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ArtistWorks Vocal School Lessons: What Are Cool Downs?

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Some years ago,
I was working with a particular,
singer and his technique was great.
He had incorporated all the different
elements that I had worked with him on,
practiced diligently.
Everything was cool.
He did warm ups.
And then he was doing these long gigs, and
for two days afterwards,
sometimes three, his voice would be
So, it was very perplexing.
What in the world is going on?
And I troubleshooted.
That's not really a word, a trouble shot?
[LAUGH] What was going on,
and little by little, I started
discovering a few things.
I did a little bit further research on
muscles, and it all came together for me.
He needed to do cool down.
Now this is back in the day when nobody
had ever heard of cool down,
nobody knew about it.
It was not considered, though, dancer and
athletes do it.
In other words if you have studied dance
for example, remember how you limber up,
then you do all the exercises, then you
start moving across the floor, and
incorporate them in more dance-like
Maybe you've got choreography that you do
and you're all set.
And then when you're done, what do you do?
You don't just sit down.
You do some other types of stretches,
maybe sometimes the same that you used for
your limbering, your warm up.
And and then, and then you're done, you're
considered done.
And this is true for any kind of athlete.
They warm up, they do what their thing is,
and then they cool down.
Here's the inside secret.
When you use muscles, and in this case for
singing you're using the muscles of
your voice with a lot more demand than
most of the time when you're talking
unless you're speaking loudly, needing to
project over a period of time.
And that in and of itself can put a lot of
demand on the muscles of your voice.
What happens, so, in order for the muscles
of your voice to respond very quickly
to you and have, endurance is they swell
with blood and
the blood, you may not wanna know all
these details but here it is so
you understand, the blood carries with it
very important elements that the muscles
need so that they can function for you.
One is oxygen, another is nutrients, and
So, then the muscle can actually work for
Without those things, the muscle is
So, that's one of the reasons why you warm
up the muscles of your voice.
Then, depending on how you sing, and the
demands that you put on it,
if you're a real edgy singer, or, it
doesn't really much matter.
The point is, you're asking your voice to
do a lot more for
you than it would ordinarily end up doing
when you speak.
So the muscles of your vocal folds fill
with blood.
So that they can accomplish these tasks
that you're asking of them.
When you're done singing,
they're still thickened with the blood
that pumped into it.
And if you start talking afterwards and
feel like your voice is a little husky or
tired or whatever.
That's why it needs to be cooled down,
they're a little fat.
And it's not anything abnormal, this is a
natural process of how the body works.
So you need to do some cool downs, which
actually don't take that long,
and and that reduces them, the thickness
brings it back to what we'll call a normal
everyday state.
[SOUND] Then, you're voice will feel fine
and you'll have vocal longevity.
If you don't do that, what ends up
happening is, and
this is true of any muscle you may have
heard of about it,
if you work out in a gym or something like
Why do you take a cool shower afterwards?
[LAUGH] You may think I'm changing
subjects, I'm not.
The cool shower after you've worked out,
hopefully done some stretches as part of
the end of your
workout routine, is to get rid of the
lactic acid that builds up in the muscles.
It's kind of a by-product of having worked
for you.
And that can stiffen the muscles,
so remember feeling like sore after you've
worked out?
Sometimes you'll feel sore the next day,
but ordinarily,
it's like the second and third day you
feel even, even sorer.
Hm, you ever feel that way?
And that's how it can be with the voice.
So, pumps with blood, thickens, they
respond to what you need when
you're singing and the cool down is like
taking a cool shower and
limbering, and it gets rid of that lactic
brings the muscles of your vocal folds
back down to an everyday normal state.
Well there's different normals,
but anyway what we'll call, you know,
pre-singing state.
And then, they can vibrate well and you
don't feel or
sound hoarse or logy in your voice.
So that's the principle behind it.
Some of the best cool down exercises
are ones that you've already used for warm
and that I've taught you earlier in this
whole section.
Things like lip trills, wonderful.
But you can do lip trills like this for a
cool down.
[SOUND] So you kinda go round in a circle,
that's how I think of it.
[SOUND] And when that feels good, you go
up a little note more.
[SOUND] But it's always a short, small
Not, [SOUND] you don't do wide intervals.
It's just little, by little, by little, by
Don't be impatient.
[SOUND] That worked out okay, good.
Now go up a little bit more.
We're not gonna use a huge range for cool
Just enough so
you start feeling the difference in your
voice when you're doing lip trills.
So the next would be.
[SOUND] Maybe one more for me.
[SOUND] And that would be enough, maybe
I'd come back down.
I mean I can feel the difference in, in my
voice right now.
It feels really good.
You might at this point, want to pause the
video and try that out yourself.
Even though maybe you haven't been singing
a little bit.
But just to experiment and see how it goes
for you.
Another thing you can do is nose buzz.
We worked on that a moment ago.
[SOUND] But done the same way that you do
the lip trills.
[SOUND] Let the buzz or the flapping of
your lips,
be the direction that you work with
rather than the thought of up and down,
and up and down, and up and down.
[LAUGH] Because that thought will pull
muscles and
then plunge muscles, and you won't really
end up cooling down.
So it's just work with the buzz, that
helps even out the energy that you use
as you execute these little, tiny pitch
Even doing silent lip trills can help.
[SOUND] You can also use an e or an.
[SOUND] And then.
[SOUND] And see how little your tongue
needs to move as you go between the
If you do that one, note that the jaw does
not move.
[SOUND] The tongue does a little bit but
not the jaw.
You don't need to and
if you do you're using contrary muscles to
those that are working your voice.
So jaw stays still.
[SOUND] Sometimes you don't even need to
change any
more pitches than what I just showed you.
If you can talk after your cooldown and it
feels like,
oh yeah, my voice feels lively again,
let's say.
You'll definitely feel the difference,
then you're done with the cool down.
Sometimes it can take a minute, it could
take five minutes.
If you've done a really long concert, it
might take a little longer.
But the point is nobody can really tell
Do cool-downs for 20 minutes or five
It is all up to the result and you have to
experience it and feel it for yourself.
And when you do, you know [SOUND] that's
it, you're done.
If you're doing a show and there's a green
room, that's like one of those
rooms where they performers go and change
and hang before and or after the show.
And it's not filled with people you can do
cool down there.
If you need to go out into the car
afterwords, you can do it there.
If you have to break down your set, you
and help the other musicians move things
off the stage.
You can wait, you know, 20 minutes or
something, clear the stage.
If you have to go out into the car, do a
little bit of cool down out there and
then come out and greet your fans.
There is my expert advice.
Enjoy your cool downs, they make a huge
difference and
they give you longevity of vocal years.