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Found 12 results

  1. So the tongue behind the bottom teeth or on the floor of the mouth, does this really work for all styles and genres of singing? From my experience with a vertical embouchure it's easy to maintain but with a more horizontal embouchure it becomes increasingly difficult. Obviously on some consonants your tongue has to touch the roof of your mouth or rise above your bottom teeth but others can be shaped entirely with the throat through practice. Free motion of the tongue feels a lot easier but does have an affect on tone and timbre. Can you make all sounds desired with this technique or is counter intuitive movement of the tongue necessary in some cases? But how much does it actually affect support? What would be helpful for someone having trouble with keeping their tongue low? Sometimes it sounds like I have mush mouth when I sing this way. I've posed alot of questions, I know you guys wont answer all of them lol but any reasoning, advice or experience with tongue movement/placement would be appreciated.
  2. Hey everyone! Just wanted to check in with some interesting reflections that I had recently with the folks who could benefit. So for background, I recently started med school and we have to take a pretty detailed course in gross anatomy that covers the entire body head to toe. I found that as a singing student, learning gross anatomy in lab and lecture has been extremely beneficial. There are so many things that we talk about and try to cue ourselves and others to do in order to achieve certain qualities in vocal production that now seem so much less mysterious, mystical, and/or unclear to me. 1. Twang - quacking, pharyngeal voice, narrowing of ari-epiglottic funnel/space/whatever people want to call it. I have seen SO many thread about "what is twang, how do we do it"... seriously, cutting into the back of the pharynx and looking at the picture like this taught a very real lesson of how close the muscular back of the tongue is to the epiglottis, which creates the necessary twang to help us negotiate pressure to adduct our vocal folds for good singing. This explains why the cue of "raise back of tongue to molars" can help get the epiglottis to move if the student does not know what it means to "twang". There are three muscles attached to the pharynx called "superior, middle and inferior pharyngeal constrictors", the infrahyoid muscles, and some of the tongue (more on that later) muscles... some of the enemies of beginning singers. 2. Support - If anyone wants any cool pictures of support muscles, please let me know and then tell me how real you want the pictures to look haha I have a better understanding now of... what muscles are used in support, how to use them, do I tighten/tense them or not?! how proper support is almost as easy as learning a few things about what proper "bracing" for daily activities and athletics is from a physical therapist. How you can squeeze your glutes to "set" the spinal alignment before you work on the breath so you KNOW 100% that you are straight. How the pelvic floor contributes. How scapular stability relates to consistent support and expansion. How pulling in from the stomach is invariably requires strength and command of the transverse abdominal muscle, so telling students to "just relax and breathe and pull in but stay relaxed" can be counter-productive because they don't realize they're engaging one muscle while keeping the other muscles in check. Also, Phil is totally right about the "fist into the gut" feeling, and Marnell is def talking about the transversus abdominis when he talks about the sensations of support (vomiting, etc) in that 1 hour long video. 3. Soft palate, the nasopharynx, sinuses - After seeing the sinuses in real life and finding them myself, I can definitely say I have a new appreciation for how vibrations and sound and fluid all interact with the sinuses in the nasopharynx. Also a new appreciation for how bad head colds with sinus problems can be. 4. Ken Tamplin's tongue - that's right, I said it. So many questions are asked every year about "wtf his tongue is doing" and if it is okay or not. My personal verdict on the topic is now out: what I learned suggests that it is indeed okay to change the shape of the tongue in the mouth while singing if you want - to a certain extent. The genioglossus (the largest tongue protruding muscle) and some other tongue muscles are attached to a bone can cause unintentional larynx raising (as larynx is also connected to said bone lol) if the tongue is protruded too far out, but where and how to shape the tongue otherwise is rather individual and totally cool if you can still form your vowels and consonants the way you want (I admit some of Ken's vowels are not how I personally would sing my vowels but I know he likes em and that's cool): this is because the muscles that do that part of tongue shaping "making concave U's or fat lizard tongues or flat tongues" are NOT attached to any bones, making them totally cool to do what you want with them, including help you form consonants. Stopping myself from going on forever now. tl;dr: Med school anatomy has confirmed to me and taught me even more about many things in vocal pedagogy that I was not sure about before, feel free to discuss how you guys might have already known this stuff or whatever or ask for cool pictures.
  3. florancecipher

    lip roll and tongue

    hi guys! I wonder where my tongue should be when i am doing my lip roll... as i feel some tension in the roof of my tongue after doing lip roll.... thank you!
