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Open throat technique (having troubles)

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Simon T8W
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Hey there guys. I understand how the OTT is supposed to work. But very weirdly, I'm still struggling because my throat seems to close by itself as I'm getting higher. I try as much as possible to even sing like I'm yawning and this is the best I've been able to produce

1) and

2)

Any advice guys. And does it sound like I'm straining or it's okay?

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The throat will close by itself as you get higher, in a way. It will happen, just try to keep it as open as you can.

It's hard to hear your singing on the files with all the reverb on it...or maybe you are in a big gym or something? Anyways, it sounds fine because the reverberation is hiding any flaws. I can't really help you unless you can post a more "dry" file, just your voice in front of a mic in a dead room

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The throat will close by itself as you get higher, in a way. It will happen, just try to keep it as open as you can.

It's hard to hear your singing on the files with all the reverb on it...or maybe you are in a big gym or something? Anyways, it sounds fine because the reverberation is hiding any flaws. I can't really help you unless you can post a more "dry" file, just your voice in front of a mic in a dead room

Okay that's good to know. I'll post a clean sample so you can hear all the flaws. Thanks

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Hi theMix,

I am not an expert in any way.

I for a change do hear some constriction up there. When I do that, it doesn't change my tone. It seems like in the last 2 notes you start to constrict. Is that what you are feeling?

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D. Starr,

The lowering of the larynx and raising the palate stretches the whole pharynx. So imitating a yawn (especially the beginning of a yawn) and holing that position can help release tensions.

Basically this maneuver counteracts what usually happens in singing which is narrowing.

People usually feel the stretch in these areas in the back of the mouth:

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D. Starr,

The lowering of the larynx and raising the palate stretches the whole pharynx. So imitating a yawn (especially the beginning of a yawn) and holing that position can help release tensions.

Basically this maneuver counteracts what usually happens in singing which is narrowing.

People usually feel the stretch in these areas of the mouth:

http://i1276.photobucket.com/albums/y469/Rachsing/dcd74eb3-a1a8-40c2-8b47-7d634fe75cde_zps8b9ea65a.jpg

So then when you go to sing afterward do they narrow less?

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Owen,

No, the stretching works like it does with other muscles after a workout. It helps prevent soreness, stiffness etc. It's often these areas people are referring to after periods of singing, ex:

http://themodernvocalist.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?id=7057

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In my opinion lowering the larynx and raising the soft palate won't help with fixing constrictions. They are tweaks you can do to change the sound.

Tamplin, Greene and other vocal experts say that it creates more room and cause the anti-constrictor muscles to kick in hence releaving tension in the throat.

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theMix,

Yes, the maneuvers create mores space. However, the low larynx is not desirable in coordinations like belting or screaming. In fact the throat always narrows the louder and higher you sing. It's how it works physiologically and trying to manipulate that can create a series of problems.

Usually when vocal teachers talk about the "open throat" it's mainly a reference to the sensation of openness, and whether the teachers are aware of that fact or not I don't know.

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theMix,

Usually when vocal teachers talk about the "open throat" it's mainly a reference to the sensation of openness, and whether the teachers are aware of that fact or not I don't know.

Yes - I think what teachers are trying to convey with "open throat" is the opposite of a "constricted" throat whereby the constrictors are not getting in the way.

Because we're dealing with muscles that cannot be seen, and sometimes not even felt, teachers often use imagery to convey ideas and techniques. In this case, if a student tries to "squeeze" the throat in an attempt to reach higher notes, the result won't be good.

Does it matter if the image doesn't accurately represent the actual physiology? For me, I like to know exactly what is going on. But other singers couldn't care less. It is the result that counts. I met and had a lot of conversations with a professional opera singer last summer. He had fantastic technique and really didn't know much or care about the physiology. He talked in terms of imagery.

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Geno,

You are completely right. The images or sensations often have nothing to do with the actual physiology and that's also not the point as you pointed out. But I think a lot of teachers would be surprised to see how much the throat actually narrows. Here is a clip of a siren on an NG by a female:

I also believe they would be surprised that the vowel AH is not as "open" as they probably think:

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I've noticed that, between songs and even between lyrics in a song, I like to yawn. Not because I plan to sing from a yawn formation, but because it relaxes everything, kind of like a "re-set" to get minimize tension build-up. Which then allows me to investigation why I was building up tension. But even with good tension, it's good to stretch, just to stay limber. Like a football player, coming in and out of parts of each quarter in a game, doing some hammy stretches just to stay loose.

