doing with this should sound like this. Like don't do it too airy or too squeeze, it should be balanced. Remember. Not like too airy or too squeezed. We need to keep it on the low and high notes. All the time there's behind. Not like or. The fifth point, our cheeks should bubble. Our cheeks should be really relaxed so they bubble. That they're not side. They should bubble. If we keep in mind all these five points our vocal cords really get the best training. A couple of years ago, I attended workshop called The Aging Voice. They said that people that do straw exercises on a regular basis like a couple of times a day for a couple minutes, their voice sounds younger. So easy and really effective. Because straws are so popular in teaching voice now, we now also have a lot of specially designed straws for vocal training. Some are made of steel, some are made of silicon and these ones have even better effect on our voice. That's why speech therapists use this kind of straws. But for starting up with these exercises, regular straw works great. In this lesson, project take a regular straw and a small bottle and put a little bit of water in it and do this exercise. First on one note and then go up and down. Then record yourself and put into our project section. In the next lesson, I will give you two short tips for vocal health that will help you keep your voice in the best vocal condition for singing and speaking. See you soon. 9. Tips for vocal health: [MUSIC] We are already at the last lesson of this course. In this lesson, I'll talk about two things that are really important when it comes to our body health, and with that to our vocal health. These two are hydration and sleep. Hydration. When we talk, our vocal cords clap 100-200 times per second. That means that our vocal cords clap thousands and thousands times per day. If our vocal cords are hydrated, they are way less prone to injury than if they're dry. Imagine that our vocal cords are dry, and they [NOISE] bump into each other that many times per day. To get our vocal cords hydrated, our whole body needs to be hydrated. Some people think that when they drink water, they hydrate their vocal cords directly. But that's really not true because if any water escapes and comes directly to our vocal cords, we start to cough. [NOISE] To get water into our vocal cords, water first needs to go to our stomach, and then from our stomach, it needs to go to our vessels, and then from small vessels, it slowly goes to our vocal cords. Our vocal cords get enough water only if we are hydrated enough. For that, we need to drink around 2.5 liters of water a day. Let's go to the second tip. Second tip is sleep and vocal rest. When we sleep, our body gets the most regeneration. From around midnight to 3:00 AM in the morning, our body releases main hormones for regeneration. So if you want to catch this window to get the most rest, we need to go to bed before midnight. Same goes for our vocal cords. If we want to get the most vocal rest and the most vocal regeneration, especially if our voice is tired, we need to go to bed early. With this one, two more things are important. First one, do not eat right before you go to bed. Because then instead of regeneration, your body will be digesting food. The second one, do not watch TV or scroll your telephone just before you go to sleep. Because then the screen light will wake up your brain and it will not start to produce regeneration hormones. Go to bed before midnight, do not watch TV before you sleep, and do not eat before you go to bed. I said I will tell you two things that are good for our body and our voice, but really I need to add another one. That is singing. Some people say that singing could be prescribed to people by doctors, because it has so many good effects on our body. So far it is scientifically proven that singing boosts our immune system, lowers stress hormones, increase happy hormones, improves lung function, improves mental health and mood, and way more if you will research this one. For all of these effects you don't need to sing professionally, [MUSIC] singing in the shower or in the car has same effect. Next time you feel stress, try singing your favorite song. [MUSIC] 10. Conclusion: [MUSIC] Well done. We reached the end of this class. Thank you very much for being a part of it. This was the first class I did for Skillshare and I really hope you liked it and that the information I gave to you, will be useful for you in your life. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the project and resources section or discussion section of this class. Also please do leave a review as well and follow my profile. I want to say thank you again. It's fun and pleasure to be a part of this community and I hope to see you soon. Bye. [MUSIC]