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Try This Articulation Exercise

Matthew Edwards shows us exercises to release tongue tension and improve the clarity of our vowels and consonants.

Matthew Edwards is a forefront pop and rock voice researcher who has helped his students gain careers in theater and on film. He has even written a book called ‘So You Wanna Sing Rock ‘n’ Roll?’

You need a standard wine cork. Cut a slice of it off, then cut that in half. Then put these cork slices between either side of your teeth, between your back molars and your canines.

By doing this you are only going to be able to form your consonants and vowels using your tongue and your lips – no jaw movements!

Oftentimes people over use their jaws in articulation which creates tension and makes you sound muddy and unclear

Oftentimes people overuse their jaws in articulation which creates tension and makes you sound muddy and unclear.

Some genres don’t require crystal clear pronunciation, so this exercise may not be for you.

Although, if you perform faster songs or even rap, you want to make sure the words can get out of your mouth quickly and accurately and lock them into the rhythm of the song.

With the corks in place, sing through the basic vowels ‘Ah’ ‘Eh’ ‘Ee’ ‘Oh’ ‘Ooh’ on the same pitch. Then sing these vowels on a simple 1-2-3-2-1 pattern. You can then play around with more complicated patterns.

Finally, you are going to sing tongue twisters with the corks between your teeth.

Deedle Daddle Deedle Daddle Do

Kittle Kattle Kittle Kattle Ko

Huckleberry Struckleperry Po

The point of putting these corks between your teeth is so you pay more attention to your tongue and lips than you normally would in your speech and singing.

It may be a few weeks before you notice any big changes, but you will slowly gain better control over your articulators.

As with all vocal exercises, stop if you feel pain and seek guidance from a knowledgeable vocal coach.

My Reaction to This Week's Singing Competition Entry

Faith Gatewood Faith Gatewood - Love Me Like You Do

Hi Faith. This is a great song for your group. Instrumentally it is clean and your voice mixes well with the instruments. I like that you are working that microphone, just be careful not to pull it away at ends of phrases while you are still holding a note. Check your harmonies with your partner and try to find complimentary vowel qualities. If he is singing darker vowels while you sing brighter ones, it can affect the accuracy of the harmonies. Great hearing you. ~ Matt

Why I chose Faith Gatewood as a Finalist

The VoiceCouncil Team has chosen Faith to go further in the competition because of the rich and powerful quality in her voice.


Matthew Edwards, author of ‘So You Wanna Sing Rock ‘n’ Roll?’, has a B.M. in Vocal Performance and an M.M. in Vocal Performance. His work has been published in the Journal of Voice and the Journal of Singing, and he has presented at the NATS National Conference, the Voice Foundation Annual Symposium and the National Centre for Voice and Speech. His students have performed on Broadway, national TV, major motion picture soundtracks, and have appeared on the Billboard music charts. See more about Matthew on his website.