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. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Voice Sounding Too Nasal? Tips

One of the most frustrating mysteries of some voices is how to get the excessive nasality out. If you don't know better, you may think that's 'just the way that voice sounds'. I've actually found it relatively one of the easiest vocal problems to cure.

So what causes excessive nasality?

If the throat channel (voice cave) is tight, it will inhibit full resonation of the voice. The limited frequencies make your voice sound like a cheap sound systemn with lousy eq choices. The double ceiling of this cave is the soft palate and the upper nasal membrane above it. Pull your ear up and  back while at the same time lifting your eyebrows and you'll feel the ceiling lift. This is the feeling of the OPEN NOSE. It also explains why a stuffy, blocked nose leaves your speaking voice sounding... nasal!

The counterintuitive secret ...

...to curing an excessively nasal voice is to actually OPEN the nose - not avoid it! - and get your vocal cords resonating in your full mask instead of just in a sliver of it.

I've had singers with perfectly normal speaking voices sound like their noses and sinuses were completely stopped up when they began to sing. I have had other singers whose speaking AND singing voices resembled, to some extent, a kazoo. And I've not only heard other singers who DID have sinus infections or stuffy noses who sounded almost normal when they began to sing... I've experienced that, too.Some years ago I had a national TV show to do which required me to sing my whole album in front of a live audience. I had a cold but was able to actually use the extra resonance for a richer... not nasal or stopped up... vocal sound. Singing this way was powerful but didn't over-tax my vocal cords.

Tips for curing nasal voice:
  • Your posture will affect the nasality of your sound significantly. Sometimes just moving your head back an inch, stretching an inch taller can open the voice cave enough to cure the nasal voice.
  • Eyes have it. Using your eyes activates your vocal ceiling.
  • Literally flare your nose to get use to opening it.
  • Book a vocal lesson in person or by phone for a personalized, individual assessment and solutions to this problem.
So, have you ever had a bout of nasality? What worked/didn't?

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  • At May 28, 2013 at 5:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Judy, Judy, Judy (always wanted to say that, it's so Cary Grant) I've got a well paying gig on hold while I "get better." Little over a week for congestion right below the adams apple. No fever, my nose is open, both nostrils moving great amounts of air, but I sound nasal. Producer told me to take it easy until I sound "normal." I'm nervous of their patience wearing thin. There are occasional lugis breaking loose but no cough and no fever. Dr. Judy, have you ever heard of what I'm experiencing? Your voice is wonderful.
    Your brutha in all things vocal.

  • At May 28, 2013 at 10:13 PM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Robert... hey, go ahead, I've lived my whole life with that three word phrase :) As to your nasality, first of all, really, I am not a doctor (it has to be said:) Secondly, you must have swollen sinuses or your posture is an issue. Check both out. And good luck!


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