This one is sort of a corollary to the ‘nothing shape’, or neutral mouth shape trick, and applies mostly to pick up notes.
If there’s going to be a synchronization mess, pick up notes are the biggest danger zone and the most likely candidates.
So here’s the trick.
Suppose the last word of a phrase is ‘moon’, and the next phrase begins with ‘the stars’, with the ‘the’ as a pick up note. The mouth forms the ‘oo’ vowel for moon, then completing the word requires only a slight tongue movement – so the mouth can still stay in the ‘oo’ shape.
Breathe in through that same ‘moon’ shape, and sing the pick up word ‘the’ without changing anything.
There seems to be a misconception among many singers that to get a decent breath, the mouth must open all the way to the cavernous setting. When this happens, there’s no time to relax the mouth again to the neutral setting required to sing the pick up note as unaccented.
Here’s what we don’t want:
Mooooooon……huge gasp with mouth wide open……THE stars
Here’s what we do want:
Mooooooon……fast breath through shape of the word moon….the STARS
Because getting that cavernous yawning breath ratcheted back to neutral size takes different amounts of time for all the different mouth shapes in the chorus, not only will the pick up note be accented, but it’ll happen at slightly different times for everyone.
When the shape remains unchanged from the end of one phrase until the next downbeat, mis-accentuations and synchronization problems vanish.