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Ingo Titze's straw singing has saved me.

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I have been hardly able to even make a note for months. Even when I have been able to sing, I had nowhere close to the range, consistency, note and ability I used to have. The straw exercise has completely changed something in my adaptation and I am singing 5X better than I have ever been able to do. I understand support, there is no break at all and I can do whatever I want with my tone.

A couple of weeks ago I started doing Frisell's exercises and read his book. That helped tremendously but when I started using the straw yesterday, I have been able to sing longer and far better than I ever could before. I was even able to sing for an hour yesterday and sing even longer today. I have not been able to sing two days in a row for many months.

Whatever I was strugging with is not going to be the same case for everyone. That being said, if anyone has just completely lost consistency or ability, I would at least advise trying to do these exercises.

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The straw is amazing. Like any exercise it can be done wrong, and especially on tough days those bad habits will creep in, but it's a lot easier to strip it back to the basics with a straw, then with any other exercise I have found.

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dr. titze (pronouced like the word "pizza" with a "t") is a helpful accessible, really great guy. you can email him and let him know how it helped you. he'd be glad to hear from you.

we gotta let these folks know how much we apprecaite them for their knowledge and wisdom.

he was so helpful to me with my polyp.

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Sounds awesome! :)

Do you have to use a small diameter stirring straw? or can you just use a drinking straw?

Nick

I was wondering that myself back when I originally viewed his vid. But after trying it I thought that a regular straw may have a tendency to let too much air escape (?)

I definitely feel the difference between the two.

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Thanks, I'll try and get one of those.

Nick

Well, I'm only saying that this was my thought. I can't say for sure I'm right. :) It's just that I assume the practice involves or relies on focused air. A larger diameter straw would lessen the focus IMO.

Tommy

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Or if you can't be bothered to find a smaller diameter straw, just pinch the wider straw lightly to increase the pressure :) A good way to increase the pressure on the support muscles is to sing a staccato sequence on a single comfortable tone, taking quick small breaths between every couple of notes.

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Are you supposed to let your cheeks and/or lip area puff out a little when you do this?

raphaels: It works both ways. Dr. Titze's own demo shows no significant 'puff out', but the exercise can be done the other way, too.

The basic principle will also work without the straw... just let the lips be a little leaky.

I hope this helps.

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I have been hardly able to even make a note for months. Even when I have been able to sing, I had nowhere close to the range, consistency, note and ability I used to have. The straw exercise has completely changed something in my adaptation and I am singing 5X better than I have ever been able to do. I understand support, there is no break at all and I can do whatever I want with my tone.

A couple of weeks ago I started doing Frisell's exercises and read his book. That helped tremendously but when I started using the straw yesterday, I have been able to sing longer and far better than I ever could before. I was even able to sing for an hour yesterday and sing even longer today. I have not been able to sing two days in a row for many months.

Whatever I was strugging with is not going to be the same case for everyone. That being said, if anyone has just completely lost consistency or ability, I would at least advise trying to do these exercises.

I've been working with this since I read your post and watched the video. I notice that on some notes, nothing really comes out. I find that I have to use my lower ab muscles on some bits or nothing comes out. Did you find this same thing?

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  • 2 months later...

I started with a straw but there were many times I didn't have one available. I now do it more times then not without a straw. Just a focused small stream of compressed air through very pursed lips. Still works! :)

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I picked up a bag of a couple hundred straws from IKEA- cheap and colourful! :D

People would swear vocalists are some of the weirdest people in the world with all of our crazy exercises haha...They just don't understand what it really takes to be great!

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  • 1 year later...

Can someone help me with this, I just can't seem to get right.

I tried it first with one straw and plucked my nose and it felt like my head was exploding! When I tried to use less air I felt really dizzy. And also it really hurts my throat and my voice sounds really creaky.

Then I saw some guy using two straws, and now my head doesn't feel like exploding anymore but it still hurts and I sound horrible. What am I doing wrong?

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Can someone help me with this, I just can't seem to get right.

I tried it first with one straw and plucked my nose and it felt like my head was exploding! When I tried to use less air I felt really dizzy. And also it really hurts my throat and my voice sounds really creaky.

Then I saw some guy using two straws, and now my head doesn't feel like exploding anymore but it still hurts and I sound horrible. What am I doing wrong?

You are trying to aim the sound into the nose, whether you know it or not.

Remember that singing into a straw is NOTHING LIKE HUMMING. You are not just humming into your nose with a straw in your mouth! If you do that, when you plug you nose, you will get that head exploding sensation because the air is no longer able to efficiently escape anywhere.

What you want to do is redirect all the air to come out of the mouth through the straw. It takes some experimentation and skill, but you'll figure it out. When you do it correctly you can plug your nose and nothing will change, neither the sound or sensation.

Also I've personally found it key to not sing too heavy with the straw exercise. At least at first. Take it light and bridge early to head voice. That might be against what Titze recommends but it seems to work for me and results in a sensation closer to what I know healthy singing to feel like. Maybe if you are intending to do some belting, you could try the pushier way Titze recommends too. But finding a middle ground is difficult because of the semi-occluded setup, it forces you to either bridge much earlier than you'd expect, or to maintain the full weight as you ascend. That's important to realize.

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I think I know how to do the exercise correctly, but what is the goal or purpose?

To encourage healthy, efficient phonation. That's it. A simple, but pretty important purpose. Think of it like a reset button that brings you back to overall healthy technique.

Lip rolls, tongue trills, long voiced consonants, humming, ng, etc. serve that same general purpose, but singing through the straw is one of the smallest openings of those so it probably takes you the furthest away from singing and the closest to pure function.

They're all called semi-occluded phonations. It's good to think of them as separate from other vocal exercises where more air is allowed to escape out the mouth (are those just called non-occluded?), and know the difference. What I'll call the non-occluded exercises for now, are closer to singing, but allow much more room for error in terms of maintaining healthy technique. So the smart thing is to work both, and to start every session with semi-occluded exercises then move to the non-occluded ones. And then sing, and if possible, occasionally return to the semi-occluded exercises for again for a bit, then continue singing. Then warm down with semi-occluded exercises.

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