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Need help with throat tension please

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I'm new to the forum and I hope you can help and I can contribute in the future when I'm a better singer.

So I have been Singing for 2 years and I make my own songs. I've always had problems with tension in my throat (the spot where I swallow) whenever I sing.

I'm originally a baritone who started out singing up to the High E, but now I'm able to hit a high G and push to an A#

during my vocal warm ups / lessons.

But even now, I have trouble with tension when I sing and I'm afraid that I can't sing enough songs for a concert without choking, since that's how I feel when I feel tense.


Currently I try to press "down" on my stomach when I sing very high, relax and lower my jaw and put my vocals between my upper lip and nose.

But I notice that it's impossible for me to sing even lower notes like the high C, D and E when I'm upset or worried about something...

And because of this tension I feel like I have a hard time inhaling air for the next verse.


If anyone can help, it'd be appreciated, specially since I have to perform in 2 weeks.

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I think he mentioned high G, pushed to A#.. which in my guess would come right around the passagio, and not an octave higher :)

Saijinkai - There are a number of threads that cover this topic. If you are referring to the notes G4 and A#4, please run a search on this forum for exercises on strengthening the passagio area. Also, look into the programs offered by Robert, Ken Tamplin, Daniel Formica .. They are all super.. and don't worry, this is a problem almost every one of us has to deal with while singing :)


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Thanks for the replies!!! I'm glad I'm not the only one with this problem... I honestly thought that it's just me and very few others.

1. What is classic chest pulling?

2. Yes, I can be a little negative because of what people do especially. Yesterday I let my guitarist go, he truly disappointed me with his work ethics. And I notice when I'm upset, I tense up tremendously.

3. Correct, and thing is those high E and F are actually my best singing voice. I can do a G without too much effort and tension now, but again, old habit and the state of my mind can impact it.

4. Could you please tell me more about the lower torso expansion for support? Do you mean think of engaging even lower than my abs when I sing by "pushing air down" even lower?

5. I am realistic certainly. All I care about right now is my tension, other than that I'm ok. Just a lot of things in my life that bothers me recently. Plus I have an old neighbour who smokes and drinks and is loud who is ALWAYS outside his doors which is facing my room where my piano and practice area is, so there's no privacy. It bothers me

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Any suggestions for morning warm ups when I won't have time for an after noon show I can do at home?

Also a warm up that won't bother my nextdoor neighbour?

I'm thinking of lip thrills "brrrrrr" sound going up and down.

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Sounds like you need to relax. "Singers are floppy" - Robert Lunte. If you are stressed and tense, singing just won't work for you. Pick your battles and don't let every knit picking thing bother you. Roll with the punches, so to speak.

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Guys, this can't be a good thing...can it? I mean if you have the alchoholic gene it can be a life hazard. I've had two people that I knew that have died as a result of alchoholism. Just be careful.

If you want to stay hydrated at a gig try Vocalzones. Made for Enrico Caruso in the 1800's, pro singers are still using these.

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chest pulling gets a bad rap and can very misleading.

it is not always bad...and depending on a host of factors, can be beneficial in training.

i think it's the "pulling" word that misleads.

it's the pulling period that should be avoided..... you don't pull anything up, down or in between.

pulling? pulling on what.......from what?

you develop and coordinate. i don't use the terms chest voice and head voice anymore..i look at in terms of musculature and resonance.

it's not that you bring your chest voice up too high..it's more that the musculature and coordination to mix the voice is underdeveloped. it takes years to develop this.

but to me at the heart of all this is the support.

you see, if you modify the vowel correctly as you go up, you cannot pull chest (the definition as it's known) because the throat shape (the vowel) will allow the ascent up the range..... and the pressurized air will fall into the head resonating cavities...now we have head resonance to any degree you want to create.

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I have recently noticed that I think too much up or down and my mouth muscles pull me back.

So I'm currently trying to just dig down when I sing and keep digging deeper and it seems that it has taken out a lot of the muscles / larynx trying to move up and tighten up.

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One of the good things I used to help stop me pulling is either:

1. Place my hands aside my ears, as if to cup them. Made my voice seem disconnected from me all together.


2. Rest my knuckles on my cheekbones and let my finger tips rest on the bottom of my jaw line and sing like that.

Helped me to stop clenching with my jaw.

Either of those may work, but don't over work yourself with putting so much pressure in your stomach. Support is not ALWAYS the answer to pushing and pulling. You also need time to work in the coordination. Something isn't going to correct itself instantly.

Sounds crazy but singing is like weight lifting. The cords aren't muscles but muscles are involved and you need to work in that muscles memory.

1st month you can only lift 10kg

2nd month you can maybe lift 12, maybe 15kg

KIND OF works the same with singing.

Work that C4. Once that's mastered work the C#4 maybe even shoot for the D4. Every vowel.

OH and also, start to train how you sing. Nice little tip I learnt from Daniel Formica. Works a bunch!

Apologies for the images, not the best resources to cut and paste.

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Hi, thanks for sharing!

So I decided that I "don't care" about my performance and believe that it'll go ok.

It truly relaxed me and opened my whole pipes. I was able to perform and sing even A#4 at times and I feel less tension.

I think I really need to learn to relax of all things. Even now, I still do not understand the concept of "relax".

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If relaxing was as easy as doing one or another thing, there would be no need for technique.

Pressure on the soft palate will happen, but as a consequence of resonance ajustment which in its turn is an ajustment of the vowels shapes to, well, resonate.

Think of what happens when you whistle. When you have it going, its resonance, just resonance, it poses a resistance to the air flow, and its very easy to sustain, feels nice.

Still if you mess around with tongue posture, you may feel all the muscles in a similar way, but the vocal tract will not be in a resonant comformity and it simply will not happen. So resonance ajustment is not just lift up, its not pressure anywhere and is not just the tongue making you sound like kermit the frog.

Support in its turn can only do so much if resonance is not working. And resonance will do nothing for an emission full of tensions, it wont happen.

The exercises on that video are awesome to release tensions on the neck area and can help, but hardly will solve the problem.

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a slogan made for a t-shirt....lol!!!!

Amen, brother Bob. And thanks to Dan for having a sense of humor similar to mine. It gets lonely being the only smart-aleck in the room. :cool:

And Bob, you said it right with the use of the word "pulling."

Is there some kind of religious objection from so many ot Frisell's description of "chest"? In his definition, 'chest" is simply the volume and ring one normally associates with "chest" sounds. By the definition, you can be "chesty" whereever in your range, if the volume and resonance are such as to provide clarity and power. But I fear that some equate "chesty" with rasp and distortion,

And it's so hard to debate against religious faith, if that is the situation, indeed.

To quote "Joshua," the self-aware computer in "War Games," "sometimes, the only winning move is to not play the game."

People are going to believe what they want to believe and you just can't stop them.

I know it sounds like I am just riffing and griping, but I am not. Just accepting that there are viewpoints other than mine. Including those that think you must "carry chest" or "pull chest high." And it wouldn't matter if Robert handed out free copies of "bridge early" and "lift up pull back." Or if a copy of Anthony Frisell's book was bought and provided to each person coming along.

There are people who are going to pull chest and you just can't stop them. Just get out of the way and let the carnage happen. All because some cannot accept that the "illusion" of chest is just that. An illusion.

I have to get off my soapbox, now. It has splinters and now, I must spend the next hour with a pair of tweezers, removing the splinters.

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