Is It Really Beneficial For Us to Open Our Mouth Bigger When We Sing?

Featured, Vocals

“it’s not like how some people put it – ‘Open your mouth bigger to get a larger sound!”

I’ve come across students who tell me that their previous vocal coach told them to ‘open their mouth bigger’ when they sing, so that their voice would be louder, or so that they can be heard with more ‘resonance’.

Personally, I believe this simplifies too many things when it comes to vocal training. If it were that easy for us to make our voice more projected, or make our voice ‘bigger’, then all of us would be singing with mouths wide open! However, it really is more complicated than that, and a lot of vocal coaches are not ready to work with students on these issues, or just opt for the simple and easy-to-understand solution.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t think some singing students should open their mouth when they sing. There are certainly a lot of people who keep their mouths a bit tighter and more closed than they should be, and opening up their mouth will certainly allow them to let more sound out when they sing.

However, because I have some students with jaw tension, I have to be extremely careful when asking them to open their mouth, because they have trouble doing so. Forcing them to open their mouths bigger may result in them using too much force to do so, and cause them to be very tense in their jaw and also in the back of their tongue, and possibly even constrict when they sing.

Also, some students would not benefit from a bigger mouth space when they sing. For example, if a student always sang in a nasalized vocal tone, even if they opened their mouth to the maximum, they would also get less change than expected, because most of their sound is heading upwards into their nasal cavity. It would then be much more effective to practise with them more on making ‘oral’ sounds, so that they know how to allow their voice to come through their mouth space in the first place.

If we are going to ask students to open their mouth more when they sing, we have to first get them to make more of an ‘oral’ sound in order for it to have maximum effect. Also, the opening of the mouth has to be done gently and tension-free, in order for the students to not constrict their false vocal folds, or experience strain in their jaw or their back tongue.

Most of the time, I tell students to at least open their mouth enough so that one finger can enter. Gradually, they learn to increase this space if needed, and adjust the size of their oral cavity as required.

All in all, it’s not like how some people put it – ‘Open your mouth bigger to get a larger sound!’. There are many more factors involved, and we have to equip ourselves with more knowledge in order to make educated adjustments to our voice!

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Thank you for your kind attention, and have a great day ahead!

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