Well, after sending my last newsletter I realized that it makes more sense to send two separate newsletters, one with tips for speakers and one with tips for singers. If you’re receiving only one newsletter and would like to subscribe for the other one as well, please update your subscription preferences here.
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Open Your Mouth!
by Ramesha Nani
Honestly, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve said the words “open your mouth” during a voice lesson, I would be a millionaire! In general, people resist opening their mouths wide. Maybe it’s because we are taught to keep our mouths closed while chewing food. It might also have to do with the language we speak. I’ve noticed that in many areas of the United States people tend to barely move their lips or open their mouths when they speak. I grew up in the Italian–speaking part of Switzerland, and people there definitely open their mouths wider when they speak!
Anyway, when it comes to singing, fully opening one’s mouth is essential, especially in the upper range. When we open our mouths wide enough it’s easier for the throat to expand and produce a full, resonant sound. And that means that you will be able to sing louder and be heard at a greater distance, without having to push or strain your vocal cords. It also means that your voice will be richer in overtones and other frequencies, making it more compelling and beautiful.
Something to keep in mind, though, is that you don’t want to open too much when singing in your lower register because that tends to “diffuse” the sound, making it harder to place the voice correctly. As you go higher in your range, however, let your jaw gradually drop down, while keeping your lips or tongue relaxed and completely free of tension. When opened correctly, your lips should be in an egg-like shape (an egg standing up vertically, not laying down…pretend like that’s possible!).
You can find lots of videos on YouTube showing very good singers with their mouths wide open, especially when singing in the upper register. Here’s an example (notice especially the singer on the right who sings the higher part):
(Duet from “the Pearl Fishers”, by George Bizet)
If you want to learn more about how to switch between registers you can sign up for a FREE Introductory Voice Lesson and get live, one-on-one coaching through skype.
Feel free to contact me about any singing-related issue or doubt that you might have. I will do my best to help you find a solution for it.