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Speech Therapy

 

Consonants: Springboards for the Vocal Athlete

 

Consonants in speech and song can be compared to springboards which help propel a diver into the water. The board gives energy, lift and buoyancy.

 

The board gives
energy and lift.


Consonants have a similar effect in both speech and song. They are springboards, which energize the voice. Consonants propel the sound forward, giving energy, direction, and clarity to speech. There are three basic types of consonants: plosives, fricatives, approximants.

 





Plosive Consonants: Vocal Strength Training




Plosive consonants, also called “stopped” consonants, are those in which air is stopped momentarily and then “explodes” when released. Plosive consonants are an important component of healthy speech and song. They are another form of strength training for the vocal athlete. Although there are various classifications of plosives, for our purposes, we will focus on their benefit as great energizers of sound. 
 

1. Speak the names of the following plosive consonants and notice the explosion of air. 
 
K P B T D

 

2. Speak the sound of each letter. You will notice that the “sound” is different than the actual “letter name”. Although there are reasons for this, for our purposes the important thing is to notice the explosion of air. 
 
K P B T D


3. Sing each of the following sequences on any comfortable mid-range pitch. Notice the energy a plosive consonant creates at the beginning of each syllable: a verbal springboard propelling tone forward.

 

KEE KAY KAH KOH KOO

PEA PAY PAH POH POO

BEE BAY BAH BOH BOO

TEA TAY TAH TOH TOO

DEE DAY DAH DOH DOO
 

4. The following words have plosives at both ends. Notice the beginning and ending “explosion.” Use your power pack—it’s dynamite! 
 

Keep Pack Tube Duck Tick Peak Book Take Bib
 

5. Exaggerate the plosives as you slowly sing the exercise below.

Notice the energy in the sound. Take a breath after each word.
 

Vocalises for Vocal Ease CD (yellow) track # 7.




Plosive
consonants are excellent for building strength and energy into the voice. They are building blocks for becoming a vocal athlete. Whether speaking or singing, plosives are energizers.

I hear plosives in the air,
they’re exploding everywhere.”

 

Photos used by permission.

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