The Art of Cooling Down the Voice

Good morning everyone. I like so many singers never cooled my voice down before learning how beneficial this last step in your daily vocal workout can be. Here is a quote from John Hopkins Medicine Voice Center regarding cooling the voice down: "Although unfortunately and frequently ignored, vocal cool-downs may also be used to prevent damage to the vocal cords. During speaking and singing, blood flow to the larynx is increased. Stopping immediately after prolonged speaking or singing may contribute to a pooling of blood in the larynx, weighing the vocal cords down. Damage may result as one attempts to speak on these potentially swollen folds. An analogy can be drawn to other physical exercise. After running for prolonged periods of time, an athlete is encouraged to walk for several minutes to maintain blood flow and prevent cramping. The same propensity for "cramping" may apply to laryngeal activity. The simple practice of gentle, relaxed humming can serve as an excellent form of cooling-down". I first learned the benefits of cooling down my voice about 7 years ago. I was singing in another busy corporate band on the weekends, and noticed that my voice sounded huskier than it normally does after long gigs. I asked my vocal coach David Jones about this and he asked me "Are you cooling down your voice after the shows?" I said "No, but will from now on". A week later I had another gig, and on my drive home used some easy cool downs that I learned in previous lessons. The excess huskiness virtually disappeared and my natural, slightly husky voice returned. The next day I woke up with a fresh voice ready to handle a full day of teaching and performance that night. From that day on I have faithfully used vocal cool downs after each and every performance, long vocal workout, or teaching day. Here is an easy vocal cool down for you guys: First, start around middle C5 for the ladies, and C4 for the guys. You are going to sing a tiny "ooh" on a descending scale of: C-Bb-A-Bb-C-Bb-A-G-F. or 5 4 3 4 5 3 4 3 2 1 You will want to keep the vowel in a pure head-voice sound for as long as possible as you descend. After completing the scale, go down a half step and repeat the scale. You will want to take the scale as far down into the the lower register as possible, and as comfortably as possible. The ooh vowel needs to be as tiny and pure as you can sing it. You may want to repeat this sequence two or three times, gently singing the cords back into coordination. You can also use lips trills, tongue/lip trills or rolled r's on the descending scale as part of your cool down as well. Make cooling down part of your daily vocal workout regimen, and you will find that your voice will feel fresh and ready to give you all you ask of it for the next vocal workout! Have a great day everyone! Peace, Jeff


Jeffrey Stanfill