Jeannie introduces the N and NG slides, which is a simple exercise that can give back big results. With this exercise you can see any bad habits you have and correct them. The technique described in the lesson uses buzzing of the voice to massage different muscles in the mouth and throat.
- Now, I'm gonna teach you a series of exercises that are really cool. Very simple, big results. I know that sometimes doing something simple is hard. How could it be that way? But the point of doing this very simple approach is to help you in a number of different ways. One is you get to spot and release bad habits, and while as you do that, as you shed that off, it just gets simpler and simpler.
And as that occurs, the results of the exercise expand. Now, we're going to be using basically buzzing of your voice to massage a series of different muscles from here through the mouth that have a lot to do with executing notes, expanding range and getting a fuller voice. But again, it's not done using a big voice, it's done, in fact, not really singing as you would think it, you know, when you think of singing.
So we're gonna use the tongue kind of like a, um, like a conduit of, or an electrical wire. And the vocal folds will be vibrating, and the vibration goes through the tongue. The first position we're gonna put the tongue is in an N position. Nnnnnn. So say, "Nnnnnn-nothing". Okay, do it again. "Nnnnnn-nothing." Notice how I'm sustaining some vibration through the N, that's what I'd like you to do.
"Nnnnnn-nothing". That's, that's the idea. The other approach, of course I'm gonna give you more details on both, but the other approach is using the NG, so at the end of the word "nothing", you have "nothi-nnnnnngggggg". (repeats extended ng sound) Put the tip of your tongue against the back of your bottom teeth when you do that. Back of the tongue just gently rises. I don't want you to press it. Just let it be like a helium balloon that sort of drifts up and touches the roof of your mouth in the back.
(extended ng sound) Now, check out what would happen if you pulled your tongue away from your teeth. (gurgles) The tongue suddenly gets very hard. Try it out. (gurgles) Don't do it too much, because it doesn't give you a good result vocally. So now, put the tip of your tongue against the back of the bottom teeth, and go (humming) Feel better? I hope so, do it again. (humming) Notice I'm using just a kind of a speech level pitch.
I'm not trying to sing high, low, nothing. Just use a speech level pitch when you're doing it right now. All right, so now let's go back to the N. (humming) Cool. We're gonna use, uh, two different melodies, and I'll, when we, once we get into the exercise, of course, I'll coach you through it, but, um, I'm gonna demonstrate some of it for you right now. And I'll give you the do's and don'ts, so you have a clue.
All right, here we go. This is what's called a slide of a third. Now, you might want to see my fingers playing it on the piano for a moment, so we're gonna show you that. And we cover from this note to that note, and back down. I don't want you to hang up in the middle. So it's not gonna be, (hums, sustaining middle note) you know, like that. Of course, doing it with an N, it ends up sounding like this. (humming with piano notes) So it's like one continuous road, from start to finish.
(humming with piano notes) Instead of, (hums, sustaining middle note) I don't want you to hold that note. Because it isn't high. Okay, you say, wait a minute, that's a higher note. I want to re-educate the way you're thinking, so that you're not thinking of this note as go up, come down. We're not climbing a mountain. It's just a road, okay? New way of thinking. Sound is sound. (humming with piano notes) So now, I'm gonna do a series in a row.
(humming with piano notes) I have the top of my tongue touching the roof of the mouth. Not just the tip, but the whole top of the front. (humming with piano notes) Breath. (humming with piano notes) It can tickle, depending on where you've placed your tongue, so if it's a little too much on the teeth, (laughs) it just did it for me, it tickles a little bit.
So position your tongue where it's best going to create buzzing vibration. We're not looking for voice, we're looking for vibration. (humming with piano notes) Yes, do it again. (humming with piano notes) I want you to try it out with me here and there. (humming with piano notes) Okay, so if it feels tight, that's because you're pressing your tongue too hard up against your palate.
(makes gurgling sound) And you'll feel it pull up. Put your fingers here, (gurgling) I don't want you to use what's called a swallowing position. That's when the tongue in the back pulls up. You're just gonna let that tongue lay there, and only buzz from the front. (humming) Think of your tongue as getting fat, or staying fat. Not condensing where it gets hard. (humming with piano notes) All right, I'll continue demonstrating it for you.
(humming with piano notes) And it feels, a buzzing starts moving around. (humming with piano notes) But my focus just stays on the tongue. (humming with piano notes) And then that becomes, like, the heart of the sun, and the sun rays, which are the vibrations, start moving through up the sinus cavity, and you'll feel it various places.
Don't think where it's going, just let it go. (humming with piano notes) And if you keep the buzzing just radiating from the tongue, that helps. (humming with piano notes)
Note: Vocal Lessons with Jeannie Deva was recorded and produced by ArtistWorks. We are honored to host this training in our library.
- Keeping your voice limber with neck massage
- Practicing tongue exercises
- Correcting bad vocal habits
- Stretching and exercising the tongue with slides
- Warming up with lip trills
- Reducing vocal strain
- Improving vocal range