I was feeling inspired to write this post after a client of mine came up with a great way of holding out her tongue whilst doing a reducing tongue tension exercise a few weeks back. On the above photo, she’s using a silicone oven glove! Genius! Right? Well, it definitely beats using tissue that falls apart on the tongue!
A BIT ABOUT THE TONGUE
The tongue plays a very important role when it comes to articulation of all kinds of sounds so having a relaxed tongue that moves quickly and efficiently whilst vocalising, is what we need.
The tongue is considered to be one of the strongest muscle in the body, in relation to its size!
You can get an idea on just how strong the tongue is if you pin your pinkie finger to the roof of your mouth with your tongue and then let your pinkie finger fight back down against your tongue (it’s a tongue verses pinkie war! Haha!) My pinkie loses every time!
HOW IT AFFECTS THE VOICE
The tongue via the hyoid bone is connected to the Larynx (our sound maker), any tension in the tongue is going to limit movement in the larynx and cause constriction when singing Which is what we definitely don’t want! Right?!
Tongue tension can directly affect the tonal quality of our voices, our ability to sing high notes and our ability to accurately pitch.
SPOT POTENTIAL SIGNS
Here’s a few tips for helping you to spot potential signs of tongue tension
If you have muffled and/or dark sound to your voice
If vocalising feels more effortful
If you have the tendency to sing flat
If you’re experiencing a loss of vocal range
If you’re having some difficulty with articulating.
With anything voice related, if something doesn’t feel right, get it checked out.
If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, get booked in with a good vocal coach/voice teacher who can help diagnose tongue tension and help you work through it.
But for now, I have a few little exercises for helping to reduce tongue tension.
EXERCISES TO HELP
The first exercise is…The Tongue Push Outs! We’re gonna give that tongue a good stretching!
Keep the tip of your tongue behind the back of your bottom front row teeth, stick out the middle of the tongue, aiming to form a U shape outside of the mouth. Stretch the middle of your tongue out as much as possible.
The second exercise is…Brushing your teeth with your tongue. This one is all about giving the tongue another good stretch!
With this one, circle your tongue around your gums like your trying to get peanut butter from your gums. If ya don’t like peanut butter, think about chocolate, if you don’t like chocolate, then…just think about something that you do like! J
Go 5 times in both directions with this exercise.
The third exercise is…TI-KA-TI-KA, we’re gonna get the tongue moving with this one!
You are simply just saying TI-KA-TI-KA. This one will articulate the tongue towards the front of the mouth with the T and then towards the back of the mouth with the K. Ensure that your diction remains clear throughout. Also try it low on a 3-tone scale but keep it within chest voice territory.
The fourth and last exercise is...GLAY-GLA-GLAY-GLA again we are encouraging some good tongue movement as well as stimulating flexibility with this one!
You are simply saying GLAY-GLA-GLAY-GLA. Ensure that your diction remains clear throughout and that your jaw stays loose. Try speeding it up as well as trying it on a 3 tone-scale, keeping it generally low.
WRAPPING IT UP!
There are so many exercises for helping to reduce tongue tension but these are just a few to get you started so give them a try!
If you need help with tongue tension and wanna book a cheeky vocal session with me, you can book online via my website below. Sessions are available online and in person.