You warm up. Of course you do! Everyone knows they need to.
But do you cool down? Come on, be honest...
You might be missing the secret weapon to vocal stamina!
What is a Vocal Cool Down?
Put simply, it's the opposite of warming up. Warming up gets us from our "energy-saver" vocal posture to our performance voice quickly and efficiently. A Vocal Cool Down takes us back out of those vocal performance gestures in our larynx and vocal tract and resets us back to neutral. It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes and it's really easy to do.
What do you mean, "Vocal Performance Gestures?"
When we sing, act, or project our speaking voice in public we engage in more athletic use of various parts of our vocal mechanism. Just like running and jumping are more athletic than walking. Some things that get more active include:
- higher airflow and air pressure
- greater vertical movement of the larynx
- greater stretch of the vocal folds from back to front
- increased shaping in the pharyngeal wall
- increased core stability
- increased blood flow into the vocal folds
- increased heart rate and blood pressure
Just like an athlete would stretch out and maybe take an ice-bath after a training session or event, a professional voice-user needs to ensure that they don't keep using their voice in performance mode once they leave the stage, vocal booth, or set. This would be a tremendous waste of precious vocal energy. It can also lead to muscle tension disorders over time. It is essential that we reset to neutral to maintain our vocal flexibility.