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Singing Q&A

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We have an amazing community of vocalists in our KTVA Forum, over 500 singers are sharing their experiences and asking great questions. In this newsletter we want to share some of the forum exchanges and hopefully you will get some new inspiration for your own journey.

Q1: Open throat?

When doing the scales should I be concerned about keeping the back of my throat open?
Or do i just keep my tongue on the base of mouth and not think about keeping my throat open?
Do we need to constantly look at ourselves in the mirror while doing the scales to check if our throats are opening or uvulas raising?

Answer 1:
keeping the throat open is the key to working the scales.  when i am going through the workout i do watch the back of my throat in a mirror.  I also practise without in order to get the “feel” in the back of the throat.  It’s all about muscle memory.  When i began the series, i focused more on the vowel mods, because they really seemed to free me up immediately.  The tongue position was not a huge concern, just keep it to the base of the mouth.  I have been working series 3 for a few months, and have brought my focus back to the tongue position, experimenting with dropping it slightly as i sing higher.  It does open up the sound even more.  i hope this helps.  Keep on rockin.

Answer 2:
Yes, be concerned. The tongue on the base of the mouth is part of keeping the throat open, just like opening the mouth really wide, not moving the jaw and keeping a bright sound through the whole scale.

Most definately, use the mirror, specially if you’re new to the technique! Gradually, as you get used to the feeling of the open throat, you won’t need it anymore. I feel pretty confident about it now, but once in a while I still use the mirror, just in case.

Followup 1:
Tnx a lot you guys 🙂
Awesomely quick response and pretty darn dead on my question
That will be a really big help thank you!

Followup 2:
Not a problem.  we’re all learning, and helping each other out.  Ken is one of the best instructors/singers that i’ve seen.  Just do what he says, and you’ll be fine!:)  good luck on your singing adventure

Q2: Allergy Tricks?
Hi Ken (Happy Easter!), I always dread allergy season (April through June for me) as I get congestion, nasal drip, mucus etc.  I have historically had to make set lists easier during this time, and with the pollens now unleashed I am taking longer to warm up with some initial “gravel” around the vowel mods.  By the end of workout I am usually very close to or at “normal”, it’s just taking longer.  Would you have any suggestions/ exercises to help clean off the chords, etc.?  Thanks!

Answer by Ken Tamplin:
I wish I could give you an easy answer to this but the very best thing you can do is take longer and warm up lighter prior to singing. Post nasal causes the cords to get “thick”.
You DON’T want to continuously “clear” your throat as this will create a viscious cycle of the cords allowing more mucous (to protect themselves thinking they need to stay moist) and you clearing out the Gack.
Warm up gently and easily.
Unfortunately sometimes your warm-ups can take up to twice as long (because you find you need to wait for a couple seconds between certain scales) but the good news is that you will find when you do this you will be at 90+ percent.
I know it sounds crazy to tell someone singing longer is better, but it actually is in this situation.