Magic Choral Trick #39 Narrow Narrow Narrow
So many singing problems can be solved forever by just singing through a much narrower mouth shape.
I usually have to ask singers to imagine that the inside of the mouth is a tall, very skinny passageway – to visualize the insides of the cheeks being so close together they nearly touch.
An image that worked well for a couple of students recently was the split in the mountain that Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli had to go through to get to Isildur’s Army of the Dead (the Dead Men of Dunharrow)
Try to remember how your enthusiastic French teacher used to show the class how to say the vowel in the word ‘peu’ as is ‘petit peu’. That’s the perfect shape to sing ‘ee’ and ‘ay’ through – though you may need to check in a mirror exactly how much you look like her. For right now, over the top is good.
Think of chimpanzee lips (though with a relaxed upper lip) for ‘oo’ and that’s about the right width through which to sing ‘oo’ and the other formed vowels – ‘oh’, and ‘ah’.
Once everything is narrow enough the breathiness will gradually begin to go out of your sound, your legato singing will be much freer, high notes will be easier and there’ll be no cracking spot in the mid range. You’ll be able to use the same vocal production from the bottom of your range to the top.
I know that this is the sort of thing that it’s good to have feedback for – from a qualified voice teacher – but even doing this on your own will help make singing easier (and so, more fun).