Wake Up to Good & Bad Effort | Release Tongue Tension

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Get solid on the critical distinction between good effort & bad effort.
Published: March 16, 2021

Wake Up to Good & Bad Effort

Here’s the deal. There is good effort and bad effort in singing. Good effort sets your voice free and bad effort muffles and weakens your sound. Instructor Mark Baxter often reminds us that when we sing a loud or high note, it comes out in spite of our tension, not because of it! In other words, we may THINK we are working hard to get that note to sound good, but really if we just stopped tensing up, our sound would be THAT MUCH BETTER.

Good effort means keeping your body engaged, and your rib cage gently expanded and your abdominal muscles actively engaging and releasing as you support your sound with your breath. Good effort is also the movement of the jaw and tongue and lips to shape vowels and consonants. Good effort is the engagement of the tiny muscles in the larynx that stretch or thicken the vocal folds for various intensity levels and pitches. 

Bad effort is tongue root tension, jaw tension, face tension and any activity of the extrinsic muscles around the larynx. It seems SO natural to recruit these to sing powerful sounds, but in fact, all these should stay relaxed and neutral. Bad effort can also take the form of “over breathing” or forcing your air out in an unnatural way. Your resonance – a.k.a. your vocal power – will increase when these muscles stop getting in the way. Where do you sense unneeded tension when you sing? 

Kathy  Alexander
VP Curriculum, Singdaptive

Release Tongue Tension

Our full-access subscribers have been enjoying the NEW vocal exercise lessons, especially the Release Tongue Tension Exercise lesson by Voice Teacher & Choir Director, Mandy Bryant.

To learn more, upgrade to premium and check out the lesson Release Tongue Tension where you’ll learn to overcome a weak or unstable sound through reducing tongue tension!

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