Ep. 102 “Singing With An Open Throat” – Voice Lessons To The World


Hey singers, I think today’s episode is
going to be a real eye-opener, or at least a real throat opener, because today
we’re exploring the classic vocal topic singing with an open throat. ♬ Hi singers! I’m Justin Stoney the founder
of New York Vocal Coaching here in New York City. Welcome to episode 102 of
Voice Lessons To The World. Today’s question comes from
Rodrigo F. in Formosa, Argentina. Rodrigo writes, “Dear Justin, my
voice teacher says I must keep an open throat when I sing, but what does that even mean?” That’s glorious question Rodrigo. And I can see why you’re confused. Singing with an “open throat”
is one of those vague vocal buzzwords that often plague singers,
sort of like bringing the sound “forward” like we saw in episode 91. “Now that’s a forward!” Or, “singing from the diaphragm”,
we looked at that in episode 83. ♬ So I don’t want you to be
confused by yet another one. The issue with concepts like these
is that they mean different things to so many people. What do you mean I should
sing with an open throat? Should I lower my larynx? What about my mouth? Would
you like me to open it wider? How about the tongue? Tall? Retracted?
Flat? How can one be sure? Seems to me that the pharyngeal
constrictors deserve a thought. And don’t get me started on the soft palate, that’s like opening Pandora’s box and finding it’s not a box at all,
but a giant can of worms and each worm disagrees
about vocal pedagogy. And that’s really the problem. It’s tough to pinpoint
exactly what to do. But that’s our task today. We’re going to look at all the
specific ways that you can sing with an open throat. Quick question first though, what’s a throat? [Frog and cricket sounds] I know it sounds like an easy one, but
did you ever really stop to think about it? The throat is the space at
the back of your mouth. It includes your pharynx, larynx,
soft palate, epiglottis, and vocal folds. You know, all the stuff
that makes singing work. But does it really need to
be open all the time? To answer that,
let’s go to the lab! ♬ I think the primary thing that vocal
people mean when they ask singers to open the throat is to lower the larynx. ♬ Lowering the larynx literally
opens the throat. Like, it actually increases the
size of the resonance tube. So should we lower the larynx in
order to sing with an open throat? Well, yes and no. Lower larynxes accommodate volume
and projecting the voice, rather well. This is why classical instructors
might suggest lowering the larynx. Contemporary singers though, sing
with neutral larynxes and high larynxes depending on the genre. So we certainly don’t want too deep of a
larynx if we’re singing a more modern style. But, regardless of style, lowering
the larynx is probably the most important element in
singing with an open throat. The larynx loves to fancy
itself a pitch changer. It likes to raise up for high notes
and drop down for low notes. We need to develop a downward sensation
with the larynx as pitches go up. This skill flat out helps us to
sing better in any musical style. But what do we
do with the jaw? ♬ Opening the jaw doesn’t
necessarily open the throat. However, a loose jaw helps the larynx
to remain free. A vast variety of vocal varmints like the
geniohyoids, mylohyoids, and digastrics- Whoa.
[Hits piano] -think that they can
spoil the vocal party. Well guess what fellas,
y’all ain’t invited. We need to find a jaw position that’s
not clenched and not open too big and wide. Something like this. Give it a try. Looks great! When we establish this neutral
jaw position we maximize our chances for open throat singing. Next, let’s check out
the soft palate. ♬ The soft palate is the soft spot at the
back of the top of your mouth. It raises whenever you say any of your
vowels. AH, EE, OO, try it! Well done. So you don’t really have to
stress about raising it. The real consideration actually,
is when do I drop it? We drop it anytime we recruit
a little bit of nasal resonance. This helps open the throat by taking
the pressure off of the vocal folds. Nasal resonance adds an element of
freedom and flexibility to our sound. Now, we never want to over do it. But, all styles of music can really benefit
