Exercises to Stop Vocal Fry

A study in the Journal of Voice suggests that college students, especially females, are prone to glottal or “vocal fry.” It means there’s a lot of crackle in the voice at the end of words or sentences.

There are several reasons for vocal fry:

One is that there isn’t enough breath support to carry the vocabulary.

Think of a car and how it starts to sputter when it runs out of gas. When there isn’t enough air passing through the vocal folds, they’ll sputter instead of flutter.

Another reason is that teens often tend to copy each other therefore they could develop similar language patterns, including vocal fry.

A third reason is a lack of personal awareness about how the voice works, and what a healthy, natural voice truly sounds like.  I taught at Seneca College in Toronto for seven years where it was common to hear vocal fry in announcing classes.  It took time for the students to recognize it, but they were able to overcome vocal fry by practicing some exercises to eliminate it.

Here are some exercises to stop vocal fry:

  1. BREATHING- Place one hand on the belly. Take a moment to release your abdominal muscles. Let your breath drop down into the belly. When you breathe in, the belly should expand. Your hand should be able to feel the movement of the breath.
  2. CONNECTING BREATH TO SOUND- Imagine the breath travelling up from the belly. Using that breath whisper 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Then do the same, except voice the numbers out loud.  Do you hear any crackle when you get to five?
  3. TAKE TIME TO LISTEN – Listen to the voice of the person speaking to you. Listen to how you respond. Are you alert to any crackling at the end of words and sentences?
  4. At the end of my voice tips video above, I demonstrate vocal fry. It takes a bit of physical reprogramming to eliminate vocal fry, but the end result will be a rich and resonant voice.