Learning how to sing better means knowing about your voice, and all the elements that can affect your sound. The tongue can be a major player in sound production. It can help you make beautiful sounding tones, or it can cause your voice lots of grief.
The root of the tongue starts in the same area as the vocal cords in your throat. Most untrained singers don’t even realize the tongue is causing problems with their singing. Usually this creates a tightened or strained sound, and sometime it causes a nasal sounding singing voice. What is happening is the tongue is actually backing up and “covering” the vocal cords, instead of coming forward, staying relaxed, and allowing the throat to be open.
You can check this by singing your favorite chorus with your tongue lying out over your bottom teeth and lower lip. You don’t have to force it out, because again you would be creating tension in the tongue. Is your jaw and tongue relaxed enough so that your entire throat feels free? Now sing your chorus.
It is difficult to pronounce words this way, but the purpose of this exercise is to notice the open throat and tongue release.
This is a great way for rock singers and singers who are learning to belt to get in touch with the physical effort necessary in their body for optimum breath support for their mixed voice. Notice you may need to decrease your volume to maintain the balance of cord closure to allow the voice to mix in the upper register.
If your sound is breathy, then that is a key indicator that your vocal cords and breath support can be engaged better with proper coordinations. You have taken the tongue out of the equation so you can focus on your “cry” to get cord closure.
Do this everyday with the tongue out and experience an open throat with good vocal closure. Use sounds like “uh-uh” (as in “us”) and sing up and down through your register break. Don’t force your sound. Your voice will eventually start to become less breathy and you will start to hear and feel the edges of your cords touching. This is a great way to get in touch with “vocal fry” too.
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