How Singers Release Tension in the Face and Head
Believe it or not, tension in the head and face is pretty common in singers. You can see tension in the face when the eyebrows lift or the brow furrows. The facial muscles may also hold tension, even though you may not see the face wrinkle.
Look in the mirror at your face. Tighten your face so that you can see the muscles squeezing together. Now release that tension and notice what it feels like. When the tension releases, your face may feel wider or more open.
Tense and release several more times so you can really feel the difference. Notice any tension in your forehead from the muscles wanting to either lift or furrow the brow.
One area that commonly generates tension is the forehead. If you notice your forehead wrinkling as you sing, stick a piece of clear tape vertically on your forehead between your eyebrows. You can feel the tape move when you tighten your forehead. It’s normal for your eyebrows to move as you sing or speak, but keeping your forehead free of tension is the goal.
Next, notice any tension in your eyes. Tension in your eyes feels like squinting or a tightness behind your eyes. When the eyes are open and free of tension, it feels similar to the opening you feel behind your eyes when you see something that surprises you.
Pretend that a friend you haven’t seen in a long time walks through the door. Notice the opening of your eyes and a feeling of space behind your eyes. The opening or release of tension behind the eyes also helps the forehead to relax.
Releasing the tension in your head and opening the space involves allowing the muscles to stay pliable on your head. If you squint or concentrate really hard for a long time, your head may start to hurt from a tension headache. To prevent that tension, massage your scalp.
See whether you can get the skin on your head (your scalp) to move around. It might not move much if it’s tight, but you may get it to move a little by massaging and stretching it. You can also visualize your head expanding from the inside out.
Look in the mirror again and notice the space around your mouth. When you’re annoyed or frustrated, the muscles around your mouth may tighten. To release the tension around your mouth and face, look bored. If you pretend to be really bored and dull, you’ll feel tension around your mouth release.