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Is body tension what's causing your singing woes?


One of the biggest issues new and even experienced singers can face is tension. Places we can hold tension that can affect our singing are, the jaw, neck, shoulders, back and stomach. If you are feeling tension in any of these areas when you sing, it can affect your sound. It is important to focus on relaxation and releasing the tension in order to improve your singing.


What does jaw tension look like?



Jaw tension can be felt by singers, especially when singing higher notes. It can manifest as a tightness in the jaw, or even a feeling of clenching. You may also notice that your jaw is slightly open when you sing, which can cause strain on the muscles in your face and neck. To release jaw tension, try gently massaging the area around your jaw and stretching your mouth open wide to relax the muscles. Another way to relieve tension is to try and wriggle your jaw so that it is loose.


What does jaw tension do to the voice?


Jaw tension can cause a number of issues with the voice. It can cause the vocal cords to become strained, resulting in a thin or breathy sound. It can also lead to fatigue and strain on the muscles in the face and neck, which can lead to pain or discomfort. Additionally, jaw tension can make it difficult to produce clear and consistent notes.


What does neck tension look like?



Neck tension for singers will manifest as a feeling of tightness in the neck and shoulders. You may also notice that your head is slightly tilted back, which can cause strain on the muscles in your neck. To release neck tension, try gently massaging the area around your neck and shoulders and stretching your head forward to relax the muscles. Another way to relieve tension is to try and roll your head from side to side so that it is loose.


What does neck tension do to the voice?


Neck tension can cause strain on the vocal cords, which can lead to a strained or hoarse sound. It can also make it difficult to reach higher notes, as the tension in the neck restricts the range of motion of the vocal cords. To prevent neck tension from affecting your singing, it is important to practice good posture and relaxation techniques while singing.


What does tension in the shoulders look like?



Tension in the shoulders for singers will manifest as a feeling of tightness in the muscles around the shoulder blades. You may also notice that your shoulders are slightly hunched up, which can cause strain on the muscles in your neck and shoulders. To release tension in the shoulders, try gently massaging the area around your neck and shoulders and stretching your arms out to relax the muscles. Another way to relieve tension is to try and roll your shoulders back and forth so that they are loose.


What does shoulder tension do to the voice?


Shoulder tension can cause strain on the vocal cords, which can lead to a strained or hoarse sound. It can also make it difficult to reach higher notes, as the tension in the shoulders restricts the range of motion of the vocal cords. To prevent shoulder tension from affecting your singing, it is important to practice good posture and relaxation techniques while singing.


What does back tension look like?




For singers, back tension manifests as a feeling of tightness in the muscles around the spine. You may also notice that your back is slightly hunched, which can cause strain on the muscles in your back and neck. To release tension in the back, try gently massaging the area around your spine and stretching your arms out to relax the muscles. Another way to relieve tension is to try and roll your shoulders back and forth so that they are loose.


What does back tension do to the voice?



Back tension can cause strain on the vocal cords, resulting in a strained or hoarse sound. It can also make it difficult to reach higher notes, as the tension in the back restricts the range of motion of the vocal cords. To prevent back tension from affecting your singing, it is important to practice good posture and relaxation techniques while singing.


What does stomach tension look like?



For singers stomach tension manifests as a feeling of tightness in the abdominal muscles. You may also notice that your stomach is slightly pulled in, which can cause strain on the muscles in your abdomen and chest. To release tension in the stomach, try gently massaging the area around your abdomen and breathing deeply to relax the muscles. Another way to relieve tension is to try and roll your hips back and forth so that they are loose.


What does stomach tension do to the voice?


Stomach tension can cause strain on the vocal cords, resulting in a strained or hoarse sound. It can also make it difficult to reach higher notes, as the tension in the stomach restricts the range of motion of the vocal cords. To prevent stomach tension from affecting your singing, it is important to practice good posture and relaxation techniques while singing.


Here's a nice tip, increase the tension to relieve the tension!


Could it be possible that tension can be the key to finding relaxation? Absolutely! A great technique to get rid of tension is to tense a group of muscles for 10 seconds and then release it. Doing this can allow muscles to relax in an intensified way. Take a moment to do this with your feet and legs, then your abdomen, then your arms and shoulders, and finally with your neck and head. Do you feel any difference? Looser? Are you more aware of muscle relaxation? It is important to have the right amount of muscle tension for good body alignment. Nonetheless, too much muscular tension can get in the way of great vocal production. So, use the tension to your advantage and discover newfound vocal freedom!


It is essential to get a knowledgeable vocal instructor to aid you with any tension issues. If you have the possibility, it would be best to get in-person tutoring to address this matter. If you are in Ireland, feel free to reach out to me and book a private lesson. I'm based in Galway and would be more than thrilled to collaborate with you!

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