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Improving Your Singing: Releasing Tone

Releasing a tone doesn’t sound nearly as important as singing the tone. You sing a tone and then release it or stop singing. Singing requires that breath move out of your body (exhale), and releasing the tone simply requires that you inhale.

Sounds easy doesn’t it? Practice the following two exercises a few times to get the feeling in your body. In the heat of the performance, you want your body to remember how to let go of the tone so you can quickly take in that next breath.

Inhaling to release tone

An easy way to practice releasing tone is to inhale. Sing an ah vowel and, when you’re ready to stop the tone, simply inhale. The first few times you try this, it may feel funny. You may think that you haven’t done it right, because it was too easy. Practice singing the ah and releasing several times in a row: ah, inhale, ah, inhale, ah, inhale.

Although this exercise may have you momentarily sounding more like a sex kitten than a professional singer, it allows you to feel that singing is exhaling, releasing a tone is inhaling, and the breath is always in motion, whether going in or out.

Remember that when you inhale, you want to release the muscles in your throat. If you keep the muscles tight, you gasp, because the air is trying to pass through a tight space.

Letting your throat go

After you explore inhaling to release the tone, try letting your throat go and releasing all the muscles in your throat. You may still have enough air to keep singing, but you have to release the tone if you’re at the end of the song or the end of a phrase. Just think of releasing in your throat by letting go of all the muscles to stop the tone.

You may end up inhaling, but you don’t have to worry about that action, because your body took care of it. Think of the release as a liftoff from the tone or a liftoff from the consonant, and don’t worry about stopping the tone.

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