NYMC Faculty Publications

Aerobic Exercise as a Warm-up for Singing: Acoustic Impacts

Journal Title

Journal of Voice

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Speech-Language Pathology


OBJECTIVES: In a previous work, it was found that a 30-minute aerobic workout significantly increased singers' sound pressure level and airflow during voicing, suggesting a shift to flow phonation. This companion study was designed to assess the impact of the same workout on pitch accuracy, vibrato rate, extent and regularity, and the singing power ratio.

STUDY DESIGN: This study is a cohort experimental study.

METHODS: Twenty-two students in an academic vocal performance program participated. They performed an aerobic workout for 30 minutes. Before and after the workout, they sang the first seven notes of the "Star-Spangled Banner" on /pa/, producing seven /pa/s on the last note. The students then sang an ascending and descending scale to the ninth on "ah." The following measures were obtained from the "Star-Spangled Banner": pitch accuracy calculated on the seventh note ("by"); and vibrato rate, regularity, and extent, calculated on the most sustained sixth note ("see"). For the scale, the following measures were calculated from each note: pitch accuracy; vibrato rate, regularity, and extent; and the singing power ratio.

RESULTS: There were no significant differences from pre- to postworkout across any measures.

CONCLUSIONS: It appears that an aerobic workout positively impacts the respiratory driving force for voice production but does little for phonation. Critical for performance is the fine tuning and balancing across the respiratory, laryngeal, and resonance systems. It appears that this can only be achieved with vocalization exercises, facilitating coordination within and across the physiological systems involved in the complex art of bel canto.

Publisher's Statement

Originally published in Journal of Voice, 31 (4), 438-441. The original material can be found here.