Articles, Blog

How to Relax Throat Muscles (And Sing Without Throat Tension)

October 22, 2019


Do you experience throat tightness when singing
or speaking? No worries, I have you covered. In this video, I am going to share 5 tips
on how to relax throat muscles so that you can sing with ease again! Stay tuned. Hi, I am Katarina from How 2 Improve Singing. For the best advice on how to use your voice
in a healthy way, subscribe to my channel and click the bell icon so that you get notified
when I post a new video every week. Have you ever experienced throat tension? Maybe your throat muscles felt constricted
during or after a vocal practice, performance or speech. Do you know what I am talking about? That feeling of tight throat muscles, vocal
tension or even pain and you have no idea how to release tension from your voice? By the end of this video, you will know exactly
what you need to do to relax muscle tension from your throat and even better, how to avoid
straining your voice. Why? Because tension does not feel good and tension
can lead to vocal damage. So, let’s start. In no particular order of importance:
Tip 1 – Make Mirror Your Best Friend A mirror is a must in your practice room. It will help you uncover unnecessary muscle
movements that are often responsible for a strained throat. The main perpetrators are unnecessary movements
of the neck, jaw and tongue muscles. A mirror can give you immediate visual feedback. For example, when you sing, you can watch
your neck and notice any muscle activity. Some singers engage these superficial neck
muscles when singing, especially these long muscles on the side of our neck, called sternocleidomastoid
muscles. They visibly tense up for example when approaching
a high note or when inhaling large amounts of air. The primary function of these muscles is head
rotation and movement and are absolutely unnecessary for producing a sound. Another example of unnecessary movements is
jaw jutting and sliding. Some singers move their jaws forward in an
attempt to belt or sing notes in high registers. Or jaw clenching or a tight jaw is something
that you can observe in a mirror while singing. So, how to relax throat while singing? Make sure that you have a full-length mirror
in your practice room and you observe yourself while singing. The first step is to become aware of unnecessary
movements. Once you notice them, you can start eliminating
them. Of course, this is easier said than done. So, what you need to do is to take one step
at a time. For example, if you notice jaw sliding, try
a simple breathing exercise and notice if you slide your jaw during this task. If not, move onto a vocal exercise, something
simple like singing scales or arpeggios and again notice if your jaw is sliding during
these vocal tasks. If not, move onto more challenging vocal tasks
like singing in higher registers or louder or singing a phrase of a song and so on. And keep checking for jaw sliding. Tip 2 – Align, align, align
Throat tension can develop as a result of incorrect body and vocal tract alignment. I am sure you’ve experienced the following
scenario. You sit at a computer all day long or use
your smart phone for prolonged periods of time and then, when you try to maintain good
posture, your body is aching and your neck feels stiff and tense. Comment below with PAINFUL if you can relate. I can. So, you give in and you sing with your head
in a forward position and stretched neck. Of course, this will eventually lead to vocal
strain and tension. So, check your posture throughout the day
and maintain a well aligned body. If you already have trouble with body alignment
throughout the day, I would suggest improving your posture with yoga or pilates exercises
or any other physical activities that improve your overall posture and body alignment. If you are not keen on physical exercises,
check out the Alexander technique exercises, especially an exercise called constructive
rest, which is an easy but powerful exercise to improve body alignment and release tension. When we talk about alignment, I also have
to mention the vocal tract alignment and more specifically position of the tongue. Tongue is a frequent offender that causes
throat tension. So, don’t forget to check out my other video
about relaxing the tongue when singing. Tip 3 – Breathe Low
Someone just recently asked me if poor breathing can lead to vocal tension. What a great question! The answer is yes. Inadequate breathing technique can definitely
lead to throat tension. If you know how to breathe efficiently when
singing, you take away pressure from your throat and larynx, whether you sing high,
low, quiet or loud. Your throat contains relatively small muscles. If you use these small muscles in and around
your throat to control air pressures and airflow when singing, you are putting a lot of stress
on these muscles. On the other hand, if the big muscles of your
torso, starting with your pelvic floor muscles, your abdominals, postural muscles and other
torso muscles are engaged to control the breath, you eliminate pressure from the vocal folds
and throat. Especially when you are going for full belty
sounds or more powerful sounds. So, the key to throat relaxation is to inhale
with minimal effort but maximum efficiency. Inhale low and start exhaling from a low place. Connect your breath to your voice. Use your body, not just your throat for singing. Breathing exercises (if done correctly) are
throat relaxation exercises at the same time! If you want to learn effective breathing exercises,
click this link here or below the video. These exercises are sure to relax tight throat
muscles. Tip 4 – It’s in Your Head! Ok. What do I mean by that? I am not suggesting that you are imagining
throat tension. No. On the contrary, if you are felling tension
in your throat, it’s most likely there. When I say that it’s in your head, I mean
that you may be putting too much pressure on yourself. I want to sing like Whitney Huston. I want to have a voice like Rod Stewart! I need to sing these really high notes! Why can I not sing with vibrato? I want to know how to belt! Well, maybe you are not ready to do all these
things. Many singers want to do singing tasks too
early or too fast for their current skills and then, they only get frustrated by not
being able to do them or even worse, they develop tension. So, don’t be one of them. Singing is a journey and rushing your voice
to perform at unrealistic high levels can only lead to tension. Tip 5 – Care for Your Voice
It may sound fundamental but good vocal hygiene and care are essential for a relaxed throat. Evaluate your voice use with a critical eye
and answer questions like: Do I use my voice too much? Am I competing with loud music or environment
and therefore strain my voice? Do I hydrate well? Do I sleep enough? Do I eat well balanced diet? Do I abuse my voice by clearing my throat? Do I take medication that affects the function
of my larynx? Is my voice and body built for this vocal
task? And many more questions that will give you
an insight into how well you care for your voice. If you can pass all of these questions with
a clean bill, then you are on a road to relaxed throat muscles. Bonus tip. If you are already experiencing throat tightness,
you can eliminate it with throat muscle relaxation exercises, such as stretches and massage. Stretches are easy exercises that should be
part of your regular practice routine. Stretch your neck and even your tongue to
release that unwanted tension. Laryngeal massage is a wonderful tool and
many people sing the praises about it. In my next video, I am going to show you exactly
how to self massage your throat. So, don’t forget to subscribe to my channel
so that you don’t miss out on this video. If you click the bell icon, you will be notified
when my next video is up. Now you know how to release throat tension. I gave you 5 tips that you can start applying
right now and make your voice feel better. If you liked them, click the like button and
share this video with your singing friends. And don’t forget to check out my other videos
on this topic too. Hope to see you in my next video! Happy singing!

