These exercises are for patients with voice problems. It explains why these exercises are needed and how to carry them out. Lip trilling helps to achieve smooth voicing by encouraging the mouth and throat to be relaxed.
Why do I need these exercises?
Lip trilling aims to:
- Release tension in the lips and oral cavity
- Prevent vocal fold tension and strain when voicing
- Improve breath support and breath control
- Improve our pitch range without straining our voice
How do I carry out these exercises?
Before you begin, ensure that you sit in a comfortable position and avoid slouching. If you prefer, you can stand up with your feet slightly apart with your weight evenly balanced. Remain relaxed and use the breathing technique you have been taught.
- Begin by breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth silently. Do this until you feel that a smooth rhythm has been established.
- Breathe in through your nose and when you breathe out vibrate your lips together as if you were blowing bubbles underwater. At this point your lips should be making a noise but you should not be using your vocal folds (voicing).
- Do not try to lip trill with pursed lips. Your lips should be relaxed and vibrating freely. If you are unable to do this, place one finger from each hand on your face either side of your lips. Gently push your cheeks so that your lips make a slight pout.
- Produce a gentle lip trill, holding it for as long as it feels relaxed and comfortable. Stop before you run out of breath and stop if you feel any discomfort or tension. Repeat the lip trill 10 times.
Once you have practised the gentle ‘voiceless’ trills on their own and feel comfortable with them, try:
A. Adding some ‘sound’ / ‘voice’ into the trill
Breathe in through your nose and when you breathe out vibrate your lips together with some sound, like a telephone ringing. Choose a pitch which is comfortable for you. Keep the pitch monotonous and do not vary it by going higher or lower.
Repeat this 10 times and stop if you run out of breath or if you feel any discomfort or tension.
B. Changing the pitches of the trill
Start making a voiced trill at a low pitch and gently glide higher into a high pitch.
Then start making a voiced trill at a high pitch and gently glide lower into a low pitch.
Repeat this 10 times.
C. Adding vowel sounds onto the end of the trill
Make a ‘voiced’ lip trill as above and add the following vowels to the end of the trill. Choose a pitch which is comfortable for you. Keep the pitch monotonous.
- brrrrrr – ahh
- brrrrrr – ee
- brrrrrr – eye
- brrrrrr – ayy
- brrrrrr – oar
- brrrrrr – ee
D. Adding words onto the end of the trill
Make a ‘voiced’ lip trill as above and add the following words to the end of the trill. Choose a pitch which is comfortable for you. Keep the pitch monotonous.
- brrrrrr – ine
- brrrrrr – awn
- brrrrrr – ain
- brrrrrr – ight
- brrrrrr – eeze
- brrrrrr – own
- brrrrrr – and
- brrrrrr – aid
- brrrrrr – oom
- brrrrrr – ush
When should I do these exercises?
Lip trills help to warm your voice up and down so it can be useful to practise these exercises in the morning, before lunch, or when you feel your voice quality may be getting worse.
It is best to carry out these exercises for short periods of time, on a regular basis as it will have more of a positive effect on your voice. A good target would be to practise the lip trill exercises three to five times a day for up to five minutes each time.
What should I do if I cannot complete the exercises?
If you have any questions or concerns about these exercises please contact your speech and language therapist on 01223 216200 who will be happy to discuss them with you.
We are smoke-free
Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.
Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998. www.cuh.nhs.uk/contact-us/accessible-information/
Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge
Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151