Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What A Tight Tongue Can Do To Your Singing

Your tongue is connected to more than you think. Use it the wrong way and it can cause trouble.
That sounds like something your mother would tell you, doesn't it:) Well, here's how speaking or singing with a tight tongue can affect your voice:

  1. A tightness in the root or base of the tongue will cause or accompany a tightness in the jaw which will tighten and stiffen the soft palate, preventing the lifted palate necessary for an open throat. This will cause all kinds of vocal problems.
  2. A tight tongue grabs the hyoid bone and lifts the larynx. This will cause thin, choked sound, limited vocal range and vocal strain.
  3. Dr. Lance Robbins, DC, CPT, suggests we also check the digastric muscles. This set of muscles runs along the sides of the bottom of the jaw. Tension or spasm in either muscle can interfere with flexibility in the tongue, leading to the tight tongue we do not want.

So can we solve the tight tongue problem?
  • Certain jaw exercises and tongue stretching can help relax these muscles, as well as manipulations by an intuitive chiropractor. 
  • Put two fingers up under the jaw and check for a bulking, tight tongue base. Try talking or singing again, holding those two fingers against the tongue and willing it to relax.
  • Articulate, or form words, with the tip and front sides of the tongue at the front of your mouth instead of back in your jaw. A deaf person should be able to read your lips for the lyrics. 
Your comments and feedback are always most welcome. If you are a student of Power, Path & Performance, focus on the exercises for tongue and jaw flexibility.

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