The Straw Ain’t the Whole Toolbox

We ALL want THE thing that’s going to solve ALL the problems. Tumeric anyone?

The toolbox analogy is a great way to think of any set of skills for fixing things. Including voice inefficiencies.

We love the straw and straw phonation for voice, but you would no more pack your toolbox exclusively with hammers than you would ONLY use a straw for voice exercise.

Tools are made for specific purposes. Think of the straw as a specialized tool that counters fatigue, creates more efficient resonance or “ring” in the middle of the vocal range, helps visualize airflow, gets the vocal folds into the best position and thickness for singing, and helps you look silly in public.

Did you know that there lots of reasons NOT to use a straw for vocal exercise?

Straws can cause someone to feel like their voice is out of control or highlight imbalances that cannot be overcome in a few minutes. It can cause too much back pressure and be difficult to do! In some ways the straw can be considered a refining tool, something to polish the sound. Sometimes we need more weight on the barbell, not more frosting on the cake.

You have permission to make all the sounds and collect all voice tools you want. Some tools are more powerful than others, and over time you may get all Marie Kondo on your vocal toolbox, but please stop looking for a magic cure for all your voice woes.

My preference is to travel light and carry a few but very powerful tools, then learn to use them like a ninja. The straw will go with me forever, but it doesn’t travel alone.

Have fun out there experimenting with sound. It’ll never end and what works for someone else may not work for you. Your toolbox will be your own.

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