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Keeping the soft palate raised.

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Nathan
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I'm really struggling with this.

I can get it to raise by inhaling doing this breathing above a pencil between the lips things. that is fine, it goes up. The thing is when I stop inhaling, it slightly lowers. Then when I expend any breath, exhaling or singing, it definitely drops.

I've tried many things and cannot get it controlled. I've used so much imagery, like biting into an apple, eating candyfloss, being like a cobra ready to strike.

But it still drops when I expend any breath.

I need to get this sorted. Does anyone have any tips?

ND.

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I'm really struggling with this.

I can get it to raise by inhaling doing this breathing above a pencil between the lips things. that is fine, it goes up. The thing is when I stop inhaling, it slightly lowers. Then when I expend any breath, exhaling or singing, it definitely drops.

I've tried many things and cannot get it controlled. I've used so much imagery, like biting into an apple, eating candyfloss, being like a cobra ready to strike.

But it still drops when I expend any breath.

I need to get this sorted. Does anyone have any tips?

ND.

Nathan: I wrote on the use of consonants to help with this not too long ago. Check out the thread

http://www.punbb-hosting.com/forums/themodernvocalist/viewtopic.php?id=1150

and scroll down to post number 6. the ones right above it and below it are from others.

I hope this helps.

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That was really descriptive, Thank you Steven.

I'm still having difficulty keeping it raised though. I'm literally just shoving my thumb back there to check when it is raised and lowered. Easily raised on inhales, falls straight down as I stop inhaling.

Is there any muscle or anything there? Will it get stronger and easier? Or is this something I have to get nailed now because my body won't naturally do it after a while?... Did that make any sense? :S lol

Thanks for the current advice though, I agree that dropping the larynx is harmful. I sand like that for half a year and I would have no voice left after half a song.

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That was really descriptive, Thank you Steven.

I'm still having difficulty keeping it raised though. I'm literally just shoving my thumb back there to check when it is raised and lowered. Easily raised on inhales, falls straight down as I stop inhaling.

Is there any muscle or anything there? Will it get stronger and easier? Or is this something I have to get nailed now because my body won't naturally do it after a while?... Did that make any sense? :S lol

Nathan: Yes, there is muscle that moves the palate up. There is no question that this muscle works, or you would not be able to say a P or T to save your life. Its plenty strong. Its just not in your current vowel habits to keep it active.

The challenge is to learn the sensations during the production of vowels. In addition to what I have already posted in that thread, there are some exercises that will highlight the contrast between the high palate and low palate positions. Among these, the very best (IMO) is the use of the NG consonant, as at the end of the word 'hung', opening to an actual vowel or a consonant.

The simplest is this: sing the word 'hung' on any easy note, and sustain the last consonant, then open it to a vowel, for example, O, making the word hung-o. Repeat with all the vowels you know, both short and long.

Ah

Ay

EE

OH

OO

IH

EH

A (as in cat)

UH (as in up)

OE (as in Foot)

Another one, more fun, is to sing the nonsense syllables ming-ay-ah on a descending 5-note scale.

A bit more challenging, but a good test, is the transition from any of the voiced semi-occluded consonants (like the th in Thee) and then opening slowly to a vowel. As mentioned before, the soft palate goes up automatically for many consonants. What you have to learn is how to maintain that feeling as you carry it over into a vowel. Of the ones I mentioned, the opening to IH only requires that you drop your jaw 1/2 inch or so for the vowel to appear.

There are other exercises you can do as well. I'll gather my thoughts on those and write again.

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Steven,

Thanks for all the great advice. I've been practicing and I've improved on it a little. I'm able to keep it raised after I stop inhaling and when I begin exhaling. Now I'm just working on keeping it raised during vowels, which I'm nearly there on. It's still very difficult to keep it raised on consonants as you have already highlighted. I'm sure this will come with practice and probably working on emphasising vowels and cutting consonants. I just worry if I do that it will sound kind of like I'm got cotton in my mouth, or all blurry kinda like Hendrix (whom I love btw, just needed to use an example). But I'm sure this will get better. Hopefully.

I'll keep you updated in this thread ;)

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Steven,

Thanks for all the great advice. I've been practicing and I've improved on it a little. I'm able to keep it raised after I stop inhaling and when I begin exhaling. Now I'm just working on keeping it raised during vowels, which I'm nearly there on. It's still very difficult to keep it raised on consonants as you have already highlighted. I'm sure this will come with practice and probably working on emphasising vowels and cutting consonants. I just worry if I do that it will sound kind of like I'm got cotton in my mouth, or all blurry kinda like Hendrix (whom I love btw, just needed to use an example). But I'm sure this will get better. Hopefully.

I'll keep you updated in this thread ;)

Nathan: Be patient with yourself. You are working to establish a new set of actions and sensations to replace old habits. That takes time. It sounds like you have already made progress, and that is good.

Here is another exercise, suggested by Professor Lloyd Hanson, which accomplishes the same thing:

Drop your jaw some, put your lips together, and blow gently so that your cheeks puff out but no air escapes, as if you were about to say a P with your cheeks puffed. In the mirror, looks like you have your mouth full of hot potato :-) The soft palate goes up for this action, automatically. Think the OH vowel shape inside your mouth.

Once you have that, then let your lips part just a little so that a teeny amount of air escapes. You should be able to feel just a bit of air passing your lips, if you hold your hand directly in front of them at a distance of 1/2 inch.

To that, add a little phonation, as if you are singing an OH vowel with your mouth almost entirely closed (still in hot-potato position) Feel the small amount of air coming out your mouth still. Soft palate is still up.

Lets call this a 'closed-mouth OH' (CMOH) for short. (this is a made-up name, just for our purposes.)

Now, to feel the soft palate shift its position, shift to the NG sound. You will feel the soft palate immediately drop, and the cheeks will stop puffing out. re-start the CMOH, and repeat a few times, just to become familiar with that sensation of the difference between the high and low palate positions.

Repeat the exercise thinking the other long vowels all in a row, as in CMEE, CMAH, CMAY, CMOO, CMOH (all done with almost closed mouth) to feel the sensations of all these different tongue positions with a high palate.

Enjoy!

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