An Exercise of Non-Specific Pitch for Vocal Improvement.

Many people experience discomfort when they try to project their voices or they find that they have very limited vocal stamina. One of the root causes may be habitual tension in the muscles of the jaw and a poor position of the tongue which sits heavily on the larynx and stops the voice from working freely. This exercise will help to address these issues. It can be done sitting or standing. It also does not require a pitch to start with.

First establish your proud posture; Perform three silent 'ahs' to relax the vocal tract.

Close your mouth and assess the bite point of your front upper and lower teeth. The tips of the teeth should be touching each other. If they do not then there is probably some tension which is pulling the lower jaw and tongue backwards. This you can undo.

Using your fingertips massage the muscles around the temporo-mandibular joint, (the big hinge joint just in front of the ears) remembering to breathe in and out gently and quietly as you do so. Continue the massage for about 30 seconds. (Imagine that you are rubbing in face cream.) Also imagine that you are chewing a piece of sticky toffee to relax and warm up the facial muscles.

After 30 seconds, stop and see if the bite point is better aligned; you should find that the lower jaw has moved forward a bit - the tips of the upper and lower front teeth can touch each other. If not repeat the massage and assess the bite point again.

Now we need to release the tongue and bring it forward, because the tongue is a large and heavy muscle and if the weight of the tongue directly on top of the larynx, the voice will tire quicker and soreness develop. In the longer term your vocal range will be restricted.

Bring the tongue forward in the mouth so that the tip and blade of the tongue covers the top two front teeth and the tongue tip touches the frennelum of the upper gum and lip. Now move the tongue in a circular direction, anti clockwise, as though brushing the teeth. Do this five times. Then repeat the action in a clockwise direction, five times. You will notice that the tongue has to work quite hard: but you are undoing a lot of tension.

The tongue will now feel lighter and you will be aware of more space at the back of the mouth. This increased space and relaxed tongue will enable you to find a bigger voice.

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Jessop.

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