In preparations for the musical in May, students are all working on singing and strengthening their oral motor skills. My favorite musical exercises to use are “ah” going on a 5 note scale, and “zah” going down a 5 note scale. Students put their hands on their checks and feel their jaw drop, which helps open up their mouth to increase sound volume. Other vocalizations include “Oo Ee,” using hand motions while singing up and down a scale, and vocal sirens.
Research shows that these vocal exercise strengthen the oral motor skills, which in turns strengths the sound that emerges from the mouth and the speaking voice. In addition, sound vocalizations enhance articulatory control and respiratory strength, which helps students with their speech intelligibility.
Most of the students are willing to try the vocal exercises and some find them silly! It’s the first time many of the students see a group of people with their hands on their checks with their jaws dropped like they are surprised. It can be a sight to see!