Acting in Plays, Singing/How do I get rid of the tongue problem?
Whenever I sing, I have extreme tension at the back of my tongue. As I touch the bottom of my chin, I can feel my tongue going very down along with other parts of my throat. The feeling is still very acceptable, but it can get a bit tiring whenever I sing in the choir.
If there are any exercises, tips, or simple basic advice you can give, I would be very grateful.
Hi, Joe –
Thank you for the question. I appreciate your description.
Sing in front of a mirror. Sing some passages from your choir folder – particularly those measures where you have noticed this tension. Watching your reflection, as you begin doing what you have described to me, you will also notice tension in your face and the muscles in your neck. During those moments, your vocal tone will sound harsh, swallowed, or "strangled".
At some point, all of my clients will hear me say, "If it looks like that, it sounds like that. If it sounds like that, it looks like that."
Your vocal technique needs fixing. If you can notice the problem, then your audience can notice the problem. You are at times tensing-up and bearing-down on everything from your jaw bones to your collar bones. That muscle tension is constricting your tone.
My job as a vocal coach is to teach you how to place your tone – from your lowest note to your highest note – and to not evidence any breaks or tension. That is accomplished through a variety of complex scales. It is also informed by how you employ your breathing technique in order to sing those complex scales. Then it's about applying that knowledge, that Technique, to whatever you have chosen to sing or have been assigned to sing. No matter the venue or the genre of the material, you want to know that your presentation, your vocal delivery – from measure to measure and from breath to breath – has been choreographed to your advantage. If your technique is faulty, your performance will be faulty.
If you have recorded something I can listen to on-line, I will be happy to offer you some feedback.
I am a vocal coach to working singers in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm also an entertainment critic for HuffingtonPost.com – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield
and Classical music reviewer for Examiner.com – http://www.examiner.com/user/4557381/articles
. When you're ready to come to San Francisco for vocal coaching, contact me at: Broadwaybelters@yahoo.com
Check out my recent interview with popular TV host, David Perry, on "Ten Percent":
Below are links to my articles and youtubes on San Francisco's entertainment and cultural scene:
'Moby-Dick' opens at San Francisco Opera: A Conversation with Composer Jake Heggie
Pianist András Schiff on the 'Bach Project in North America'
Vasily Petrenko, BRIT Male Artist of the Year, Conducts SF Symphony, 10/5–6
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A conversation with Joshua Bell, featured guest artist at opening of SF Symphony, 9/19
San Francisco Opera Opens 90th Season With Verdi's 'Rigoletto'
Jazz vocalist Nicole Henry makes San Francisco debut
Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford duke it out at The Castro Theatre's 90th Anniversary
San Francisco, starring Jeanette MacDonald, to be featured at the Castro Theatre's 90th Anniversary
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The "It" Girl, Clara Bow, A Featured Star at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, July 12–15
'The Scottsboro Boys' – Placing the Minstrel Show on Trial
Jun Kaneko's 'Magic Flute' Is Stunningly Visual
Samuel Ramey is Leo the Great in San Francisco Opera's 'Attila'
'Victor Herbert, Collected Songs' – A Great CD
Tom Judson Is Making It Big In San Francisco
A Chat with Dominique Labelle, featured this week in PBO's 'Alexander's Feast'
A Look at Gennadi Nedvigin, Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet
Organist Christopher Houlihan Makes A Powerful Debut at Davies Symphony Hall
Prokofiev's 'Romeo and Juliet' – A Sumptuous Revival at San Francisco Ballet
RICHARD WINSOR – An Interview With the Star of 'Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake in 3D'
An Interview with Grammy Award winning organist Paul Jacobs
'Unfaithfully Yours' – Classic Overtures at Noir City X
EDDIE MULLER – On the Slow Death of 35mm – An Interview with the "Czar of Noir"
DEANNA DURBIN – The Leading Lady of NOIR CITY, Wednesday at The Castro Theatre
THOMAS JANE – An interview with the star of HBO's "Hung" and 3D Thriller "Dark Country"
KRISTIN CLAYTON– A Conversation with "The Diva" of Teatro ZinZanni
DIANE BAKER – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK
CAMERON CARPENTER – An Interview with Seán Martinfield
AT LAST! – ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY – An Interview with Seán Martinfield
MARNIE BRECKENRIDGE – An Interview with “La Princesse” of Philip Glass’ Orphée
A Conversation with Elza van den Heever
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PIANIST MISHA DICHTER – A Conversation
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