Been teaching singing now for more than 30 years and have been experimenting with physical techniques and imagery to help students understand just how narrow the column formed by the mouth needs to be.
Yes, it will feel foolish and ridiculous now, but once the air (the white noise or sssssss) is gone from the voice, it’s possible to have a focused sound with your face in almost any shape. The trick is daily technique practice through the narrow shape until the focus locks in.
If visualizing travelling through a deep crevice, or singing with the insides of your cheeks creating a vertical column isn’t working for you try this. Whistle.
Leave your face in that position, but free up both lips to form whatever vowel you need. When I whistle my tongue has some tension in it. Both the tongue and lips, especially the upper lip, need to relax.
And of course, as I mentioned in an earlier blog, the best way to get the tongue to behave is to tell it that you’re scanning it for tension. If you just tell it to relax it becomes useless lump of flaccid muscle – and not much good for forming a vowel.
So – the corners of the mouth need to be close together, and the lips and tongue free, and able to form the vowel you want.