  4. What is tongue thrust? Tongue thrust (also called "reverse" or "immature" swallow) is the common name given to orofacial muscular imbalance, a human behavioral pattern in which the tongue protrudes through the anterior incisors during swallowing, speech and while the tongue is at rest. Nearly all young children exhibit a swallowing pattern involving tongue protrusion, but by the age of 6 most have automatically switched to a normal swallowing pattern. (Wikipedia). Why is it a concern? Dentists and orthodontists are concerned with the effects of the tongue and facial muscles on the occlusion (how teeth fit together) of teeth because of the evidence proving that too much tongue pressure against the teeth on the inside and an unequal amount of facial muscle pressure from the outside - as is the case with a tongue thrust swallow and/or incorrect tongue resting posture - may result in a malocclusion or misalignment of the teeth - the resting posture of the tongue and facial muscles play an even more vital role: If the tongue is constantly resting against the front teeth and the upper lip in short or flaccid (weak and flabby), the front teeth will be pushed forward. Thus, correcting this tongue thrust using special speech techniques will play a crucial role in any good orthodontic treatment, making the treatment's results long lasting and much easier to achieve. What are some signs of having a tongue thrust problem? One or more of the following conditions may clearly indicate tongue thrust disorder and should be investigated further with an evaluation of speech pathologist 1. Tongue protruding between or against the upper and/or lower "front teeth" when forming /s/, /z/, /t/, /d/, /n/, /l/, or /sh/ 2. Frequent open-mouth resting posture with the lips parted and/or the tongue resting against the upper and/or lower teeth 3. Lips that is often cracked, chapped, and sore from frequent licking 4. Frequent mouth breathing in the absence of allergies or nasal congestion Treatment of tongue thrust and subsequent articulation disorders. To correct tongue thrust, speech pathologists prescribe exercises designed to promote a normal swallowing pattern, as well as correct speech production. In the evaluation session the patient will be given swallowing and articulation inventory tests. If only pure tongue thrust is found without any articulation errors then usually three sessions are enough. At this evaluation session the patient will be given the main set of drills against tongue thrust that he has to do on a daily basis for 60 days following this session. A second session will be scheduled 4 weeks later to follow up on the results of this oral physiotherapy and consider adding another set of drills for the next 4 weeks after which the third session is scheduled with follow up on the results. If the patient has misarticulated consonants (usually the high pitched ones: /s/ , /z/ , /sh/ , /ch/ , /ts/) - then each sound will have to be corrected in a 8-session weekly speech therapy while doing the same oral physiotherapy for 60 days - as well as specially designated speech drills to correct each sound. The good news are that by successful correction of one sound we may correct another (for example: correcting the /s/ may solve the problem with the /ts/ sound). It is possible to do 80% of this treatment online(TelePractice) with very good results ! Gal Levy, M.S., CCC-SLP View full articles
  5. What is tongue thrust? Tongue thrust (also called "reverse" or "immature" swallow) is the common name given to orofacial muscular imbalance, a human behavioral pattern in which the tongue protrudes through the anterior incisors during swallowing, speech and while the tongue is at rest. Nearly all young children exhibit a swallowing pattern involving tongue protrusion, but by the age of 6 most have automatically switched to a normal swallowing pattern. (Wikipedia). Why is it a concern? Dentists and orthodontists are concerned with the effects of the tongue and facial muscles on the occlusion (how teeth fit together) of teeth because of the evidence proving that too much tongue pressure against the teeth on the inside and an unequal amount of facial muscle pressure from the outside - as is the case with a tongue thrust swallow and/or incorrect tongue resting posture - may result in a malocclusion or misalignment of the teeth - the resting posture of the tongue and facial muscles play an even more vital role: If the tongue is constantly resting against the front teeth and the upper lip in short or flaccid (weak and flabby), the front teeth will be pushed forward. Thus, correcting this tongue thrust using special speech techniques will play a crucial role in any good orthodontic treatment, making the treatment's results long lasting and much easier to achieve. What are some signs of having a tongue thrust problem? One or more of the following conditions may clearly indicate tongue thrust disorder and should be investigated further with an evaluation of speech pathologist 1. Tongue protruding between or against the upper and/or lower "front teeth" when forming /s/, /z/, /t/, /d/, /n/, /l/, or /sh/ 2. Frequent open-mouth resting posture with the lips parted and/or the tongue resting against the upper and/or lower teeth 3. Lips that is often cracked, chapped, and sore from frequent licking 4. Frequent mouth breathing in the absence of allergies or nasal congestion Treatment of tongue thrust and subsequent articulation disorders. To correct tongue thrust, speech pathologists prescribe exercises designed to promote a normal swallowing pattern, as well as correct speech production. In the evaluation session the patient will be given swallowing and articulation inventory tests. If only pure tongue thrust is found without any articulation errors then usually three sessions are enough. At this evaluation session the patient will be given the main set of drills against tongue thrust that he has to do on a daily basis for 60 days following this session. A second session will be scheduled 4 weeks later to follow up on the results of this oral physiotherapy and consider adding another set of drills for the next 4 weeks after which the third session is scheduled with follow up on the results. If the patient has misarticulated consonants (usually the high pitched ones: /s/ , /z/ , /sh/ , /ch/ , /ts/) - then each sound will have to be corrected in a 8-session weekly speech therapy while doing the same oral physiotherapy for 60 days - as well as specially designated speech drills to correct each sound. The good news are that by successful correction of one sound we may correct another (for example: correcting the /s/ may solve the problem with the /ts/ sound). It is possible to do 80% of this treatment online(TelePractice) with very good results ! Gal Levy, M.S., CCC-SLP
