A Brief Guide To SOVT Exercises

SOVT is an acronym that stands for Semi Occluded Vocal Tract. This is just a fancy way of saying that the mouth is partially closed. SOVT exercises use a partially closed mouth in order to create back pressure on the vocal folds, helping them vibrate with a low amount of effort. SOVT exercises are one of the best ways to both strengthen the voice and relieve tension and fatigue. 

So, let’s find out how to get started with SOVT exercises! 

How Do SOVT Exercises Work?

SOVT exercises work by creating a “back pressure” on the vocal folds by partially closing the mouth. This creates a cushion of air between the vocal folds, allowing them to phonate with less vibration stress. In other words, SOVT exercises are a way to work out the voice with minimal wear and tear. This is great for all singers who want to increase their stamina, and especially for vocalists looking to rehabilitate a recovering voice.

What do I need to get started with SOVT exercises? 

Chances are, if you’ve ever had a vocal lesson you’ve already done some sort of SOVT exercise. Some popular ones include vocalizing on “mmm” “ng” “vvv” or doing lip trills.

To take this a step further, the most useful SOVT workout requires a small diameter straw. 

While there are specialty straws made just for this purpose, a coffee stirrer or cocktail straw will work just fine! 

There are also special cups made for more advanced SOVT exercises! 

What are some basic SOVT exercises I can do? 

The simplest and most common SOVT exercise involves simply vocalizes through a straw on a pitch slide. 

Step 1

Do a pitch glide from as low as you can to as high as you can. Do this for one to two minutes. 

Step 2

After completing step one, you can vary the exercise by making progressively larger hills with the pitch glide. These hills are called accents. Do these for one or two minutes. 

Step 3

Sing a song of your choice through the straw. If possible, implement some accents throughout the exercise. 

Note: It is very important that you allow no air to escape around the straw through your lips or through your nose. You can test this by pinching your nose as you are practicing. When you pinch your nose the sound shouldn’t change. 

It is also important to use lots of abdominal support to keep your tone steady and unstrained. Just like all vocal exercises, make sure to lead from the diaphragm! 

Here is a video of the person who invented the exercise, Dr. Ingo Titze, doing a demonstration. 

A SOVT demonstration by it’s creator Dr. Ingo Titze

What are the benefits of doing SOVT exercises? 

SOVT exercises, especially the straw based ones, are fantastic for connecting the voice, warming up and down, and “resetting” a tired voice for fresh action. 

They are also fantastic for people who speak all day for work and become vocally fatigued. Just a few minutes of straw exercises a couple times a day can revitalize and “re-place” an unbalanced voice. 

Closing Notes

If you are interested in learning more about how SOVT exercises can benefit you, talk to us today about taking lessons with one of our highly trained vocal teachers! Working with a qualified expert ensures that the exercises are being done correctly and in a way that provides the most benefit for the voice!