from a little splash of nasal resonance. If you listen closely, you’ll hear it
used by contemporary singers but also many classical
singers as well. He who has ears let him hear. Next, let’s examine the tongue. ♬ The tongue is really the innocent
bystander in all this because what happens is singers like you, Rodrigo,
have been told to open their throats. And they’ve tried dropping their larynx as
far down as it will go and lifting their soft palate as high as it will raise but
if it’s still not working the poor tongue is the only thing left so the
tongue starts to pull back and retract and interfere with everything. But it’s important, really important,
that you don’t let this happen. For your vocal best, your tongue
should stay as relaxed as possible. Ideally like the NG sound that
we explored in our last episode. NG, the king. ♬ Finally, let’s visit the vocal
folds themselves. ♬ Last but certainly not least,
the vocal folds. Never forget that these two little
17 millimeter miracle workers have a mind of their own. That’s right they can decide to be
too tight, too loose, or just right. If your singing is getting tight
or raspy or vocal fry-ey, then make sure you’re not over
compressing in there. To sing with an open throat
it’s vital that those vocal folds are as good at letting go
as they are hanging on. So make sure that your
singing isn’t all super solid. Falsetto, head voice, head
dominant mix, and breathy tones need to be as easy for you to
access as your strong sounds. Alright, alright, alright, that’s
enough technique talk here in the lab. I think it’s time to
look at a song. ♬ Today I’m going to explore a song
that I think models all five of our singing with an open throat ideas. The song kind of blends elements
of pop, opera, musical theatre, and rock. So it’s a perfect way to put myself
to the test with Anthem from Chess. Okay J, remember don’t raise
the larynx for high notes, release the jaw, add a smidge of
nasal resonance, loosen the tongue, and keep the vocal
folds free and breezy. Alright, got it.
Let’s do this thang. ♬ ♪ How could I leave her? ♪ ♪ Where would I start? ♪ ♪ Let man’s petty nations
tear themselves apart ♪ ♪ My land’s only borders lie around ♪ ♪ My heart ♪ ♬ Well alrighty then, singing with
an open throat feels pretty swell. And now that I’ve challenged
myself it’s time for your challenge. With this week’s
Voice Lessons To The World challenge. ♬ Your challenge this week is to try out
all five of these open throat concepts. You can do it on an
exercise as simple as AH. ♪ AH – AH – AH – AH – AH ♪ Go through them one by one. Lowering the larynx. ♪ AH – AH – AH – AH ♪
Whoops! ♪ AH – AH – AH – AH – AH ♪ Releasing the jaw. ♪ AH – AH – AH – AH ♪
Uh, uh… ♪ AH – AH – AH – AH – AH ♪ Experimenting with nasal resonance. ♪ AH – AH – AH – AH – AH ♪ ♪ AH – AH – AH – AH – AH ♪ ♪ AH – AH – AH – AH – AH ♪ Loosening the tongue. ♪ AH – AH ♪
Oh! Bleh. ♪ AH – AH – AH – AH – AH ♪ Decompressing
the vocal folds. ♪ AH – AH ♪
Oh. Uh, uh. ♪ AH – AH – AH – AH – AH ♪ Try them one by one
and see how you do. Find the ones that your
voice is most challenged by and spend extra
time on those. All of us here at NYVC
would love to know how you’re doing with
your challenge. You can send us updates on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, all the usual suspects. And you can send your questions
for future episodes to [email protected] Here’s some more things that I hope
help you stay open to your vocal best. For voice lessons or Skype
lessons with the NYVC staff visit us at
NewYorkVocalCoaching.com. If you’d like a vocal course that you
can do at home check out the Voice Lessons To The World Vocal Course. This twelve part program takes you
on a singing journey from beginner to master level vocal exercises. You can find it at
VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com. Or, if you’d like free vocal
tips sent to you each day sign up at
DailyVocalTips.com. And now, here’s Justin with
this week’s vocal benediction. The world of vocal pedagogy
has long been eager to open our throats but I think it’s much more important
that we open our minds. Your voice is unlimited and you are unlimited
and you’re deeply loved. Let your love and your singing open you to living with more passion than ever. And, make a joyful noise. ♬