  6. You've heard them, I've heard them. Some singers seem like they can do whatever they awant to do with their voice: endless range, dynamic expression, power and strength, yet control and finesse. But you know, the reality for most singers is that they are frustrated, to one degree or another, with a sense that their voice is dictating to them what they can and can’t do. They are not in control of their voice and experience limitations with range, tone quality, stylistic flexibility and the list goes on. Is it really possible for a singer to move beyond these limitations and discover the vocal freedom? Yes! And the key to unlocking vocal skills is the elimination of vocal tension. Vocal tension is any muscle outside the voice box (larynx) that manipulates the voice and its production. And while these different tension areas do help you can sing a little higher or a little louder, or navigate a difficult passage the limitations that come from these tension areas far outweigh the help they provide. If you can free-up the tension, you may never fear that one occasion where your voice falters when you least expect it. Your voice box is designed in such a way that all the flexibility you need is provided by its inner-workings. Your full range, all the dynamic contrast, and the style, nuance and color with which you sing is possessed within the voice itself. The key to realizing vocal freedom is identifying the areas of tension holding you back and developing a vocal exercise plan that will move you beyond these limitations. Identifying the Barriers There are five main areas where vocal tension can strike: jaw, neck, larynx, face and tongue. Following are several characteristics of each of these tension areas, along with some practical exercises to get you started in your journey toward eliminating the tension areas most pertinent to your voice. JAW TENSION occurs in the jaw muscles, right at the hinge of the jaw. Mostly it is characterized physically by the jaw thrusting forward and locking itself into place. Singers with jaw tension often experience difficulty maneuvering the voice and changing their vocal production as they move throughout their range. The top part of the range is generally pushed and forced because the voice is not releasing, but rather carrying the weight of the lower range to the upper range. The best way to alleviate the strain of the jaw muscles is by simply massaging the jaw as you begin vocalizing. Rub the jaw at the hinge, and allow the jaw to relax, feeling almost as if it is disconnected from the rest of your head. (If you drool on yourself then you know your jaw is relaxed!) With the jaw in this relaxed state, slowly begin working your way through the range allowing the voice to release as you sing your way up. NECK TENSION is probably the area of tension that affects a lot of singers, and is easily detected by the rising of the chin and the stretching of the neck muscles (a singer with neck tension looks like someone struggling to do a pull-up, straining to barely clear the bar with his or her chin). The sound generated by someone singing with neck tension is a strained tone that gets thinner and thinner, and more and more strained the higher the singer goes. To relax neck tension, roll your head around freely as you vocalize. Be sure that as you are doing this, you don't roll your head to the upright position with the chin up and neck extended described above, on the highest note of the exercise. If anything, you should be looking down on the highest note to ensure there is no reach involved. If you feel funny rolling your head, at least move it to one side or the other when you're going for a high note. This disconnect exercise keeps your muscles focused on something other than tightening up on your larynx. LARYNGEAL TENSION is characterized by the larynx rising up and constricting the space in the back of the throat. The sound associated with laryngeal tension is thin, whiny and often nasally. Singers who are plagued by this tension area often experience significant vocal fatigue, are usually hoarse within one to two hours of singing, and require anywhere from 24-72 hours to fully recover from a rehearsal, or performance. The way to relax the larynx and discover the descended position that opens the throat is to yawn. Place your fingers flush across the front of your throat and feel for the front of the larynx a little (or not so little) bump extending out from the rest of the throat. With your hand in this monitoring position, yawn and notice how the voice box drops. This is the position in which you want the voice box to remain as you sing an exercise throughout your range. The sound of this dropped larynx position will be very classical (open and dark) compared to the typical contemporary sound. It is critical that this classical sound be used consistently whenever singing vocal exercises. This will not confine you to singing in a classical style, but will actually increase your ability to sing your song in the modern, cutting-edge style you desire for your voice. You will acquire muscle memory by doing this yawning exercise. You will then have a tool to use in your regular vocal performances. FACIAL TENSION is present whenever a singer's face is doing something weird in order to sing a high note, navigate a certain passage or achieve any other challenging vocal production. A great loosener for this tension area is to buzz or roll your lips while singing an exercise. The more vibration you can create, the better the exercise will assist you in removing any tension that may be coming from the face (forehead, lips and cheeks). If you find it hard to loosen your lips, gently place your finger tips to each cheek, and lift slightly to take weight and tension off your cheeks. Now let some air through your lips, while letting them flap or roll. Try to keep the roll or flap frequency to a minimum, not quite like doing the sound of a motor boat, but more like that of a horse flapping its lips. TONGUE TENSION occurs when the back of the tongue pulls back and pushes down against the top of the larynx. This tension usually results