Tip of the week: Sirens are sensational

Many singers experience tension around the voice box, a problem that can cause loss of range and pain. Voice expert Anne-Marie Speed says one simple exercise can help relieve this – the siren.

Speed, a leading exponent of the Estill Method, says: “Sirens are one of the simplest and the most effective ways to deal with tension. The exercise is so effective, it’s worthwhile learning how to do it well.”

So how do you do it? Hold onto the “-ng” sound and move up and down your range, maintaining clear, quiet tone.

“Make sure you don’t get louder as you get higher and don’t come off the voice as you get lower,” says Speed.

Why do sirens work? Speed explains: “When we perform a siren we get two of the basics of vocal function. We get contact with the true vocal folds, and we get movement of the larynx. We need contact to produce voice, and the ease of contact is facilitated by a mobile larynx.

“One of the features of muscle tension dysphonia is the larynx becomes immobile and doesn’t move sufficiently. Sirens are an easy way to get the larynx moving at no cost to the true vocal folds.

“It’s an exercise of genius – it really is. It can take practice to do it well, but it is just brilliant. Clear, quiet tone. Up and down. High, low, high, low.”

Read our full length interview with Anne-Marie Speed HERE.