All Things Vocal Blog & Podcast by Judy Rodman: February 2020

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Is Your Music Visible? My Chat With Denise Wakeman

NOTE: The audio player should appear below, if not, please click on the title of this post and go online to hear. 

Available also on iTunes , Google PlayTuneIn RadioSpotifyStitcherAndroid apps and more
Please go to and leave your review!
Have you been wanting to extend your internet fanbase? Listen to the podcast audio link of the interview I did with my own internet mentor, Denise Wakeman. Here are some of the topics we covered:
  • Introduction to Denise
  • Understanding fans as customers
  • The importance of getting found by your audience
  • Taking action to reboot unsuccessful online efforts.
  • The importance of publishing consistent content
  • Creating the know, like & trust factor as music makers
  • Types of content you can create and share on social media
  • Visibility strategy for artists on media shows and large events
  • How to create online relationships with fans
  • Why an artist should create a blog
  • Blogging with multimedia content
  • The importance of creating your own online real estate, capturing emails
  • Traveling tips – the importance of being kind
  • Music experience Denise had in her global travels
  • What is changing for internet marketing
  • The importance of experimenting with online apps
  • Identifying your ideal fans
  • Tips for discerning your music career path
  • Deeply connecting by sharing your story
  • What Denise saw Elton John and Bernie Taupin do that made her love them

About Denise:

Denise Wakeman has been working online since 1996. She has become a highly respected expert on blogging and online marketing. She teaches, trains and consults with a holistic approach to building businesses with targeted audiences on the web.

As an early adopter and active experimenter, Denise jumps on just about every social network that comes online. She helps her clients navigate through the myriad platforms that are begging for attention, with recommendations suited for each individual client’s personalities and business.

A trip to Peru in 2013 sparked a new business venture for Denise. “I’ve always loved traveling,” she says, “but I’d always kept my personal adventures separate from my business life. I realized that it was all part and parcel of the same thing. I needed to bring that adventurous spirit into my work, too.” So, she started creating travel experiences for others and “Adventures In Visibility” was born. It has infused her internet mentoring business (and her clients) with fresh fire.

Denise doesn’t just teach… she’s done it. She has created a powerful, visible presence by using the tools and teaching others to do the same. In the music business, becoming visible means being FINDABLE by those who would love our music. I began this All Things Vocal blog in 2006 with Denise’s training. If you enjoy it, we both have her to thank!


For more help getting your music visible... Find Denise at

Get her special post and download checklist for building your internet platform:

If you want the best vocal training so you have the best performances to take to market, try Power, Path and Performance vocal training, available at in vocal lessons and in courses.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Introducing BALLOON Phonation Exercises

In this post, I'm going to introduce you to a brand new type of vocal exercises I've developed using a balloon, an alternate to the straw phonation exercises created by voice scientist Dr. Ingo Titze. Watch the embedded video demonstration I just published, featuring my friend Mark Thress.

How Balloon Exercises Were Developed

Vocal coach Mark Thress, with whom I exchange classical and contemporary vocal lessons, introduced me to straw phonation using a cocktail (small diameter) straw. I found these quite useful in encouraging more breath efficiency, as long as I pulled back as I blew forward. Neither one of us prefer using a bigger straw.

After working with the small straw for a few weeks, I started wondering what effect using a balloon instead of the straw would be. So I bought a package of assorted small balloons and started experimenting on my own, then with Mark, then with students. I found that most of us preferred and benefitted from the balloon instead of the straw!

Balloon vs Straw Comparisons:

  • I believe they are both SOVT exercises. 
SOVT, short for semi-occluded vocal tract exercises, include the lip bubble, tongue trill, raspberry,  blowing through a hole in the bottom of a cup, and the straw.  According to the excellent, detailed article on straw phonation at VoiceScienceWorks,
"SOVT exercises lengthen the vocal tract and narrow the opening, creating increased acoustic back pressure that helps the vocal folds vibrate more easily."
The straw has a hole at the end. The balloon, with no end hole, requires the vocalist to let a bit of air leak around the lips. This, to me, qualifies it as a new (SOVT) exercise protocol.
  • The balloon is stretchy, the straw is stiff.
The malleable balloon skin responds to vocal sound with more nuanced feedback than the straw. The vocalist must blow with more nuanced control to sound the balloon properly, requiring a finer degree of breath efficiency to open the balloon but not 'blow it into next week!"
  • The balloon requires that less breath pressure be used than the straw. 
This develops the finer degree of breath control.
  • 'Pulling' up and back while using the balloon also opens and relaxes the throat. 
I experience the same thing with the straw, but find it easier to open the throat tract in more nuanced ways with the balloon.
  • Most prefer the small size of both straw and balloon.
The best results I've found myself and with my students is with the smallest (2") water balloon, but sometimes I have students alternate from the small one to a little larger one and back... just to challenge the ever-changing degree of required breath balance.
  • Both the straw and balloon can be used with any scale or song melody.
After you get the hang of using the balloon in scales, try voicing a melody with it.

  • Both the straw and balloon are useful for both the singing and speaking voice. Speakers can just exercise by sirens or slurs throughout all registers of the voice.

Gratitude for the Straw

I want to take a moment and state how grateful I am for the genius of Dr. Titze in developing his straw phonation exercises. They have been instrumental in many a singer and speaker's vocal healing, and this in no way diminishes my utmost respect for them. I humbly offer this alternative exercise protocol to the voice community with full understanding that without the straw, the balloon would never have come to mind!

I need your input!

I also owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Mark Thress for joining me in experimenting with and presenting balloon phonation exercises. We both would love your feedback... 
  • Will you try the balloon? If so,
  • What was your experience with balloon exercises?
  • What questions do you have about doing them?
  • What suggestions would you make?
Please feel free to share with others... this is my gift to the voice community. I hope you find it of value!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,