How to sing 4. Relaxing the jaw and throat - How to sing - 4. Relaxing the jaw and throat

How to sing – 4. Relaxing the jaw and throat

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True vocal power comes from relaxing the throat and keeping the neck muscles soft and not tensed (and, of course, excellent breath technique!). Alexander Massey of is an international singer and singing teacher, based in Oxford, UK.

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41 thoughts on “How to sing – 4. Relaxing the jaw and throat”

  1. Sounds like a psychological issue possibly. It would need a proper
    conversation and consultation to address your question.

  2. Thank you. I think that part of our learning is to develop our discernment
    about when we are receiving good information. Learners must not hand
    themselves over to teachers, and stop thinking for themselves.

  3. But HOW can you sing a high note without moving your vocal chords/throat?!
    It’s just impossible for me! I’ve been trying for years and just cannot
    sing from my diaphragm because my vocal chords are in my throat :(

  4. Too much chest and shoulder heaving. Chest and shoulders should be still.
    Movement should only be at the diaphragm area from inhalation and
    exhalation.

  5. The movement that you see is not ‘heaving’. Look closely, and you will see
    that the singer’s movements are a feeling response to the flow of the
    music. The scalenes attach down through the neck to the clavicle (shoulder
    girdle) and upper two ribs – they lift and drop these bones as part of the
    natural cycle of breath. Nothing should be ‘still’ in singing. This creates
    lock-down. Alexander Technique, Feldenkreis etc clearly demonstrate that
    dynamic flow are part of breathing, singing and artistry

  6. @DJSMaa… Well, I agree you don’t want “heaving” but I think it’s a
    mistake to limit your natural movement as long as you aren’t lifting the
    sternum up and down to pump air in and out. I think a lot of times singing
    tips or instruction seeks to limit movement by focusing only on the area of
    the diaphragm, or even just on if your stomach is moving in and out.
    Students start to occlude other movements that are beneficial to breathing
    which creates tension and the tone is occluded as well.

  7. It is not helpful to say ‘sing from your diaphragm’. The instruction is too
    vague and general. Much more detailed understanding is needed to sing well.
    The vocal folds DO move, ie change in length, tension and thickness for
    each pitch, and therefore change in speed of vibration. Throat muscles will
    start to do less when you breath correctly for singing; they also do less
    when we release tongue, lip and jaw tension. High notes come from FINE
    motor control and balance of air pressures.

  8. Sorry I haven’t posted more videos yet that will give a more rounded
    picture of what is involved in singing. We have to understand clean onset
    (starting a note), and working with resonance, all with minimum effort. As
    a quick tip, trying singing with tongue rolls/trills, or with an ‘ng’.

  9. Is actually necessary to warm up the vocal chords or do they not actually
    need to be warmed up in order to sing well?

  10. ‘Warm up’ is a metaphor. The vocal folds do not need to get ‘warmer’ at
    all. But it is helpful to get them well coordinated with breath flow, and
    with the supra-glottic pressure (back pressure) that comes from good
    resonance.

  11. So there’s no need for all these singers to do all the warm ups and warm
    downs that they do? You learn something new everyday. Your knowledge of
    music is very impressive. Best vocal teacher I’ve seen so far. 

  12. It is useful to do some preparatory exercises before singing a full song or
    performing. Vocal sound is made by the body. The first step is to warm up
    the BODY, without making any sounds – establish Alignment, good Breath
    flow; loosen jaw and tongue. Then gentle vocal sounds, with what’s called
    ‘clean’ onset (ie no glottal stop). Medium pitches, nothing too high or
    low, nothing too loud. Establish good resonance on middle notes. Get good
    se sensory awareness of muscles.

  13. I’d like to say I’m flattered, but the sad reality is that the quality of
    teaching and knowledge of singing on YouTube videos is very low. There are
    some very good teachers around – they just aren’t posting their knowledge
    on YouTube!

  14. That really is a shame. More people could do with the knowledge of voice
    teachers who actually know what their on about.

  15. I have ALOT and I mean ALOT of trouble keeping the back of my tounge down
    when I sing higher things it comes up and I keep straining. And when I sing
    high notes they lose volume.

  16. Hi! Just in the past couple of weeks i have started to have horrible time
    singing. My throat, neck, and jaw all get very tight and sore like never
    before; even when i sing songs that i have been singing for years and never
    have had any issues. It takes a few hours for myself to get relaxed again
    and I’ve honestly stopped singing due to the pain. I was wondering what you
    think the issue may be? Thanks! 

  17. It’s not always a good idea to try and diagnose someone’s vocal problems
    without talking with them properly, and hearing and seeing them sing. Such
    a dramatic change in your voice in this short period needs careful
    investigation to sort out what the cause might be. I would suggest that you
    go to a good singing teacher; it might even be valuable to go to a doctor
    to check if there are any medical issues. We could do a skype lesson if you
    would like.

  18. This kind of tongue tension is usually a symptom of not aligning the body
    well not using efficient breathing methods, and not finding the ‘ping’ of a
    well resonated sound. All those are learned by developing precision skill
    and awareness on our middle notes. High notes should be sung only when we
    have solid technique in our middle voice.

  19. I’m trying to practice how much air comes out when I sing, I think I’m
    going to take a break from the high things for awhile, thanks!

  20. This is very good.
    No-nonsense and teaching by example.

    Alexander, I have always been a good singer, but while I have remained
    able to sing melodies effortlessly, I have seemingly lost a good deal of
    power.
    What would you say are some chief reasons people lose power?

  21. another great video from Mr. Massey ,I’m just wonder when you go high on
    this song its get a bit nasal ,is this because your singing some how of
    meza voce and you still need double of the support of forte ? or your voice
    is richer on middle frequencies or was the aperture of your jaw(not open
    throat for the vowel “i”)also can be the the compression of the video
    camera is never fair to the actual sound ..like a said before great video
    can’t wait for the new ones .thanks so much for share with us.

  22. I am perfectly relaxed when I sing some notes oppose to others.
    For example, in the song Emotions by Mariah Carey, I can easily sing
    (excluding all the whistle tones).
    I have to ability to sing all the other notes but I feel my throat
    tightening.
    I’m not sure how to describe it. If I try to sing high my throat closes and
    only a whisper escapes (no voice AT ALL) .
    If I open my throat my larynx shoots right up.
    None of this causes pain but it is tight and becomes uncomfortable to sing
    for more than a couple of seconds. Is it okay to feel tight?
    I have tried a few exercises, like the yawning. THAT causes pain, however.
    It doesn’t matter what note or register I’m singing in… it feels like I
    have a sore throat when I open my mouth to sing high.
    Is there any way I can sing higher notes without all the discomfort in my
    jaw and throat, and relax my larynx?

  23. From the bottom of my heart I thank you so much for your generosity of
    sharing the videos on vocal lessons in detail. More power to yoy sir.

  24. The thing that i notice when im singing, well when im trying is that my
    jaw,throat, and tongue ate tense. Also when im singing my every note sounds
    course and a bit rough, I’m not sure if my vocal cords are damaged or not
    :c

  25. Thanks for the lesson, can you ask me this question please::
    Is the open throat neccesary or not necessary?, I see you can sing very
    well with closed throat and mouth

  26. Your lessons are really wonderful and helpful. And you have got such a
    beautiful voice. Thanks, Alexander.

  27. I do not remember when, but I remember someone telling me that I wasn’t really a very good singer; that I was just born to sing again up. And I believed it. But after I turned 16 I got tired of singing alto.

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