in a dark and muffled sound to the tone. While many singers have never heard of tongue tension, I have yet to come across a singer who didn't have some work to do in this area, no matter how developed and accomplished they were as a vocalist. Working to eliminate tongue tension is not fun, but if done consistently it will have a tremendous effect on helping you achieve the freedom and flexibility you are capable of. To begin, cut a handi-wipe into a 3- or 4-inch x 1-inch strip. Then stick out your tongue as far as possible and use the wipe strip to hold onto your tongue and try to keep it in that position as you sing a vocal exercise throughout your range. If this is a new exercise for you, you will most likely feel quite a bit of resistance as the tongue tries to retreat back into your mouth so that the back of the tongue (in the throat) can push down against the larynx. Hold the tongue out against this resistance and eventually, with consistent practice, the tongue will stop resisting and relax, freeing the voice box from this tension. You can also just stick your tongue out, trying to reach your chin, then do this exercise: Stick you tongue out, sing these scale tones: 1-2-3-4-5-6-5-6-5-6-5-4-3-2-1, holding a bit on that first 5. Use an ah vowel when doing this, going chromatically up from a low scale (say A below middle C for males) to a high scale (like D above middle C) or as comfortably as you can do it in your range. Don't allow your tongue to retreat on those higher notes. As I said earlier, with consistent practice, the tongue will relax. Vocal Abuse While it's true these tension areas place limitations on your vocal flexibility and creativity, their long-term neglect can be much more serious. Over the long haul, vocal tension can lead to vocal damage that may sideline a singer for months, years or even the rest of their career. Often times, singers who sing in a contemporary environment are hesitant to dive into the type of vocal training described here because they are afraid their voice will end up sounding too pretty or classical, and lose its contemporary edge. This is simply not the case. As you gradually eliminate these tension areas from your voice and regularly practice vocal exercises with more of a classical sound and technique, your tone will improve, your range will increase, you will gain more control of your voice and you will increase your ability to sing in the cutting-edge style you desire to hear from your voice. Practice, Practice, Practice ( or How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall?) As a singer, you need to think of yourself as much as an athlete as a musician. Your voice is part of your body, and requires regular, consistent exercise to achieve its full potential. In order to see the kind of results that will keep you motivated to continue working on your voice, you need to practice a minimum of 20 minutes, three to four times per week, singing vocal exercises (not songs) that are specifically designed to help you reprogram muscle memory and coordination, build strength and control, and move beyond the limitations you are experiencing in your voice. Find a teacher in your area or a proven training method to help you in your journey as a vocalist. Ask friends for recommendations, or search for reviews of vocal teachers or online products. Start a blog on a vocalist-focused website requesting referrals. View full articles
  7. You've heard them, I've heard them. Some singers seem like they can do whatever they awant to do with their voice: endless range, dynamic expression, power and strength, yet control and finesse. But you know, the reality for most singers is that they are frustrated, to one degree or another, with a sense that their voice is dictating to them what they can and can’t do. They are not in control of their voice and experience limitations with range, tone quality, stylistic flexibility and the list goes on. Is it really possible for a singer to move beyond these limitations and discover the vocal freedom? Yes! And the key to unlocking vocal skills is the elimination of vocal tension. Vocal tension is any muscle outside the voice box (larynx) that manipulates the voice and its production. And while these different tension areas do help you can sing a little higher or a little louder, or navigate a difficult passage the limitations that come from these tension areas far outweigh the help they provide. If you can free-up the tension, you may never fear that one occasion where your voice falters when you least expect it. Your voice box is designed in such a way that all the flexibility you need is provided by its inner-workings. Your full range, all the dynamic contrast, and the style, nuance and color with which you sing is possessed within the voice itself. The key to realizing vocal freedom is identifying the areas of tension holding you back and developing a vocal exercise plan that will move you beyond these limitations. Identifying the Barriers There are five main areas where vocal tension can strike: jaw, neck, larynx, face and tongue. Following are several characteristics of each of these tension areas, along with some practical exercises to get you started in your journey toward eliminating the tension areas most pertinent to your voice. JAW TENSION occurs in the jaw muscles, right at the hinge of the jaw. Mostly it is characterized physically by the jaw thrusting forward and locking itself into place. Singers with jaw tension often experience difficulty maneuvering the voice and changing their vocal production as they move throughout their range. The top part of the range is generally pushed and forced because the voice is not releasing, but rather carrying the weight of the lower range to the upper range. The best way to alleviate the strain of the jaw muscles is by simply massaging the jaw as you begin vocalizing. Rub the jaw at the hinge, and allow the jaw to relax, feeling almost as if it is disconnected from the rest of your head. (If you drool on yourself then you know your jaw is relaxed!) With the jaw in this relaxed state, slowly begin working your way through the range allowing the voice to release as you sing your way up. NECK TENSION is probably the area of tension that affects a lot of singers, and is easily detected by the rising of the chin and the stretching of the neck muscles (a singer with neck tension looks like someone struggling to do a pull-up, straining to barely clear the bar with his or