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Open Throat Causing Me More Tension?

Hi all,

I'm brand new to this forum, but I've had the KTVA material for a long time. That said, I'm really just now getting into learning about the technique.

I notice that the open throat technique, especially keeping my tongue pushed as low as I can, creates more tension on my chords as I go up the scale. I know the vowel modifications are supposed to help alleviate that tension, but I notice more strain and fatigue in my voice after warming up and singing with that technique.

I have noticed that I have strengthened my mid and upper range, but this tension has been unexpected because when I sing in the higher registers without the technique I don't get the same fatigue.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thank you!

Comments

  • huberthubert Posts: 125Pro
    edited March 2016
    I think you're misunderstanding the open throat technique concept. 'Open throat' means no tensions around the vocal cords and in the neck so the vocal cords can stretch and vibrate freely without any constrictions which inhibits range, power and tone. It does not mean pushed down tongue (which creates tension) but tongue position that does not add any tension to your singing. Pulled back tongue or very tense (in the back of the throat) tongue creates a lot of tension - Ken teaches us to keep the tongue down - keep it down (so it lays free and does nothing except creating the vowel sound) but do not press it down with force (it locks the larynx down). If you teach yourself to control the tongue (shape) and jaw movement separately it will unlock your voice (when combined well along with the other teachings in the course).
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,464Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    Nice explanation, @hubert!

    Bob
  • PantheraOncaPantheraOnca Posts: 2Member
    hubert said:

    I think you're misunderstanding the open throat technique concept. 'Open throat' means no tensions around the vocal cords and in the neck so the vocal cords can stretch and vibrate freely without any constrictions which inhibits range, power and tone. It does not mean pushed down tongue (which creates tension) but tongue position that does not add any tension to your singing. Pulled back tongue or very tense (in the back of the throat) tongue creates a lot of tension - Ken teaches us to keep the tongue down - keep it down (so it lays free and does nothing except creating the vowel sound) but do not press it down with force (it locks the larynx down). If you teach yourself to control the tongue (shape) and jaw movement separately it will unlock your voice (when combined well along with the other teachings in the course).

    Thank you! This makes a lot of sense. It was definitely feeling like my larynx was locked in a lower position. I do feel like some of the vowel modifications encourage me to lock down my tongue as I was ascending the scales, so I'll bring a lot of awareness to that tendency in my throat and work on releasing tension. I notice Ken doesn't talk much about larynx position or placement of the voice in Vol. 1. I am hoping he does more of that in Vol. 2 and 3. Very helpful information. Thanks again!
  • huberthubert Posts: 125Pro
    I'm just trying to help :smile:
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,464Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    @PantheraOnca,

    Think of your goal with your tongue positioning and your vowel modifications as being more towards relaxation of the throat and tongue.

    You may be feeling tensions, but those are really not the correct responses. Relaxation is the correct response. Look for the lowered tongue to become more relaxed and normal for you. Look for the open throat to be a relaxed "home position" that feels more natural.

    If those do not feel natural to you at this time, then it is most likely that either you are
    1. Overdoing it to the point of creating tension, or
    2. You are so used to singing in the past with a high tongue blocking your vocal tract and not maintaining an open throat when singing, and not knowing to modify your vowels as your pitch increases.

    Know that these are relaxation techniques. If you fight them, it will be hard to relax. Trust the techniques. They work. Relax.

    We sometimes fight things that are new or foreign to us. I know, I fought the mods, too. When you really learn to use them, then you realize that you relax into them. You relax into opening up the throat.

    You're getting the tongue out of the way so the tone can get out, and being relaxed as you do that. You're creating resonant pockets in your vocal tract that help to make the higher notes less work. That, too, is relaxing, once you learn to trust in that fact.

    It's not the Open Throat that is the source of the tension. Don't overdo it to the point of inducing tension in yourself. Relax into it. Find a balance that works for you without the tension. Do keep your tongue down to the extent possible, and do keep your throat open to the extent possible, without becoming overly tense. Singing is not without ANY tension. We do have to learn to Manage our tension.

    All the Best!

    Bob
  • EnglishTea123EnglishTea123 Posts: 76Enrolled
    @hubert

    What I got from your post was that we are not forcing the tongue to stay in position, but, rather, we find a way to keep it down and in place, right? I was doing the scales today and found out that if I sing in certain way, my tongue literally just stays in place naturally, resting against the front bottom teeth. Do I have the proper understanding of your post? I mean, not that I ever thought that Ken asked us to jam the tongue down. No. But it got me confused when Ken said that we have to force the larynx to stay low in one of the new videos on YouTube, the one about froggy tone.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,464Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    @EnglishTea123,

    We are better off "allowing" our tongue to relax in the proper place, rather than "forcing" it. Forcing implies tension. Allowing implies relaxation. We can "help" it with a tongue depressor (flat stick) if we need to. Even a spoon can help us to "locate" the tongue in the right place. An unruly tongue can be "guided" without forcing. Sometimes the tongue is so contrary as to just need a little guidance to get it on the straight and narrow path. Next thing you know, it behaves properly, without being scolded.

    Bob
  • EnglishTea123EnglishTea123 Posts: 76Enrolled
    @highmtn

    Thank you, Bob, as always. I will try using a tongue depressor.
  • timliu92timliu92 Posts: 65Member
    edited April 2016
    I think you are overdoing your 'open throat' to the point that it creates tension around your jaw and neck area. I know because there was a time when I completely misunderstood this open throat concept too.

    It should be done just enough in such a way that the vocal cords feel 'elastic' (for a lack of better word) and can stretch freely without having to resort to unnecessary tension (note the key word is 'unnecessary' - there has to be some healthy tension in singing to maintain that core strength in the sound). Bob explains it best. :)
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,464Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    edited April 2016
    Yes. Once we open our throat or jaw to the point of Creating tension, we have gone too far with it. The whole point is to create a nice, relaxed, open space with as little tension as possible. Zero tension is not possible. Excessive tension is undesirable. We properly manage the tension that does exist, and keep it to a minimum.
  • twelvedesigntwelvedesign Posts: 239Pro, 2.0 PRO
    I noticed that it is very easy to overdo it. RELAXED is really the key. It has to be very open, but it should not be forced. I also had a habit of pushing down on larynx with my tongue. Becoming aware of it and trying to relax the tongue really helps. It will lay low just as needed if it is relaxed enough, but it does take time to train it.
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