41 Comments

  • Reply Katarina H. November 14, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    Hello singers and voice users! Thank you for watching. How is your body alignment throughout the day? Does it affect your alignment when singing and cause unwanted tension? Comment below with "PAINFUL" if you can relate. I can!

  • Reply Tin creative # crazy DK November 15, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Thank you for this video ! best idea

  • Reply Adriana Girdler November 15, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    You are so knowledgeable! It's great to know that you can visually see throat tension. This week I'm going to practice in front of the mirror and see if I noticed any of the things you mentioned. Cheers!

  • Reply Professor Heather Austin November 15, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Katarina, thanks for sharing these tips on how to relax throat muscles and sing without throat tension. Great tips!

  • Reply Mike Sarge November 15, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    I never thought about body posture… GREAT POINT! Thank you ?

  • Reply Heather Gerhardt November 15, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    Definitely have felt tension before….watching with anticipation to learn how to avoid this!

  • Reply Apollonia Ponti November 16, 2018 at 12:03 am

    Great tips! 🙂 I have vocal tension when I talk all day on calls. I think using these tips will help me. 🙂

  • Reply A Real Kitchn November 16, 2018 at 2:11 am

    Although I am not a singer – I do talk on the phone quite a bit every day, so this was super helpful!!

  • Reply FashionJusticeTV November 16, 2018 at 2:34 am

    You are so knowledgeable!!

  • Reply Charles McCormick November 16, 2018 at 3:06 am

    Good video and tips – never thought about a mirror before.

  • Reply Marta Keller November 16, 2018 at 5:52 am

    Painful. And wow – so much simple AND great info here! This video was really done well! Look forward to the next one!

  • Reply Wild Woman Enchanted November 16, 2018 at 6:45 am

    So good. …. more life lessons disguised as singing lessons ? like one step at a time …. and align….. ( loved the skeleton btw! ?) I need to remember this one in particular! and breathing.. and then the illustrious head … oh Katarina…. these videos are so good for singing and for life and for self care… they make us more aware of being a good human being… thank you -Elizabeth

  • Reply Lucy Griffiths November 16, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Thank you for sharing wonderful lessons.