her chin). The sound generated by someone singing with neck tension is a strained tone that gets thinner and thinner, and more and more strained the higher the singer goes. To relax neck tension, roll your head around freely as you vocalize. Be sure that as you are doing this, you don't roll your head to the upright position with the chin up and neck extended described above, on the highest note of the exercise. If anything, you should be looking down on the highest note to ensure there is no reach involved. If you feel funny rolling your head, at least move it to one side or the other when you're going for a high note. This disconnect exercise keeps your muscles focused on something other than tightening up on your larynx. LARYNGEAL TENSION is characterized by the larynx rising up and constricting the space in the back of the throat. The sound associated with laryngeal tension is thin, whiny and often nasally. Singers who are plagued by this tension area often experience significant vocal fatigue, are usually hoarse within one to two hours of singing, and require anywhere from 24-72 hours to fully recover from a rehearsal, or performance. The way to relax the larynx and discover the descended position that opens the throat is to yawn. Place your fingers flush across the front of your throat and feel for the front of the larynx a little (or not so little) bump extending out from the rest of the throat. With your hand in this monitoring position, yawn and notice how the voice box drops. This is the position in which you want the voice box to remain as you sing an exercise throughout your range. The sound of this dropped larynx position will be very classical (open and dark) compared to the typical contemporary sound. It is critical that this classical sound be used consistently whenever singing vocal exercises. This will not confine you to singing in a classical style, but will actually increase your ability to sing your song in the modern, cutting-edge style you desire for your voice. You will acquire muscle memory by doing this yawning exercise. You will then have a tool to use in your regular vocal performances. FACIAL TENSION is present whenever a singer's face is doing something weird in order to sing a high note, navigate a certain passage or achieve any other challenging vocal production. A great loosener for this tension area is to buzz or roll your lips while singing an exercise. The more vibration you can create, the better the exercise will assist you in removing any tension that may be coming from the face (forehead, lips and cheeks). If you find it hard to loosen your lips, gently place your finger tips to each cheek, and lift slightly to take weight and tension off your cheeks. Now let some air through your lips, while letting them flap or roll. Try to keep the roll or flap frequency to a minimum, not quite like doing the sound of a motor boat, but more like that of a horse flapping its lips. TONGUE TENSION occurs when the back of the tongue pulls back and pushes down against the top of the larynx. This tension usually results in a dark and muffled sound to the tone. While many singers have never heard of tongue tension, I have yet to come across a singer who didn't have some work to do in this area, no matter how developed and accomplished they were as a vocalist. Working to eliminate tongue tension is not fun, but if done consistently it will have a tremendous effect on helping you achieve the freedom and flexibility you are capable of. To begin, cut a handi-wipe into a 3- or 4-inch x 1-inch strip. Then stick out your tongue as far as possible and use the wipe strip to hold onto your tongue and try to keep it in that position as you sing a vocal exercise throughout your range. If this is a new exercise for you, you will most likely feel quite a bit of resistance as the tongue tries to retreat back into your mouth so that the back of the tongue (in the throat) can push down against the larynx. Hold the tongue out against this resistance and eventually, with consistent practice, the tongue will stop resisting and relax, freeing the voice box from this tension. You can also just stick your tongue out, trying to reach your chin, then do this exercise: Stick you tongue out, sing these scale tones: 1-2-3-4-5-6-5-6-5-6-5-4-3-2-1, holding a bit on that first 5. Use an ah vowel when doing this, going chromatically up from a low scale (say A below middle C for males) to a high scale (like D above middle C) or as comfortably as you can do it in your range. Don't allow your tongue to retreat on those higher notes. As I said earlier, with consistent practice, the tongue will relax. Vocal Abuse While it's true these tension areas place limitations on your vocal flexibility and creativity, their long-term neglect can be much more serious. Over the long haul, vocal tension can lead to vocal damage that may sideline a singer for months, years or even the rest of their career. Often times, singers who sing in a contemporary environment are hesitant to dive into the type of vocal training described here because they are afraid their voice will end up sounding too pretty or classical, and lose its contemporary edge. This is simply not the case. As you gradually eliminate these tension areas from your voice and regularly practice vocal exercises with more of a classical sound and technique, your tone will improve, your range will increase, you will gain more control of your voice and you will increase your ability to sing in the cutting-edge style you desire to hear from your voice. Practice, Practice, Practice ( or How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall?) As a singer, you need to think of yourself as much as an athlete as a musician. Your voice is part of your body, and requires regular, consistent exercise to achieve its full potential. In order to see the kind of results that will keep you motivated to continue working on your voice, you need to practice a minimum of 20 minutes, three to four times per week, singing vocal exercises (not songs) that are specifically designed to help you reprogram muscle memory and coordination, build strength and control, and move beyond the limitations you are experiencing in your voice. Find a teacher in your area or a proven training method to help you in your journey as a vocalist. Ask friends for recommendations, or search for reviews of vocal teachers or online products. Start a blog on a vocalist-focused website requesting referrals.