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Another amazing episode full of great information for vocalists! Justin's exploration of various singing techniques and concepts through example songs is priceless. Him doing 'The House of the Rising Sun' as an example song on some previous episode motivated me to finally pick up this gem by The Animals and start experimenting more with the blues vocal styles and techniques. When I started working on that song, I realized that it fits me like a glove and that my voice also fits the blues style – and this blew me away. Thank you so SO much, Justin. xx 🙂

  2. I just wonder what leo di Caprio is doing teaching Singing Lessons?
    Anyway, Your are the best I could found on the internet, keep going Sir Love your content

  3. I love using all the vocal techniques you tought me Justin! Look forward to training with you again in the near future.

  4. That "do it wrong > back up > do it right" bit is really excellent.

    Single best free online vocal guidance & teaching I've ever heard, by a long shot.

  5. I love this teacher and the channel. Smart, straight to the point, clear explanation and solution. Greatjob, thank you for all these precious infomation and teaching!

  6. OMG !!!I love your work and VIDs SOSOSOSOSO much!!!!I want and will learn from you guys!!!! Everything in here is so sweet cause we know we love to SING !!Love from China Beijing

  7. an Open troath, isnt like a Operatic Singin, or Adjustment Of Wide Mouth to Med High Max, A vowel of Ahh Ouhh ,Woohhahh, its Very Triky that Other Singers Are Gifted to their Wide High Range Voice , and some Flexible to Mouth Troath Amplification , What Abouth singin on Mozart Music Magic Flute a Troath Sound, and Cladsical Sound

  8. hi I have a song on youtube  call I am tired of the same thing I wont to know if I am singing from my diaphragm and is my breathing ok

  9. Can you give a voice technique singing the song Loving You sung by Minnie Riperton singing the part that goes really high?

  10. I'm a big fan and have lost your email! Lol! But I want to know a good way to lower pitch or transition to lower notes without losing the note!

  11. Please don't give up making like this videos you really helped us
    You're more than vocal coach
    You're psy doctor, because you make me stick and believe i can really sing and I don't lost my chance to be a great singer in the future.
    Thanks Justin for encouraging us ♥️
    "If you Belivet you can do it "

  12. man I love this channel so much! this is my most helpful and fun-to-watch channel… Keep on your great job guys! (sorry if my English is Bad) :))

  13. in another videos you said to compress the vocal folds to doing mix voice, does it mean the throat not on fully open or ? in my alternative conclusion maybe you were talking about to balancing vocal compression. not loose and not tight.

    Please correct me Justin. Thanks

  14. I sing with my head voice because I feel it is the closest to my speaking tone and I feel more comfortable and flexible, is there anything wrong with that or I should rather use my deeper(throat/body) tone more?

  15. quite a good and funny explanation of it ! Could you perhaps give more details about "keep your vocal folds free and breezy " ?

  16. What you are doing is super helpful and very kind of you! We can't thank you enough for these videos and your effort to make them.

  17. JUSTIN WENT BLONDE Y'ALL JUSTIN WENT BLONDE! HE SERIOUSLY LOOKS MORE AND MORE LIKE LEONARDO DICAPRIO TT

  18. I'm deeply grateful for your message, for your energy, for your face, passion and knowledge. I'm singing just as great and free as Prince 😀 Thanks a lot. God bless you ! <3

  19. This is very helpful. I have a question (not related to your video though): would you classify yourself as a lyric tenor? Light lyric or full lyric?

  20. Great advice again . Teaching based on knowledge. I don’t know where Justin gets this knowledge at such a young age .

  21. Honestly, just from singing correctly for around 7 or 8 months, I've learned I can sing with an open throat naturally with all the other ins and outs of the different aspects you talked about. I don't know what it is, but after singing for a short time I realized these things you demonstrated you could mess up on I would have to mess up with on purpose.

  22. Another thing: what voice type am I? I have to range of an A2-Ab4 at guarantee through the whole day, Ab/G2 obtainable only in the morning, a comfort range of C3-Eb4, and a timbre that sounds either lyric or tenor-like.

  23. I have a medical condition where my larynx is naturally much lower then what the normal is

    My dad is like that too

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