Is singing an athletic endeavor? Then, let's treat it as such.

"Ron's redneck school of singing."

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ron,

It's funny you should mention this because I teach a simlilar approach (quick larynx lowering) during phonation (or more correctly in the pauses). I also call it re-setting ;)

On a related topic - I met another Opera Singer / Teacher who knew a ton about physiology last summer. He demonstrated super quick breaths during a very long phrase. He quizzed us vocal students as to how many breaths he took and where they were. None of us could detect any breaths, much less figure out when he took them. These breaths were so fast he probably didn't have time to adjust anything. I never saw this technique before.

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Geno,

That's interesting, though my approach is not directly related to the inhale, though it could might as well be. I recommend the re-setting when doing high powerful or twangy sounds because it does the exact opposite and thereby stretches the muscles "on the go".

However, it should only be used if you feel the need for it because you can risk loosing the coordination for the high powerful twangy stuff (the narrowing).

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ron,

It's funny you should mention this because I teach a simlilar approach (quick larynx lowering) during phonation (or more correctly in the pauses). I also call it re-setting ;)

Thanks, Rach. And one of the most valuable things I learned from a classical coach is that quick breath from the aw position, which, for me seems easily translatable into a yawn.

Which doesn't mean I always breathe perfectly. I was singing along with "Look Ahead" and missed a breath-take opportunity and had to end a note short.

Always something to learn.

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By the way I can't seem to do the exercises lightly. should I have the same feeling at the back of the throat whether I'm singing in a high chest (D5) or low chest voice(C3)? Then @geon, I'd like to know, where u ever able to do these exercises lightly without flipping into head voice? I do theses exercises quiet heavily and on top of that, almost always crack at an A4.

I strongly believe I still have a problem with my support. People say that support is supposed to be like the "bathroom/lavatory feeling" but I find out that trying to emulate this feeling activates the constrictors too so that both the abdomen and the throat is tight (which defeats the purpose). So what I do is that, I still emulate this feeling then I take in deep exhales and makes so air is flowing freely true the throat just to get a feeling of how good support is. Is it enough support?

This is a better recording. Please criticize guys ->

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Actually, it sounded like you are off to a good start. And, as others have pointed out, the "open throat" thing is kind of misnomer. Maybe it felt narrowed to you but it sounded "open throat" to me.

It seemed like your breath support was okay on this lah scale.

Also, there maybe gradient of what is acceptable and non-acceptable tension. There will be some tension in the abs on exhale. There may be some tension in the throat. But it could be necessary tension, like when you tense muscles in your arm to pick and sip from a mocha latte or whatever you are drinking.

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Again I don't hear any problems. Private instruction would probably the best bet to make the tweaks you are looking for, in order to do the same thing lighter or whatever. Forums just give you back 15 different answers to what you may be doing wrong lol.

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I now believe my main problem is coming from "wrong support". My throat always tighten up at an (A4) when I'm pressing hard on the diaphragm (supporting). This is because I learnt support by emulating the "going to the lavatory feeling" that people talked about. Sometimes (and I don't know how I achieve this) I'm able to support without the throat constrictors being activated and I hit that A4 note with ease. Any idea how I can activate diaphragmatic support without activating throat constrictors? Thanks

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And I begin to see the wisdom of Bob. As he seems to have a wonderful ability to view from the perspective beginners, aside from his decades of singing. There will be tension. And after training for some time, you will sing without a "feeling" of strain, as your coordination and whatever muscle development has happened. And it takes time.

When I say that when I sing, I feel like I have no throat, that does not mean that there is absolutely no tension. Though it may get interpreted that way. But I mean it in the same way that I notice no tension when I walk or pick up my Diet Coke. What if I had never done those things? Then there would be some initial strain as I try a "new" thing.

So, give it time, keep working at it.

"When you can snatch the pebble from my hand, you may leave the temple." - Master Pho

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