  8. As I previously mentioned, the tongue is often a source of unwanted tensions for singers. It is important to be aware of the engagement of the hyoid or digastric muscles at the base of the tongue, near the chin. Just the awareness of their activity helps in loosening their grip. Place both thumbs under your chin and sing an ascending passage. If you feel pressure from the tongue pushing downward, those muscles are getting in the way of efficient tone production. Also, if when watching yourself in a mirror you notice your tongue pulling backward in your mouth, it is being disruptive to good singing. WE DON'T WANT THAT!!!!! I like to start my warmup time with some tongue stretches before I actually vocalize. This routine I learned from Nate Waller, who was my speech pathologist when I was preparing for vocal fold surgery. Since then, they have become a regular part of my daily regimen. So here goes: 1) Stick the tongue out of the mouth pointing upward. Hold for 3-4 seconds and release. Repeat 3 times. 2) Stick the tongue out pointing downward for 3-4 seconds then release. Repeat 3 times. 3) Stick the tongue out to the each side of the mouth for 3 repetitions, holding for 4 seconds each time. 4) With the tip of the tongue behind the lower front teeth, extend the body of the tongue forward and out . Hold for 4 seconds. Repeat 4 times. Make this a regular part of the vocal warmup process. You will be so very glad you did!! I like to monitor the activilty of the muscles under the chin throughout my practice time. If I feel that my production of sound is getting more difficult, I place the thumbs under the chin to check for tightening of those evil tongue muscles. Often, that is the source of the imbalance. If you're like me and had a lot of problems in this area early on, you must remain vigilant in self-monitoring. View full articles
  9. TMV World Team

    Dealing With Tongue Tension

    As I previously mentioned, the tongue is often a source of unwanted tensions for singers. It is important to be aware of the engagement of the hyoid or digastric muscles at the base of the tongue, near the chin. Just the awareness of their activity helps in loosening their grip. Place both thumbs under your chin and sing an ascending passage. If you feel pressure from the tongue pushing downward, those muscles are getting in the way of efficient tone production. Also, if when watching yourself in a mirror you notice your tongue pulling backward in your mouth, it is being disruptive to good singing. WE DON'T WANT THAT!!!!! I like to start my warmup time with some tongue stretches before I actually vocalize. This routine I learned from Nate Waller, who was my speech pathologist when I was preparing for vocal fold surgery. Since then, they have become a regular part of my daily regimen. So here goes: 1) Stick the tongue out of the mouth pointing upward. Hold for 3-4 seconds and release. Repeat 3 times. 2) Stick the tongue out pointing downward for 3-4 seconds then release. Repeat 3 times. 3) Stick the tongue out to the each side of the mouth for 3 repetitions, holding for 4 seconds each time. 4) With the tip of the tongue behind the lower front teeth, extend the body of the tongue forward and out . Hold for 4 seconds. Repeat 4 times. Make this a regular part of the vocal warmup process. You will be so very glad you did!! I like to monitor the activilty of the muscles under the chin throughout my practice time. If I feel that my production of sound is getting more difficult, I place the thumbs under the chin to check for tightening of those evil tongue muscles. Often, that is the source of the imbalance. If you're like me and had a lot of problems in this area early on, you must remain vigilant in self-monitoring.
  10. Marnell Dante Sample

    ArticlesTongue Position while Singing

    If you do an online search for this topic, you will find lots of advice from teachers to keep the tip of the tongue by the bottom teeth. The reasoning is that it will prevent your tongue from pulling back into your throat and creating a "swallowed" sound. If someone were to ask me about this topic, my response would be, "It depends." For those of you who prefer video format as opposed to text, I have addressed this topic in the YouTube video below. Otherwise, keep reading below. There are four major variables that influence tongue position which I will be outlining below. They are: (1) tongue size vs. jaw size, (2) the vowel, (3) pitch range, and (4) sound color. Tongue size vs. jaw size The biggest factor that determines whether the tip of your tongue will be by your bottom teeth is the size of your jaw in relation to the size of your tongue. As a generalization, if you have a relatively small mouth, the tip of your tongue will likely often rest by the bottom teeth; on the other hand, if you have a large mouth especially if it opens a lot vertically, the tip of the tongue may "float" in the mouth more often. In this latter case, trying to keep the tip of the tongue by the bottom teeth can actually impair your ability to open your mouth! There are exceptions to these generalizations since we all come in so many different shapes and sizes, but these "rules" do hold true in many cases. Vowels The tip of the tongue often falls closer to the bottom teeth on low vowels like AH and AA and floats more in the mouth for high vowels like EE and OO. The vowel is primarily formed by the MIDDLE portion of the tongue, so what the tip of the tongue is doing will often be irrelevant. To experience what the middle portion of the tongue feels like, do a siren on an NG sound. If you look in front of a mirror, the tip of your tongue will likely be floating in your mouth while the middle portion of the tongue will be arched high and helping to shape the resonance. While every vowel won't feel exactly like this NG set up, it does point you in the direction. Pitch range The higher you go in pitch, the more the mouth has to open. As the mouth opens more, especially if you have a mouth that opens a lot vertically, the tip of the tongue will tend to "float" in the mouth more frequently. Sound color The more twang you bring into the sound, the more the tongue will tend to float since the tongue has to couple