When you’re singing, jaw tension makes you feel like you’re having to fight to get sound out.
Tension in my jaw shows up when I’m worried, annoyed, fearful, sad, anxious, judgemental, tired, headachy, sick, nervous, stewing, rushed or stressed in any way.
So unless I’m prancing through daisies in a state of exuberant bliss – pretty much daily.
I’ve found that jaw tension is also the sort of thing that creates this nasty cycle: Stress – tension – more stress because of the tension – more tension. Soon, you’re a complete mess.
Here’s what I’ve found has helped:
Breath of Fire (Post #4 on this blog)
Massaging the jaw line – especially those little lumps of tension at about where the wisdom teeth would be inside the mouth.
Massaging the muscles on the sides of the neck – the ones that keep your head on.
Tennis ball against the wall for massaging knots out of the upper back, and along either side of the spine.
Planning my day – making sure to include activities that are fun. I find it much easier to release tension when I’ve had a day where I accomplished the things that I’d planned.
Walking – especially outdoors
Going easy on the caffeine and sugar.
Reminding myself to relax the back teeth (This one has often made a big difference to singing students)
Asking the jaw to think ‘stupid, stupid, stupid’
Ironically – singing my heart out