Learn to sing with LESS Vocal Tract CONSTRICTION | #DrDan ๐ŸŽค

Today, we are going to discuss and workshop that pesky pest known as singer’s tension, or what some vocal pedagogues refer to as constriction. I think most of us can relate to those notes, often found at the top of our range, that feel like they’re almost strangling us as we sing.

We have three pharyngeal constrictor muscles: the superior or upper pharyngeal constrictor, the middle constrictor and the inferior or lower pharyngeal constrictor muscle. These constrictor muscles are the very same muscles that, for many of us, will want to tighten and constrict when we sing higher notes. Actually, there are a few others as well, including some immediately above the vocal folds, but for now, let’s just focus on the pharyngeal constrictors.


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And a small side note (because I’m asked a lot): It is important to note that while I hold a doctorate (thus I am Dr Dan), I am not a medical doctor, and the advice provided in this video is generalised information only; and therefore you should always consult with your health care professional for personalised advice about your vocal health and well-being.

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32 thoughts on “Learn to sing with LESS Vocal Tract CONSTRICTION | #DrDan ๐ŸŽค”

  1. Arunava Sadhukhan

    I definitely need to do this exercise, there are high notes both in my belting range and in Falsetto that I Can do, but my throat feels so constricted that I avoid them. Thanks for another great tip Dr Dan. The scientific approach you take is the most effective.

  2. Michaela Alcordo

    I’m going to try these techniques! I also bought your vocal exercise album and was wondering if I’m going to sing, do I have to do all the exercises before performing? Thank you!

  3. Hey Dr Dan, thanks for this informative vid and great advice!
    I can understand looking up at the ceiling stretches the constrictor muscles, and you can gradually learn to relax them in the normal head position..but what is the mechanism behind the covered mouth technique?
    what should we be feeling and what range should one do this eg. over an octave? esp as higher notes will cause constrictors to kick in.
    Hope that question made sense!

  4. Great information thank you. I purchased that program you have with the music. Haven’t had a chance to really look over it yet but can’t wait!

  5. Imsu Cfc Metsu

    hi sir…… please check my song too k Search like Imsuakum ‘cool’ k…. Imsuakum is my name and Cool is the title of the song k please have a look and give me some honest feedback k… plizz.

  6. Why do I have swallowing (dysphagia) problems when drinking liquids after singing with a lot of twang? I can’t drink anything without choking on it. It’s awful.

  7. Dr Dan! Should it be able to go from low notes to the highest ones with tilted head? because for me it seems like there’s a blockage at the certain note when I try to go higher if I don’t want to change anything. Maybe I’m used to use head voice in a wrong way?

  8. Hey Dan I noticed when I sing below g3 in my chest voice I strain and it feels uncomfortable but when I sing a3-f4 it feels much more better. Why is this ? Isn’t because my chest voice isn’t developed properly? Because everytime I sing below g3 I strain unless I sing soft, if I sing with volume I strain. For example on the song Chris Brown – With You. I strain on the song apart from the bridge where he sings between d4-f4 it feels a lot more comfortable. Am I doing something wrong or is tho just how my voice is?

  9. shirsha chakraborty

    you’re the best dr. dan… thank god we are in the youtube generation… thank god sir i found you… you are a phenomenal teacher.

  10. Hi Dan I can do this exercise in my lower range or middle range while my head up. But when i do some high note eg.C5 and above that even with a falsetto larynx and nek so tight and pitch is unstable or flat.Is it normal or it mean straining?Is it possible to do when we sing high?

  11. Hi Dan, wow, I’ve never seen this exercise before. This really helped get rid of the pinching vibration that I constantly speak with at the back of my throat. I’ve commented before about my Muscle Tension Dysphonia and thanks to your videos I have gotten rid of it 90% but I sometimes, on rare occasions, get some jaw tension but it’s not as serious as this constriction in my pharynx. My speech therapist says that I talk and sing from the throat and yes, it hurts and I can tell that I’m doing it wrong because I feel vibration in the back of my neck. I’m just a little confused about the tongue position influencing the constriction in the pharynx because my tongue position is relaxed behind the bottom teeth and I am getting that nice breath. Is there anything else that might impact this?

    Thanks for your help with always posting these videos.

  12. Hey Dr. Dan! I’ve been subscribed to this channel for awhile now and found that your exercises and explanation really help in addition to my voice lessons with a voice teacher! I’ve seen a lot of improvement in producing a natural sound. Sometimes, I practice on a “mmmmmm” on do-re-mi-fa-so-fa-mi-re-do. When I’m in the middle or lower registers, my lips tickle and vibrate a lot. But, as I get higher, the tickling disappears. I feel like I’m losing the aim of the sound as I get higher. Furthermore, as I do octave exercises for vocal warmups, I think I feel my larynx pop up sometimes. I don’t know how to keep it from doing that! Thanks again!

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