So many singers I work with have tongue root tension. There are so many reasons but this can be very ingrained.
I remember when I was told that I had tongue root tension and that it would take 18 months to get rid of it. I was pretty despondent. But I did this exercise (pretty much) every day until things got better. It took about 3 months. I don’t really have it any more. Of course when I’m tense I can have tension anywhere. I’m a high energy/high tension type of person but my tongue root is something I check on but not something I worry about.
I spend so much time recording individual recordings of this exercise for singers I’m working with. I give this out to about half of them. So I’ve recorded a video.
I did the video in the middle of a stinking lurghy so at points I cough and I mess up on the keys even more than usual, but I hope that it’s useful. I’ve done one for people with tongue root tension in their lower range and one for those with it in their higher range. You will probably know which you have but I’ll detail easy way to know if you have it below….
Help Video – Lower Range
Tension Help Video – Higher Range
How To Know If You Have Tongue Root Tension
Ideally you have singing lessons with a teacher who knows about these things and how to check.
However if you’re wanting to explore this on your own there are two ways you can tell.
Hold Your Tongue
If you have tongue root tension you can tell because your tongue “pulls back” in that area. Take hold of your tongue, using something to hold it (kitchen roll, a piece of cloth), notice how your tongue is when you breathe and don’t do anything else. Then sing your songs to “uh” as in “the” and notice if your tongue pulls back into your mouth on any particular notes or areas of your range.
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