Magic Choral Trick #114 The Tilt of the Chin
Sometimes it’s very small things that can make a big difference.
Where does your chin sit when you sing?
Some people lift the chin a little. Some let it jut out.
For both chin positions, the vocal comfort and quality will be affected because these positions put some pressure on the larynx. Neck muscles are tighter and singing requires more effort. You’ll get vocally tired sooner, and tension in the neck will gradually spread to the jaw and shoulders – which is never fun.
As for the presentation aspect – the jutting jaw (often in combination with the scrunched up face) is used by many popular singers to show us earnestness and emotional intensity. But they pay a vocal price.
The chin that’s tilted up is sometimes an indication to me that a singer is mistakenly thinking that he or she will have more luck with the high notes if the mouth is aimed slightly upwards. (When in fact this position can actually sabotage a high note)
Presentation wise, the chin tilt can be read two ways by an audience. The first is: “I’m not really sure I can sing this note – but here goes”. The second impression is one of arrogance. If your customary chin position is tilted up, try relaxing it down more to the level, or ever so slightly downward position. Not only will singing be easier, but audiences will like you more.
Just as a footnote – in my experience, people who customarily raise the chin slightly in their day to day lives are not arrogant. They are more likely to be sensitive people who at some point have been shocked, or threatened by someone, and the raised chin is just part of that trying-to-get-away reaction that’s become habituated in the body. (Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais and Cranio Sacral are some of the healing modalities that can help with this sort of thing.)