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  • Hey singers, I think today's episode is going to be a real eye-opener, or at

  • least a real throat opener, because today we're exploring the classic vocal topic

  • singing with an open throat.

  • Hi singers! I'm Justin Stoney the founder of New York Vocal Coaching here in

  • New York City.

  • Welcome to episode 102 of Voice Lessons To The World.

  • Today's question comes from Rodrigo F. in Formosa, Argentina.

  • Rodrigo writes, "Dear Justin, my voice teacher says I must keep an

  • open throat when I sing, but what does that even mean?"

  • That's glorious question Rodrigo.

  • And I can see why you're confused.

  • Singing with an "open throat" is one of those vague vocal

  • buzzwords that often plague singers, sort of like bringing the sound "forward"

  • like we saw in episode 91.

  • "Now that's a forward!"

  • Or, "singing from the diaphragm", we looked at that in episode 83.

  • So I don't want you to be confused by yet another one.

  • The issue with concepts like these is that they mean different things

  • to so many people.

  • What do you mean I should sing with an open throat?

  • Should I lower my larynx?

  • What about my mouth? Would you like me to open it wider?

  • How about the tongue? Tall? Retracted? Flat? How can one be sure?

  • Seems to me that the pharyngeal constrictors deserve a thought.

  • And don't get me started on the soft palate, that's like opening Pandora's box

  • and finding it's not a box at all, but a giant can of worms

  • and each worm disagrees about vocal pedagogy.

  • And that's really the problem.

  • It's tough to pinpoint exactly what to do.

  • But that's our task today.

  • We're going to look at all the specific ways that you can sing

  • with an open throat.

  • Quick question first though, what's a throat?

  • [Frog and cricket sounds]

  • I know it sounds like an easy one, but did you ever really stop to think about it?

  • The throat is the space at the back of your mouth.

  • It includes your pharynx, larynx, soft palate, epiglottis, and vocal folds.

  • You know, all the stuff that makes singing work.

  • But does it really need to be open all the time?

  • To answer that, let's go to the lab!

  • I think the primary thing that vocal people mean when they ask singers to

  • open the throat is to lower the larynx.

  • Lowering the larynx literally opens the throat.

  • Like, it actually increases the size of the resonance tube.

  • So should we lower the larynx in order to sing with an open throat?

  • Well, yes and no.

  • Lower larynxes accommodate volume and projecting the voice, rather well.

  • This is why classical instructors might suggest lowering the larynx.

  • Contemporary singers though, sing with neutral larynxes and high larynxes

  • depending on the genre.

  • So we certainly don't want too deep of a larynx if we're singing a more modern style.

  • But, regardless of style, lowering the larynx is probably the most

  • important element in singing with an open throat.

  • The larynx loves to fancy itself a pitch changer.

  • It likes to raise up for high notes and drop down for low notes.

  • We need to develop a downward sensation with the larynx as pitches go up.

  • This skill flat out helps us to sing better in any musical style.

  • But what do we do with the jaw?

  • Opening the jaw doesn't necessarily open the throat.

  • However, a loose jaw

  • helps the larynx to remain free.

  • A vast variety of vocal varmints like the geniohyoids, mylohyoids, and digastrics-

  • Whoa. [Hits piano]

  • -think that they can spoil the vocal party.

  • Well guess what fellas, y'all ain't invited.

  • We need to find a jaw position that's not clenched and not open too big and wide.

  • Something like this.

  • Give it a try.

  • Looks great!

  • When we establish this neutral jaw position we maximize our

  • chances for open throat singing.

  • Next, let's check out the soft palate.

  • The soft palate is the soft spot at the back of the top of your mouth.

  • It raises whenever you say any of your vowels.

  • AH, EE, OO, try it!

  • Well done.

  • So you don't really have to stress about raising it.

  • The real consideration actually, is when do I drop it?

  • We drop it anytime we recruit a little bit of nasal resonance.

  • This helps open the throat by taking the pressure off of the vocal folds.

  • Nasal resonance adds an element of freedom and flexibility to our sound.

  • Now, we never want to over do it.

  • But, all styles of music can really benefit from a little splash of nasal resonance.

  • If you listen closely, you'll hear it used by contemporary singers

  • but also many classical singers as well.

  • He who has ears let him hear.