with the back of the throat in a particular way to create the resonance. This tend to happen the higher you go into your pitch range since more twang naturally has to come up for your upper notes, otherwise you will impair your range. If you want to learn more about how twang influences tongue position, look at the Edge mode in Complete Vocal Technique. Also, the more you open the mouth horizontally as for a smile, the more the tip of the tongue tends to rest by the bottom teeth; when you open more vertically, the tongue will tend to float more. So what does all of this mean for me as a singer? It means don't worry about your tongue position and instead, just simply focus on trying to pronounce your vowel sounds as clearly as you can while still keeping the throat supple. If you follow this idea, the tongue will position itself however it needs to for the given pitch, vowel, and sound color. I leave you with some examples of singers whose tongue tip does not always lie by the bottom teeth. If you have questions, feel free to ask. For future updates, be sure to like the Vocal Liberation FaceBook page. http://www.facebook.com/VocalLiberation Guy Penrod Guy Penrod of the Gaither Vocal Band has a rather large mouth that opens a lot vertically. The tip of his tongue is often not near his bottom teeth as a result, especially in his higher range. In this video of Guy singing "Let Freedom Ring", look at his tongue from 3:55-4:01, on the "key" at 5:08, and "let" at 6:02. Note that even though the tip of the tongue isn't by the bottom teeth, the middle portion of the tongue is still arched just like every other singer on the stage. Michael Ball Michael is an example of someone with a larger than average mouth which opens a lot in the vertical direction. As a result, he often displays a floating tongue, especially on his EH and EE vowels. In this live performance of "Anthem", from 2:46 until the end of the clip, you can often see a floating tongue. In particular look at "where" at 2:54, "let" at 3:00, "tear themselves" at 3:04, and "my land's" at 3:11. Taylor Dayne Although Taylor has a mouth which is only slightly larger than average, her voice naturally has a lot of twang. As a result, her tongue is often in a high, arched position near the upper molars. When you combine this with the fact that the front portion of her tongue is short, you will often witness a floating tongue in her for many of her vowels. In this live performance of "Love Will Lead You Back", you can see the floating tongue on "together" at 0:35, "back" at 2:03, "long" at 2:26, and "back" at 2:30-2:33. Yolanda Adams Yolanda has a very big mouth that opens a lot vertically. Like the other singers, you can see the characteristic arch in the middle portion of the tongue, especially on her EE, EH, and AA vowels. Her tongue often floats for her EE vowel in particular, which can be seen in this performance of "Imagine" from 0:38-0:40 when she sings "peace". John Raitt John Raitt has the combination of a small mouth with a short tongue. You can often see his tongue floating in his mouth for many vowels, including his AH. In this stage performance of "If I Loved You", you can see this tongue position. The song begins at 9:00. Highlighted point include "how I" at 9:04, "exactly" at 9:08, "how I'd" at 9:11, and "I" at 9:17 for examples on AH and AA. Fritz Wunderlich Fritz is an interesting case because even though he has a small mouth, his tongue itself is actually short relative to the size of his mouth. So his tongue is often floating in spite of his small mouth size. Look at this video of him singing Tamino's aria. In particular, look from 0:45-0:55, 2:01-2:09, and 2:59-3:06. Piotr Beczala Piotr is an example of a singer with a larger than average mouth that opens a lot vertically, very similarly to Guy's mouth. (You can't quite tell just how big his mouth is from this clip, but the size of his mouth can be seen more clearly in other clips.) In this montage of him singing song by Richard Tauber, you can see his tongue. In particular, look at 0:50-1:08, 3:21-3:30, and 4:01-4:07. Mario del Monaco Mario has an average sized mouth, but for his EH and EE vowels, you will often see the tip of the tongue floating in the mouth. In this performance of "Vesti la giubba", you can see his tongue floating for the EH vowel at 1:09. It is often floating in many other phrases in the aria, but it is most clear at that time. Lauritz Melchior Lauritz is a great example of someone with a small mouth but also a short tongue. Look at his performance of "Because" to see examples of this floating tongue. Especially pay attention to his EE vowels. From 0:51 to 1:20, there are good close ups of his mouth, in particular, the "me" at 1:16. Giovanni Martinelli Giovanni is yet another example of the small mouth, short tongue combo. His tongue can often be seen floating in his mouth in this performance of "Torna a Surriento". Be sure to pay attention at 0:13, 0:46-0:56, 1:13, and 1:26-1:35. View full articles
  11. Marnell Dante Sample

    Tongue Position while Singing

    If you do an online search for this topic, you will find lots of advice from teachers to keep the tip of the tongue by the bottom teeth. The reasoning is that it will prevent your tongue from pulling back into your throat and creating a "swallowed" sound. If someone were to ask me about this topic, my response would be, "It depends." For those of you who prefer video format as opposed to text, I have addressed this topic in the YouTube video below. Otherwise, keep reading below. There are four major variables that influence tongue position which I will be outlining below. They are: (1) tongue size vs. jaw size, (2) the vowel, (3) pitch range, and (4) sound color. Tongue size vs. jaw size The biggest factor that determines whether the tip of your tongue will be by your bottom teeth is the size of your jaw in relation to the size of your tongue. As a generalization, if you have a relatively small mouth, the tip of your tongue will likely often rest by the bottom teeth; on the other hand, if you have a large mouth especially if it opens a lot vertically, the tip of the tongue may "float" in the mouth more often. In this latter case, trying to keep the