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ArtistWorks Vocal School Lessons: Basics: Your Tongue

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One of the physical tools
that we have in singing is our tongue.
We use it for a lot of different aspects
of singing, and
it can either help or hinder the way that
we sing.
For, do this, do this consonant, Te.
Now if you've said tee, that is a word.
And the word is going to have a consonant.
The actual T and the vowel E.
So I just want you to do the consonant Te,
Te, and you feel how the tip of
the tongue, Te, touches the front roof of
your mouth and then drops.
That's a muscle action because your tongue
actually starts here.
It's the whole inside, you know,
of your mouth, lying on the, on the floor
of your mouth.
And it ends right here, put your fingers
Okay, if you put your fingers here and
then swallow, feel that movement?
If you didn't do it, do it now.
Yeah, and swallow.
That's your tongue moving up and then
dropping down.
The thing that makes the sounds of your
voice is right in here, called your
vocal folds, you might know them as vocal
cords, that's not the right name.
Anyway, they're, they're, we'll get into
it later, but they're in here, and
they're in this front tube, which is
called your larynx.
You don't need to remember that word, but
that's what it called.
And the tongue the ro, the base of it is
connected to the top of it.
So when the tongue pulls up too much, it
pulls the larynx out of position.
Or if the tongue is pressed down, it
pushes the larynx,
again lower, but out of po, out of
This backfires on the muscle movements of
your vocal folds, and they have a tougher
time doing what they need to do and
vibrate the way that they need to.
So it all jams up.
Additionally, if the tongue is tight,
which it tends to be unless
you do certain exercises to get it
flexible, which we're about to do.
If the tongue is tight, it reduces the,
how shall I call it,
like the, the size of your voice, the
warmth of your voice.
In the sound, it sounds kind of jammed up
or tense, something like that.
Like you could have, [SOUND] It's really
tight tongue.
[SOUND] Or [SOUND] now I'm dropping my
tongue or pulling it.
[SOUND] Which makes a more nasal sound,
but either,
any one of those examples, it feels like
you have to push your voice in order for
it to work for you, but the voice is
actually designed to respond
to your creative ideas, how you want to
express yourself.
It's those things that we haven't done to
really prepare it,
develop it, or are, in fact, acting as a
barrier to its
working that makes it feel like we have to
use more effort.
And then, instead of just imagining the
sounds and
really expressing yourself, you're instead
[SOUND] you know, working,
working, working, to get your voice to do
something for you.
So it's not as fun an activity, and
you may have experienced this at least
once in your life trying to sing.
So, the tongue is a very important area
to limber, and there are gonna be a series
of different
moves we're going to do that will help
stretch it out.
The cool thing about the tongue is that it
will respond
very quickly if you do the right things to
limber it.
As a result, some of the exercises I'm
about to show you are not done
over and over and over again.
They're done just several repetitions, and
then that's it for now.
You can do it again later, fine, but don't
do a whole lot in a row.
The other thing about the tongue is if
you'll excuse this analogy,
it's a little bit like an inchworm.
So if you were ever to watch a worm as it
goes along,
it can subdivide, it's like a muscle, the
whole worm,
and it moves and subdivides itself.
Well, we can move the tip of the tongue,
we can move the middle or
sides of the tongue, like if you curve
your tongue and
let the sides of it touch the molars or
your teeth on either side.
Some people can roll it.
You don't need to, but, you know, I'm just
showing you how, how it subdivides.
You can have the back of the tongue go up,
back of the tongue go down, or
just lie there.
So we're gonna do exercises that get the
tongue to move in different ways, and
by doing that, it will limber, and
you'll notice an immediate response in a
better voice.
Which means after you do each exercise,
I'm gonna tell you to stop the video and
sing a song.
And then do the next one and sing the same
song and do the next one and
sing the same song and see how your voice
develops as a result.