  • Reply Bookkeeping by Meredith Rines, CFP November 16, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    I just love your videos! You always make your advice so easy to understand and follow! I really like your tip on watching your body alignment through out the day!

  • Reply 50something Original November 17, 2018 at 1:40 am

    Another great video. Very thorough! Stretching is great.

  • Reply ClassRoutines November 17, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    Hi Katarina dear friend. That is good advice for good voice in singing, speaking or general life. Like 58.

  • Reply Erin Richardson November 18, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Thank you for the video. Very clear tips and directions.

  • Reply Matthew Kelly November 18, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Subscribed and looking forward to learning more from you

  • Reply Kenya Fadel November 18, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Are you a singer & if so for how long?

  • Reply Sebastian Durgan November 18, 2018 at 9:19 am

    These are really great tips. Some stuff that I see way too many people do for sure!

  • Reply William Gardiner November 18, 2018 at 9:19 am

    Is this something I should be learning if I am just starting to learn how to sing or is this more for people who are singers who get tired voices?

  • Reply Alex Hopkins November 18, 2018 at 9:20 am

    Where are you from? I haven't heard an accent like yours

  • Reply John Matthews November 18, 2018 at 9:20 am

    I wish you would do examples, like sing a little both ways to show the right away you know

  • Reply Geneva Simmons November 18, 2018 at 9:21 am

    The audio was kind of echo-y

  • Reply Emilie Dooley November 18, 2018 at 9:21 am

    When you say throat do you mean like a frog in your throat or what?

  • Reply PurpleTent November 18, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Wow, you are awesome. So are your videos, I have subscribed your channel also , by the way, do check my channel also. Thanks

  • Reply Practical Inspiration November 19, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    This was great, I focus a lot on trying to improve my delivery in my video and really think this will help.

  • Reply IcedTails December 22, 2018 at 7:06 am

    I get throat tension when I take in as much air as I possibly can. The amount of throat tension has reduced as I have been doing a yawning motion and trying to relax my throat when my lungs are full.

  • Reply LEE DAHEE GEMANG MARATA January 19, 2019 at 8:12 am

    I know to myself i have a good voice but because of the nervous and stage fright my real voice is hiding.i hate it!!! How can i overcome those things??!!!!

  • Reply JY008 March 15, 2019 at 2:54 am

    See, the thing is its much easier for females to sing without tension than males. Men's voices are deeper and the cords are thicker and just takes more work. Since relatively just about any note would be considered "high" one would think high and reach for the note creating tension or strain.

  • Reply Tony Zee June 27, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    My favorite part is… its not just for singers, its for relaxing your throat muscles.

  • Reply Crystal Clarke July 3, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    I HV problem I sing with my mouth to open I try stop that but I can't ,when the sounds come out it sounds bad.

  • Reply Oscar SD August 3, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing Katarina!

  • Reply Alayna Mathur August 25, 2019 at 7:43 am

    Thanks Katarina H! Whenever I sing using my throat voice, I always feel a lot of tension in my throat and I did not quite know how to fix that. You tips helped me a lot and now, without any problems and with ease, I am able to sing comfortably ?

  • Reply DollJewel September 11, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    thank you!

  • Reply Valerie Taylor Best September 23, 2019 at 2:01 am

    This is absolutely amazing! I've been singing for 40 years and all of a sudden after a long day of singing and vocalizing I lost my voice! I'm looking forward to see how this will help me and regain my confidence in singing again.

  • Reply Lura L September 28, 2019 at 10:29 am

    I don’t have any these weird muscle moving things is that good ( mean I didn’t feel like that )

  • Reply Braxton W October 12, 2019 at 12:50 am

    Thanks love!

  • Reply SimpleBibleTruth October 13, 2019 at 11:14 am

    painful!

  • Reply Maryan Elmi October 17, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Hi Katrina. I have a problem. My abs clench when I sing. How do I stop this?

  • Reply KawaiiTan October 19, 2019 at 1:24 am

    My throat hurts even when I don’t sing sometimes my voice hurts after talking. Am I talking the wrong way?

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