A gentle, quiet slide from the lowest to the highest extremes of the vocal range on the ‘ng’ sound. Sometimes described as an ‘internal whimper’, the siren should be performed quietly with calm breath and clean tone. The great thing about the siren is that you can practise it anywhere.
Why do it?
The siren is the single most effective way of freeing up the voice and relieving tension. If performed properly, the siren costs the vocal folds minimal effort and helps re-centre, connect and focus the voice. For the singer, the siren is a useful exercise to help paper over the cracks of the transition between vocal registers and can help improve consistency of tone across the range. For the teacher, the siren can provide a snapshot of the voice, help establish the vocal compass and identify where the gaps are.
How do you do it?
1. Relax your jaw.
2. Relax your lips.
3. Relax your tongue.
4. Calm your breathing.
5. Breath out gently and let the sound follow/join with the out-breath. The onset should be as clean and as smooth as possible.
6. You can start at the bottom of your range and go to the top and back down or start at the top. You can also just isolate the specific parts of your vocal compass you are trying to improve and work those pitch ranges.
• Whilst being a quiet exercise, quite a lot of physicality is still required to maintain stability and consistency of tone throughout the range. It is harder than you might at first think.
• Ensure that you maintain the quietness at the top of your range.
• Ensure that you keep the breath out of the voice at the bottom of your range with good, clean contact.
• Watch yourself in a mirror whilst performing the siren to check that your larynx is rising and falling or check by placing your fingers on it.