Brain Tool #16: Vocal Jam

Play Daily With These Steps to Boost Your Brain:

1. From a standing or seated position, initiate a deep abdominal breath

2. Begin by speaking this fun little combo of words, “chick-a-chick-a-boom-boom”

3. Continually repeat this phrase without stopping for 1 minute! As you do, start to play with:
a. Different beginning/ending consonants
b. Different vowels
c. Different repetitions or the words “chick” and/or “boom”
d. Different inflections, ranges and pitches
e. Different facial expressions
f. Different “accents” (i.e. varying which syllable you emphasize. However, feel free to play with your southern drawl, too!) Vocal Play Demo

4. Playing with various ideas in step 3 will inspire you to launch into our own “vocal jam” of whatever silly words, sounds, rap-combos come to your voice! The important thing is to KEEP your voice MOVIN’ without editing, criticizing, or stopping!

5. Play towards the goal of expressing a 5 minute non-stop vocal jam!

6. End your vocal jam with the feet planted, while taking several deep belly breaths

Vocal Jam Applications to Inspire Flexible Thinking:

1. Do a vocal jam in the shower to awaken your mind-body

2. Vocal jam before a creative writing or problem solving task

3. Engage with a partner in a vocal jam dialogue!

4. Vocal jam with a group of children (and if you don’t have any, borrow some!)

What’s Unique About This Brain Tool:

1. Vocal play (improvisation) increases activity in the pre-frontal cortex, an area associated with higher-order thinking and problem solving

2. Vocal improvisation increases activity in the perisylvan system (an area involved with language production), the amygdala (an almond-sized area in the limbic brain associated with strong emotions and memories with a strong emotional connect), and the cingulate motor areas.

3. Vocal improv  increases activity in the “autobiographical” center of the brain — the part that formulates our personal story (particularly great for tweens/teens!)

4. Vocal improv strengthens our working/short-term memory

5. Vocal improv increases serotonin levels which boosts our immune  system, elevates our mood, improves our digestion, and sleep