Effects of a Straw Phonation on Acoustic and Self-Reported Measures of Adolescent Female Singers: A Pilot Study

Jeremy N. Manternach, Chad Clark, Bridget Sweet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Characteristics of adolescent female voice change include breathiness, inconsistent pitch, “cracks,” abrupt register transitions, vocal range changes, and decreased stamina. Researchers have found that semi-occluded vocal tract exercises (e.g. straw phonation) can assist with such difficulties with other varied populations, facilitating glottal closure, decreasing breathiness, and encouraging easier voicing. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to measure the effects of straw phonation (experimental) compared to “ah” vowel (control) warm-ups on acoustic and self-reported measures of seventh-grade female-identifying singers. We calculated each participant’s Acoustic Voice Quality Index (AVQI) prior to and after a 4–5-minute straw phonation (n = 6) or unoccluded “ah” vowel (n = 6) warm-up. Results indicated robust improvement in AVQI scores after both warm-ups, with a trend toward more acoustic improvement after straw phonation (5 improved, M = 0.48, compared to 4, M = 0.35). All participants self-reported that their respective voicing helped them to be more warmed up, but the effect was statistically much larger in the straw group (7.23 to 5.00, 10-point scale). Some participants self-reported that straw phonation was more effective than their typical warm-up. These results may indicate more robust benefits from straw phonation, which could facilitate increased motivation during a difficult transition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalVoice and Speech Review
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • AVQI
  • Straw phonation
  • adolescent female singer
  • vocal quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Music


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