By Jeannie Deva
In Part 1 we began discussing vocal range expansion from the perspective of some basics such as how the voice works and breathing versus singing. If you don’t know such fundamentals, you may try to expand your range by doing things that are counter-productive. The single condition that hinders vocal range the most is throat muscle tension. Let’s take a look at the causes of tension and the remedies.
Five Primary Causes of Throat Muscle Tension
Lack of adequate vocal warm-up
Over articulation (emphasizing mouth, lip movements when singing or talking)
Using force rather than resonance for volume
Trying to compensate for under-developed vocal muscles
1. Lack of Adequate Vocal Warm-Up
To understand why vocal warm-up is important, let's take a look at certain realities of muscles. The more active your muscles are, the more blood flow they need to supply oxygen and nutrients. As well, the muscle tissues need to be elastic which depends in part on their having a certain fluid content. In other words, they need to be hydrated.
If you were an athlete or dancer and attempted your workout or performance without preparing your muscles, you would overexert your body and suffer the consequences. Gentle stretching of the muscles increases the fluid, blood and oxygen into the muscles. Once stretched, the muscles are awake and ready to "deliver the goods" without stress or tension.
Just as an athlete would not expect to perform without a warm-up, neither should you. It is so much easier to sing after a correct warm-up. If you've never experienced this, you'll be surprised once you try it. As well, tonal qualities and range automatically improve just by limbering the vocal muscles with a correct warm-up.
The reason: Your muscles are limber and better able to do what they're designed to do naturally. Of course, it is helpful to know what to do. Singing songs does not properly warm-up your voice!
You need a program of correct warm-ups and you'll find it helpful to be coached through my Deva Method Vocal Warm-Ups.