Hey guys! Happy Monday!
As some of you may know, I’m currently in Atlanta visiting family. I’ll be here for 2 and a half weeks and today is my first full day – which we mostly spent grocery shopping! After it’s been a few days I’ll upload a post about my trip so far, but for right now this post is about singing – specifically vowel shaping.
So, what do I mean by vowel shaping? Pretty much exactly what I said! The way you shape your mouth and the way you pronounce the words that you sing are all very important when you are singing.
To start with, when singing you should always try to shape each vowel forward instead of pulling backwards; by this I mean if you are singing the word ‘car’ for example, instead of pulling back with your mouth (as if you are screaming or smiling), bring your lips slightly forward. Don’t go overboard – this is meant to be subtle. The main thing to remember is to not pull back! When you pull back you not only encourage the resonance of the note to go further back (next post will be on resonance!), but it will also cause your tongue to pull back, which can strangle the note and can cause vocal cracking or straining.
When singing an ‘ah’ vowel, the best way to keep the note forward is to shape your mouth and tongue forward (as stated) and to sing more of an ‘or’ sound rather than ‘ah’. This again needs to be subtle as you still need to sound to the listener as though you’re singing the word that you’re supposed to be singing, but incorporating a slight ‘or’ sound into the vowel will help to keep the note forward and therefore help you to reach the note.
A further tip is to never tense your jaw. Tensing your jaw can make the note strained and more difficult to reach. Instead try and keep your jaw very relaxed and ‘dopey’. Don’t put too much work into your jaw and again, definitely remember to keep your jaw forward instead of pulling back!
An exception to these tips however, is when you are singing the vowel ‘ee’. With this vowel sound it’s pretty difficult to incorporate an ‘or’ sound into it, and in order to keep the vowel light (which will help you to reach the note as you won’t be dragging the note down with heaviness in your voice) you may need to smile. When trying to reach any note, try not to hit the note from underneath, always try to start singing on or above the note – that way it won’t get weighted down.
If you are in the habit of pulling back when you sing, it could take months for you to be able to keep everything forward consistently – be patient and always bear in mind what your lips, tongue and jaw are doing when you sing.
Hopefully this was helpful, will have more blog posts soon! Have a great week, and until next time guys.