Simple Vocal Approach Shows You The Correct
TONGUE POSITION WHILE SINGING
My first few singing teachers told me to sing sounds like AH and AY.
They kept saying over and over – “No, not like that!”
Yet they didn’t tell me exactly how to fix these sounds.
I straining and struggled over and over trying to make my vowel sound like theirs.
Until I realised my tongue was simply in the wrong position.
It was a revelation in my singing.
Why had noone told me that an AA is a “front” vowel and EE is a “back” vowel – and what that really means in regards to tongue position while singing?
Well, that’s because most natural singers just do this without thinking.
Hell, most voice teachers don’t even know how to do it – they just “do it right” naturally without a second thought.
So they don’t put any importance on tongue position in singing.
They just keep telling you sing AH and AA and OH and AY and EE and OU without showing you the different tongue position while singing these sounds.
Yep, I’m about to show you exactly how to sing with the correct tongue position in singing.
Something so simple you’re going to kick yourself for not knowing this previously.
You might even kick your vocal teacher for not knowing this.
All jokes aside, this is SUPER simple but SUPER important.
#1 – Base Vowel Sounds
Now, your vowels are really grouped into two types, with an honorary third vowel floating all on it’s own.
Vowels based on an AH overtone occur with the tongue low and concave in the mouth – kinda like a taco, low in the middle, higher at the sides right down in the base of the jaw.
AH vowels – AH (Hard), AA (Cat), OH (Gold)
Vowels based on an AY overtone occur with the tongue raised towards the back/middle of the mouth – kindof like a wave in the ocean, raised in the centre.
AY vowels – AY (Yeah), OU (Heard), EE (See)
Now, there’s a little more to it than that, because there’s actually separate movements of the tongue and also changes to your vocal tract space and embouchure for each sound that differentiates each variant from the base sound.
Still with me?
I know, I know – I said this was simple.
And it is, just stick with me a few moments more.
For example, if you sing an AH vowel with the tongue low and concave in the base of the mouth, and you shift your tongue position forward to the front of the mouth a touch and let your mouth widen slightly, you’ll notice the sound changes to AA. Congratulations, you just learned how to sing a “front vowel”.
Same thing goes for EE and AY. If you sing an EE vowel with the tongue raised in the centre of the mouth and you move your tongue forward towards the front of the mouth and open your mouth a touch more, you’ll notice the sound changes to an AY.
Clear as mud?
Front vowels – AY, OU, AA
Middle Vowels – AH, EE, OH
Back Vowel – OO
So when you’re practicing scales with these sounds, you first need to master the initial tongue position of the vowel like I just explained with the AH turning in an AA by moving the tongue forward etc, instead of just trying to “pronounce” different sounds without considering where the tongue sits and how this relates to the frequencies of your vowel.
Vocal Tract Modification
You might have heard the term Vowel Modification before.
You might have even tried it yourself (it sounded horrible, right?)
Your singing teacher might have even told you to change the AH vowel into an OH vowel, or an EE vowel into an AY vowel.
^ But this is WRONG.
Flat out BS.
While there’s a number of considerations to modifying vowels in the right way, it’s really a shift in the size and shape of your vocal tract, as well as the balance of weight and tension in your fold coordination.
For example, as you sing higher with one of the base vowel sounds we just discussed, let’s say “AY”, the frequencies and resonant overtone of this sound become inefficient as your folds vibrate faster and you sing a higher note.
So, we alter our coordination at the folds away from pure contraction of the Vocalis in chest voice to a balanced “mix voice” setup where you have a touch of CT engagement – but most importantly, the soft palate raises and spreads a touch higher and wider into the pharyngeal space at the back of your head.
While your base vowel sound is still AY, the overtone the resonates within this altered space and coordination shift sounds more like EH – so, more like “Head” instead of “Hey”
And hence we get the true nature of vowel modification – altering your vocal tract so your voice rings out with the most powerful, energetic but effortless resonance.
But it all starts with the basic tongue positions we discussed above.
Vowel Modification is a fine art and requires finesse, class, grace and TONS of practice and training.
So I’m going to give you a jumpstart by showing you exactly how to do it right here, right now.
No other coach out there is actually showing you any of this stuff.
Sure, they might ‘talk about it’ or tell you ‘it’s important’ – but just before they reveal the big secret to great singing, they always end with “the answer is in my course” and in most cases a ridiculous price tag.
But here I am, gifting you with the secret to great singing.
Here’s how to sing with vowel modification:
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