Practicing consonant shapes gives you not only the precision you need to sing, but also the confidence that you’re putting your best tongue forward while articulating the tip consonants.

You shape tip consonants with the tip of your tongue as it touches the alveolar ridge. If you slide your tongue along the roof of your mouth, you first feel your teeth, then a small section of gums, and then a ridge — the alveolar ridge. The only tip consonant sound not made on the alveolar ridge is TH, which is shaped with the tip of the tongue touching the upper front teeth.

To sing a song, you take a breath, open the space in your throat and mouth, and then shape for the vowel and consonant. That’s a lot to do in the first moment of your song, and all these shapes continue as you sing through the words in your song.

Until you’re confident that you can shape tip consonants without thinking about it, practice them. D, T, and S are the most commonly mispronounced tip consonants. D is often mistakenly pronounced like a T. Be sure to listen for the sound of your voice when you make the D. Practicing these shapes every day will help you quickly get the hang of tip consonants.