tip of the tongue by the bottom teeth can actually impair your ability to open your mouth! There are exceptions to these generalizations since we all come in so many different shapes and sizes, but these "rules" do hold true in many cases. Vowels The tip of the tongue often falls closer to the bottom teeth on low vowels like AH and AA and floats more in the mouth for high vowels like EE and OO. The vowel is primarily formed by the MIDDLE portion of the tongue, so what the tip of the tongue is doing will often be irrelevant. To experience what the middle portion of the tongue feels like, do a siren on an NG sound. If you look in front of a mirror, the tip of your tongue will likely be floating in your mouth while the middle portion of the tongue will be arched high and helping to shape the resonance. While every vowel won't feel exactly like this NG set up, it does point you in the direction. Pitch range The higher you go in pitch, the more the mouth has to open. As the mouth opens more, especially if you have a mouth that opens a lot vertically, the tip of the tongue will tend to "float" in the mouth more frequently. Sound color The more twang you bring into the sound, the more the tongue will tend to float since the tongue has to couple with the back of the throat in a particular way to create the resonance. This tend to happen the higher you go into your pitch range since more twang naturally has to come up for your upper notes, otherwise you will impair your range. If you want to learn more about how twang influences tongue position, look at the Edge mode in Complete Vocal Technique. Also, the more you open the mouth horizontally as for a smile, the more the tip of the tongue tends to rest by the bottom teeth; when you open more vertically, the tongue will tend to float more. So what does all of this mean for me as a singer? It means don't worry about your tongue position and instead, just simply focus on trying to pronounce your vowel sounds as clearly as you can while still keeping the throat supple. If you follow this idea, the tongue will position itself however it needs to for the given pitch, vowel, and sound color. I leave you with some examples of singers whose tongue tip does not always lie by the bottom teeth. If you have questions, feel free to ask. For future updates, be sure to like the Vocal Liberation FaceBook page. http://www.facebook.com/VocalLiberation Guy Penrod Guy Penrod of the Gaither Vocal Band has a rather large mouth that opens a lot vertically. The tip of his tongue is often not near his bottom teeth as a result, especially in his higher range. In this video of Guy singing "Let Freedom Ring", look at his tongue from 3:55-4:01, on the "key" at 5:08, and "let" at 6:02. Note that even though the tip of the tongue isn't by the bottom teeth, the middle portion of the tongue is still arched just like every other singer on the stage. Michael Ball Michael is an example of someone with a larger than average mouth which opens a lot in the vertical direction. As a result, he often displays a floating tongue, especially on his EH and EE vowels. In this live performance of "Anthem", from 2:46 until the end of the clip, you can often see a floating tongue. In particular look at "where" at 2:54, "let" at 3:00, "tear themselves" at 3:04, and "my land's" at 3:11. Taylor Dayne Although Taylor has a mouth which is only slightly larger than average, her voice naturally has a lot of twang. As a result, her tongue is often in a high, arched position near the upper molars. When you combine this with the fact that the front portion of her tongue is short, you will often witness a floating tongue in her for many of her vowels. In this live performance of "Love Will Lead You Back", you can see the floating tongue on "together" at 0:35, "back" at 2:03, "long" at 2:26, and "back" at 2:30-2:33. Yolanda Adams Yolanda has a very big mouth that opens a lot vertically. Like the other singers, you can see the characteristic arch in the middle portion of the tongue, especially on her EE, EH, and AA vowels. Her tongue often floats for her EE vowel in particular, which can be seen in this performance of "Imagine" from 0:38-0:40 when she sings "peace". John Raitt John Raitt has the combination of a small mouth with a short tongue. You can often see his tongue floating in his mouth for many vowels, including his AH. In this stage performance of "If I Loved You", you can see this tongue position. The song begins at 9:00. Highlighted point include "how I" at 9:04, "exactly" at 9:08, "how I'd" at 9:11, and "I" at 9:17 for examples on AH and AA. Fritz Wunderlich Fritz is an interesting case because even though he has a small mouth, his tongue itself is actually short relative to the size of his mouth. So his tongue is often floating in spite of his small mouth size. Look at this video of him singing Tamino's aria. In particular, look from 0:45-0:55, 2:01-2:09, and 2:59-3:06. Piotr Beczala Piotr is an example of a singer with a larger than average mouth that opens a lot vertically, very similarly to Guy's mouth. (You can't quite tell just how big his mouth is from this clip, but the size of his mouth can be seen more clearly in other clips.) In this montage of him singing song by Richard Tauber, you can see his tongue. In particular, look at 0:50-1:08, 3:21-3:30, and 4:01-4:07. Mario del Monaco Mario has an average sized mouth, but for his EH and EE vowels, you will often see the tip of the tongue floating in the mouth. In this performance of "Vesti la giubba", you can see his tongue floating for the EH vowel at 1:09. It is often floating in many other phrases in the aria, but it is most clear at that time. Lauritz Melchior Lauritz is a great example of someone with a small mouth but also a short tongue. Look at his performance of "Because" to see examples of this floating tongue. Especially pay attention to his EE vowels. From 0:51 to 1:20, there are good close ups of his mouth, in particular, the "me" at 1:16. Giovanni Martinelli Giovanni is yet another example of the small mouth, short tongue combo. His tongue can often be seen floating in his mouth in this performance of "Torna a Surriento". Be sure to pay attention at 0:13, 0:46-0:56, 1:13, and 1:26-1:35.