Singing For Dummies
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When you sing, you have to drop your jaw much more than you do in everyday conversation, and you have to open your mouth and throat much wider. If you don’t drop your jaw and open your mouth, the sound gets trapped inside your mouth and can’t make it past the first row of the audience.

To properly open the throat and mouth for singing, you need to feel around a bit first. Place your finger on your chin and trace your jaw line back to your ear. At the back of the jaw, you can feel a curve under your ear. This is the area to focus on when you drop your jaw. Instead of trying to drop your chin, drop it from the area right underneath your ear. The back space gives the tone room to resonate.

Practice dropping the jaw to discover how to open the space in the back of the mouth — called the back space — and space in the throat; dropping just the chin doesn’t open the back space. To practice dropping the jaw, follow these steps:

  1. Massage all the muscles around your face to make sure that they’re free of tension and ready to open.

  2. Try yawning and dropping your jaw at the same time.

    Remember, you want to drop the jaw, not just move the chin down. Your chin does move, but you want to open the space in the back by your ear (back space), not just the front (front space).

  3. Yawn inside your mouth and throat without opening your lips.

    To do this, pretend that you’re at a boring dinner party and you don’t want the hostess to see you yawning. You feel an opening sensation inside your mouth and throat when you’re starting to yawn.

    At the beginning of the yawn, you can feel the muscles stretching and opening. By the end of the yawn, the muscles are tight from the huge stretch. You want to remember the beginning of yawn, when the muscles are opening, not the tense phase at the end of the yawn.

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Pamelia S. Phillips is a professional singer with over 35 years of teaching experience. She has designed curriculum for high school students, college BFA programs, and professional training programs, helping thousands of singers refine their singing technique.

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