How To Skyrocket Your Vocal Range With Pharyngeal Resonance
Many singers struggle to sing high notes without straining - and I used to be one of them.
I'll tell you the #1 secret that I wish I knew through all those years of struggling, straining and ultimately failing to sing high notes correctly - singing is easy.
I know, I know, you were probably expecting me to say "the secret is vowel modification" or "open throat singing" or "buy my vocal course" or even "I'm the best ever - only I can help you!" - but the truth is, singing should be easy; and if it's not easy then you're simply not singing correctly.
One of the main reasons that singing is difficult for you is a lack of pharyngeal resonance - in short, you're using "mouth vowels" instead of a pharnygeal vowel formed in the vocal tract.
My progress has been pretty epic!
Kegan is a great teacher with a huge knowledge and talent - If you want to sing rock at the highest level choose BVS!
Valuable stuff, and very helpful. Thank you!
Foundation 101 is AMAZING!
How To Sing A Pharyngeal Vowel
I recently detailed the full process of singing with Vowel Modification, but there's an initial step you need to perform first before learning to modify your vowels - creating height in the vocal tract.
Height In The Vocal Tract is one of The Four Vocal Fundamentals - mastering all four of which is truly the key to becoming a great singer;
- Height In The Vocal Tract
- Forward Placement
- "All In One Flow"
- Mixed Tonality
Height In The Vocal Tract relates directly to vowel modification, raising the soft palate, yawning and narrowing the vowel - in fact, every single vocal technique out there is related directly to one of these simple vocal fundamentals; diaphragmatic breathing, compression, appoggio all relate to "All In One Flow" in the same way that twang, brightness, nay and nyah exercises all relate to Forward Placement.
Now, instead of pronouncing your vowel sounds like you do in speech and forcing the sound out of your mouth - instead we need to sing 'internally' by raising the soft palate and allowing the size/shape of our vocal tract to create the sound of each of our vowels.
The first aspect of a pharyngeal vowel is the shape of the tongue, which generally sits in two groupings;
- Tongue Down - AH/AA/OH
- Tongue Up - AY/EE/OU
You'll notice that if you sing a resonant sound and alternate between these two tongue positions that your vowel changes from an AH to an AY sound, and a few subtle movements here and there such as how forward the tongue is and the shape of your mouth then forms each other vowel sound.
Now, beyond tongue position it's incredibly important that you raise the soft palate to create your pharyngeal vowel.
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How To Raise The Soft Palate
The soft palate raises up into the pharynx to form each of your vowels, and subtle changes in the width/height of the palate also facilities each register overtone as you ascend in range - raising the soft palate is the key to skyrocketing your vocal range.
If you've ever had a singing teacher tell you to "yawn before you sing" - they're trying to get you to open your soft palate. But I'm going to take the educated guess that this really hasn't helped you sing any better because you then proceed to still pronounce your vowel in the mouth and the palate returns to a low position in the first few words of a vocal line.
The best way to raise then retain height in the soft palate is with "The Internal Smile" - and it's called "internal" for a reason. You might come across the occasional vocal guru telling you to "Smile Wide" and proceeding to smile like the Cheshire cat when they sing - in which case you've probably seen them struggling, straining, going red in the face and with veins popping out of their neck and forehead like they're about to have a stroke. That is because a wide smile at the mouth actually spreads the soft palate and widens the vocal tract, effecting your ability to migrate between each register overtone without yelling, shouting and ultimately "splatting" your vowel in the mid section instead of singing in a balanced, controlled and pleasant manner.
The Internal Smile actually occurs when you raise your cheeks under your eyes, brighten your expression, sunken cheeks at the back of the mouth and a vertically oval aperture at the mouth - this encourages a raised soft palate and allows you to control the width and height of your vocal tract with ease, while also making the process of singing with vocal placement and allowing register overtones a total cinch for you.
When it comes to increasing your vocal range, The Internal Smile is king.
But instead of constantly telling you just how awesome it feels to sing with such effortless freedom, range and power - let me show you with a few quick examples of the singing voice I enjoy now that I've mastered The Four Vocal Fundamentals while raising the soft palate correctly - just imagine the killer singing voice you're going to enjoy once you master these four vocal basics!