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Vowel Shaping for Clarity in Your Singing

When you hold out a note, you sustain a vowel sound. Therefore, making clear, precise vowel sounds is important if you want to be understood. And to make those precise vowel sounds, you need to know how to shape the vowels quickly, using a specific tongue shape or arch, forming a certain lip shape, and correctly opening the jaw or mouth.

If you fudge your vowels, “I miss pizza,” may come out as, “A mus pit suh.” So if you don’t want Aunt Geraldine in the back row turning up her hearing aid until it squeals, check out vowel exercises.

You want to generate a consistent resonance for all vowels. Even when the shape changes, the resonance needs to remain solid.

To make vowel sounds, you poise your lips in a certain position and arch your tongue in a specific way. But you need to keep the tip of your tongue against your bottom front teeth for all vowel shapes. Think of this as home base — the tongue stays at home on all vowel sounds.

The tip of the tongue moves to make consonants but always returns to home base after you finish the sound of the consonant, to hold out the vowel as you sing a note.

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