  • Next, let's examine the tongue.

  • The tongue is really the innocent bystander in all this because what

  • happens is singers like you, Rodrigo, have been told to open their throats.

  • And they've tried dropping their larynx as far down as it will go and lifting their

  • soft palate as high as it will raise but if it's still not working the poor

  • tongue is the only thing left so the tongue starts to pull back and retract

  • and interfere with everything.

  • But it's important, really important, that you don't let this happen.

  • For your vocal best, your tongue should stay as relaxed as possible.

  • Ideally like the NG sound that we explored in our last episode.

  • NG, the king.

  • Finally, let's visit the vocal folds themselves.

  • Last but certainly not least, the vocal folds.

  • Never forget that these two little 17 millimeter miracle workers

  • have a mind of their own.

  • That's right they can decide to be too tight, too loose, or just right.

  • If your singing is getting tight or raspy or vocal fry-ey, then make

  • sure you're not over compressing in there.

  • To sing with an open throat it's vital that those vocal folds

  • are as good at letting go as they are hanging on.

  • So make sure that your singing isn't all super solid.

  • Falsetto, head voice, head dominant mix, and breathy tones

  • need to be as easy for you to access as your strong sounds.

  • Alright, alright, alright, that's enough technique talk here in the lab.

  • I think it's time to look at a song.

  • Today I'm going to explore a song that I think models all five of our

  • singing with an open throat ideas.

  • The song kind of blends elements of pop, opera, musical theatre, and rock.

  • So it's a perfect way to put myself to the test with Anthem from Chess.

  • Okay J, remember don't raise the larynx for high notes,

  • release the jaw, add a smidge of nasal resonance, loosen the tongue,

  • and keep the vocal folds free and breezy.

  • Alright, got it. Let's do this thang.

  • How could I leave her? ♪

  • Where would I start? ♪

  • Let man's petty nations tear themselves apart

  • My land's only borders lie around

  • My heart

  • Well alrighty then, singing with an open throat feels pretty swell.

  • And now that I've challenged myself it's time for your challenge.

  • With this week's Voice Lessons To The World challenge.

  • Your challenge this week is to try out all five of these open throat concepts.

  • You can do it on an exercise as simple as AH.

  • AH - AH - AH - AH - AH

  • Go through them one by one.

  • Lowering the larynx.

  • AH - AH - AH - AHWhoops!

  • AH - AH - AH - AH - AH

  • Releasing the jaw.

  • AH - AH - AH - AHUh, uh...

  • AH - AH - AH - AH - AH

  • Experimenting with nasal resonance.

  • AH - AH - AH - AH - AH

  • AH - AH - AH - AH - AH

  • AH - AH - AH - AH - AH

  • Loosening the tongue.

  • AH - AHOh! Bleh.

  • AH - AH - AH - AH - AH

  • Decompressing the vocal folds.

  • AH - AHOh. Uh, uh.

  • AH - AH - AH - AH - AH

  • Try them one by one and see how you do.

  • Find the ones that your voice is most challenged by

  • and spend extra time on those.

  • All of us here at NYVC would love to know how

  • you're doing with your challenge.

  • You can send us updates on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, all the usual suspects.

  • And you can send your questions for future episodes to

  • Questions@VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com.

  • Here's some more things that I hope help you stay open to your vocal best.

  • For voice lessons or Skype lessons with the NYVC staff

  • visit us at NewYorkVocalCoaching.com.

  • If you'd like a vocal course that you can do at home check out the

  • Voice Lessons To The World Vocal Course.

  • This twelve part program takes you on a singing journey from beginner

  • to master level vocal exercises.

  • You can find it at VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com.

  • Or, if you'd like free vocal tips sent to you each day

  • sign up at DailyVocalTips.com.

  • And now, here's Justin with this week's vocal benediction.

  • The world of vocal pedagogy has long been eager to open our throats

  • but I think it's much more important that we open our minds.

  • Your voice is unlimited and you are unlimited and you're deeply loved.

  • Let your love and your singing open you to living with more passion than ever.

  • And, make a joyful noise.

Hey singers, I think today's episode is going to be a real eye-opener, or at

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Ep. 102 "Singing With An Open Throat" - Voice Lessons To The World

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    z11305 posted on 2020/03/24
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