TENSION - The high note Killer.
The ultimate battle of tension for a singer.
I feel like I spend at least half of each vocal coaching session tackling the client/student’s tension of the day.
FYI: You cannot successfully sing high with tension! YOU WILL MOST LIKELY STRAIN.
It’s not surprising that in this day and age, tension AKA STRESS is beginning to manifest itself withiin our bodies. I find for most people, including myself, carrying tension in our shoulders, neck and base of head drastically affects the way we can sing.
We are literally carrying so much tension that we choke out our notes!
For those that haven't had a one-on-one vocal coaching sessions with me:
I wanted to give you a few quick tips to help release the tension in your body so that you can better facilitate healthy and easy singing.
MY TOP 10
Start with breathing exercises. This in particular can come in many forms but activating and utilizing the diaphragm is key to relaxing the upper part of your torso. You are anchoring your focus by breathing deep from the diaphragm and relaxing everything upwards.
Relax the face. If you have to contort any part of the face to hit a note then YOU HAVE TENSION.
RELAX THE UPPER LIP. If you can’t buzz, you have too much tension.
DROP THE JAW. Place your fingers behind your ears and drop the jaw. If you can feel the ‘hole’ you are dropping it enough! Alternatively use a wine cork vertically to see if your jaw is dropped enough. Look in the mirror to see if you’re really dropping your jaw as much as you think you are!
TUCK THE CHIN. This will automatically disable your ability to have tension in your jaw which is a high note KILLER.
Posture. Check your posture. Feet shoulder width a part. No locked knees. Bring your power from the floor and even try bouncing on the balls of your feet to establish more power while singing.
Stop and roll your shoulders. Don’t be afraid to reset your posture, placement, etc when warming up. Be mindful that releasing tension isn’t a one time thing but having tension can become a terrible habit to break!
Where are your arms and hands? They should be relaxed by your side unless you are using them in a performance or cue manner.
Put your tension in your legs. This sounds kind of funny but I have found that when I'm really tense or nervous, I put that energy into my larger muscle group. It grounds me and turns that energy into positive energy instead of making my voice shake. Give it a try!
Don't overthink pitch or 'hitting the high note.' Instead, focus your energy on your placement. Are you in the mask? Is the tone lifted? Is the back of the throat open? Is your jaw dropped? Are you in your throat?
Everyone always wants to increase their range and hit the high notes but the most important vocal skill to have is even placement and you can't have that with tension. Think of the voice as one - not separate registers - but one voice working in a fluid motion.
Let me know in the comment section if you have any questions!
See you soon + stay warm! Cx