VoiceCouncil will no longer be updated. Articles will still be available for some time.

Take Our 5 Singing Technique Tests

  • These common tests are used by vocal teachers all over the world. They do not cover every aspect of singing technique but they do put a few critical areas to the test. Try them now.

  • 1. Sing open vowels like “ah” with your nose plugged.

    Now, the trick is to make your tone sound totally ‘normal’ – if it doesn’t, you are singing through your nose.

  • 2. Cradle your face in your hands

    And, while singing some open vowels, pull down on your jaw so it opens more than it usually does. Be amazed by how much freer your voice sounds with a more open mouth.

  • 3. Sing on a lip trill

    This is where you let your lips flap together as in saying ’brrrr’ on a cold day. If you do scales on this exercise, not only will you sound like a total nerd, but you’ll also find that you can sing to the top of your range with more freedom in your throat.

  • 4. Press your thumb up into the flesh behind the bone of your chin while singing.

    If it feels soft and supple, you’ll know your tongue is tension-free. The back of your tongue is practically attached to your larynx (voice box) so if it’s firm and tense, your poor voice has to work way harder to do it’s thing.

  • 5. Make singing sounds through a straw

    (and you’re not allowed to let any air go through your nose). The thinner the straw, the more aware you’ll be of how little air you use when singing. You’ll also enjoy a more focused, resonant sound.

Use these five tests to remind yourself that you can have a beautiful tone without excess air, throat and tongue tension.

Kathy Alexander is a writer, singer, vocal coach and choir director. She has appeared in Vision TV’s Let’s Sing Again, The Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra and the Victoria International Jazz Festival (main stage). You can see more of Kathy’s work here.

  • The sixth test is to actually sing and enjoy doing it.

  • Luke Pchr

    …but how do you sing NOT through the nose?

  • Kathy

    A singing teacher can tell you specifically what you may be doing that is causing your sound to be too nasal. Most often, you can keep your sound out of your nose by creating more space in the back of your mouth. The best way to do this is through relaxing the jaw and tongue and allowing the soft palate to lift. What is the soft palate? The back of your tongue touches it when you say “ng.” It vibrates when you snore with an open mouth. Instead of trying to actually control your soft palate, try lifting your whole face into an inspired expression like you just saw something beautiful. This may be enough to lift your soft palate.

  • Kathy

    Right on! When your singing is connected to real, true emotion, great stuff happens technique-wise. Conversely, trying too hard to control parts of our bodies when we sing can sometimes just create tension.

  • samantha05

    How do i change if my tongue is not tension-free when i sing?

  • abigail shiver

    i tots love ur adcive thanks

  • guest1

    this is kind of cool I guess did help, thanks

  • thecoolkid

    cool it helped alloooooooooooot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 😉😉 girl 😘😚😈💖

    It kinda help

  • Kathy Coneys Alexander

    Gently pull your tongue out and down over your bottom lip with your fingers using a clean cloth. Then, while holding your tongue, sing “ah” on a familiar phrase. A tight tongue will want to pull itself back into your mouth when you sing. Relax the tongue so that you can sing “ah” through your entire range without it pulling back into your mouth. It may seem impossible at first, but you can do it. This exercise feels strange, but is a great way to release tongue tension

  • Fubar2

    All I saw of that in a link from another page was “Gently pull your tongue out and down over your bottom..”

    I thought “God, thats asking a lot especially when I’m not equipped in the tongue department like Gene Simmonds….” :-) :-)

  • Kathy Coneys Alexander

    Ha ha ha!

  • USN69

    Ever see a frog sing? The way they puff their throat out? Try it! The more room you make in your mouth, the less nasal you are.

  • USN69

    Just like playing an instrument is awkward when you 1st start, playing the human instrument is too. But it gets better and easier with practice.

  • kotate

    I started using a cpap 4 years ago. Not only did I get better sleep but also my voice control improved. At first I wasn’t able to speak with my nasel cpap was on but was able to after after a while. I feel it helped me with my vocals.