Various coaches have advised us to make sure to include glissandi in our warm ups, and in our daily practising, in order to smooth out the bumpiness in our mid ranges. (Starting at the bottom of your range, slide evenly and fairly quickly up to the top of your range – then back down to the bottom again.)
I’ve always found that this is difficult enough for untrained voices that there’s not enough incentive for people to do it on their own.
However, I’ve been experimenting with singing glissandi with a fairly tight ‘V’ sound and it’s much, much easier. ‘Zzzz’ works too, but there’s a bit more actual vocal sound that comes through on the ‘V’.
Then I came across this terrific video on the Chorus America website that suggests using a very small bore straw – a plastic coffee stir stick. Check this out!
In addition to the glissando exercise, he also recommends singing what he calls little accented hills – which sound to me like the revving sound you hear when a driver is stuck, and trying to get out of a snow drift. Each attempt at revving getting higher in pitch.
Although this article is primarily aimed at keeping older voices supple, these exercises will help anyone to sing more effortlessly over their ‘break’.