Jaw Lessons for Singers: Sing Without Jaw Tension


How do you move the jaw properly? What
do you do with the jaw? When and how do you move it? How far should you open it?
How much is too much? How much is not enough? Let’s talk about it today!
I think the jaw is one of the elements in singing, or one of the parts when it
comes to everything that is involved in singing, that tends to have a lot of
tension or, for personalities that tend to be low tension, it tends
to not open wide enough. So I want to really clear up the question today: How
far you should open. The jaw should be relaxed. However, that does not mean you
do not use the jaw muscles at all. Of course, you have to use them. My default
position is what I call the slobber position, or fall-asleep-in-the-car or
train position. When you move the head forward and back, when you relax the jaw
muscles, you can feel that the jaw moves. Like this: so if you have a tendency to
always lock those muscles, this is a good way to check if you’re locking or if
you’re actually relaxing. You want to be able to control whether you relaxed or
use the muscles in a very intentional way. And intentional is the keyword here.
What you don’t want to do is fall into the trap of “I sing high and loud and I open
very widely. I sing soft and low and I close the jaw. You want to basically have
enough opening so that all those spaces inside your mouth, your tongue, continuing
on back into your throat, the pharynx, that there is enough space. And, of course,
you can create more space when you open up a bit.
That doesn’t mean you open extremely wide to where you dislocate your jaw.
For me (singing) that’s enough opening and it’s even
enough opening for singing higher. (Singing) I don’t need to open more than the default.
However, when I sing low I also don’t close the jaw.
Otherwise, I will sacrifice some resonating space (singing). I don’t have to
move the jaw. What I want to get used to is this default position of having this
basic opening. Think about it: whenever you have any words, for example “na na” or
“ma ma ma”, which technically of course aren’t words, but let’s just talk about
anything that resembles language. What you don’t need to do is close and
open every time you intersperse those open vowels with another sound. Like (singing) “na
na na na na na”. That’s not what I need to do. I keep the openness of the ah and
only move my tongue so that I don’t have to use my jaw too much. So, “na na na na na
na na na na na”. And, by the way, the “n” sounds better when there’s more
resonating space also. So, “mama mama mama” I’m using my lips a bit so that I don’t
have to use my jaw as much. So instead of (singing), which really puts a lot of
tension on my jaw because every time I’m moving I just keep opening and closing,
and that in time… if I sang several songs,
it would really strain me here. In order to minimize strain try to operate with
less overall jaw movement. Be intelligent and ask yourself: do I really have to
move my jaw here or not? Don’t worry! This does become automatic once you’ve really become more aware and you really start focusing
on this. (singing) When I’m singing I’m using my lips and I’m moving my jaw just
a little bit, but I don’t move it like crazy, and it doesn’t matter what words I sing.
I can still shape with a tip of my tongue and the soft palate and all the parts
moving inside of my mouth. And see, I don’t have to really use this too much
it does move but I don’t lock it and I don’t do this like crazy all the time. So, this
much for how much you should open. Of course, when you’re in the middle of
being expressive and you’re really singing your heart out, you will probably
open your jaw more or less sometimes, and that is totally permissible. I want you
to first know how to do it properly. And the thing is that once you know how to
do it properly, you even can move the jaw more without putting too much tension on
it. That’s something I’ve noticed over time in my singing. That practicing to
sing with a more relaxed jaw, not opening like crazy, does allow me to then
maybe open a bit more when I really go way high and I get really intense. But it
doesn’t create this bad kind of tension anymore and this tenseness and just the
locking up of the jaw.What I have noticed: by making it a habit in my
singing to not tense up the jaw too much my everyday life has totally changed.
I used to have neck pain. That all came from my jaw. I used to have a little bit
of a headache sometimes. I haven’t had that for ten years minimum, and I think it all
came from my jaw being too tight and tense. But throughout the day, you can
practice even in your speaking: do I do a lot of this? Or, do I use the movable soft
parts: lips, tongue? Right? That’s something we can use. And I’m just exaggerating
here. But to enunciate. You want to use your lips, your tongue, your
soft palate. The entire length of the tongue actually moves and makes
different shapes to shape all the vowels and consonants. So, this is probably too
much when you feel like it’s straining you. And this is probably not enough for
a really high pitch like “singing” because it’s not going to sound like an open ah anymore.
Be sensible about it and just think about the things that I just told you
today. If you liked the video, please give it a thumbs up and check out my
signature course “Back To The Basics”. The link is below. It contains tons of video lessons
that are only available in the course, not on YouTube. So, if you want to dive
deep, that would be perfect for you. Also, you can join my free Facebook group. I would love to
continue the conversation there. Have a most wonderful day, I’ll see you soon,
and always keep on singing. Bye! (music) (music)

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