How to Sing Without
Jaw Tension



Would you like to know how to sing without jaw tension? 

Tension in the jaw is a common issue when it comes to singing, so let’s look at where it comes from and how you can prevent it. 

Years ago, I worked with this quite a bit. I had many clients who came to me with what's called TMJ (Temperomandibular joint disorder).

TMJ is a muscular condition where your jaw gets kind of locked. Understand that you have muscles that control everything. The brain directs your muscles to do things in your body, but those muscles control what's going on in your body. 

Create a Sense of Relaxation

What I've found is that most people who have jaw tension, or TMJ, have a tension or nervousness in their lives as well. So what we want to do is create a sense of relaxation, not only to our jaws but to ourselves and our lives. 

I'm going to give you a little exercise here that's going to help you to start to get that sense of relaxation. You're going to consciously tell your jaw to open and relax. 

Ah, a Relaxation Exercise

We're going to deliberately use a difficult sound, the “ah” sound. I say difficult because with the “ah” sound, we may tend to fall back in the throat. When that happens, we may push into the sound, and then that tension can get ingrained and we start to create more of it. We're going to start to reverse that with this exercise.

In this video, I want to demonstrate the ease you want to have in going up to those higher notes. You'll see how you want to be relaxing your jaw. You're not closing into it. You're taking the tension off.   

This exercise will work for everyone, but particularly for those who have felt this tension going in, or who have been diagnosed with TMJ. 

You need to give yourself a different mental idea and a new habit as you go through this. Try this along with me at 2:40 in the video. Your jaw is opening, relaxing. You're not pushing into it.  

Persistence and Patience

A word of warning: if you've had this habit of really pushing into things, it's not going to change right away. I'm saying that to encourage you to be patient with yourself.

You may keep getting the impulse to push, but as you continue to respond by relaxing and opening, the impulse to push will go away. 

I'll demonstrate again at 3:28. As I'm going higher, I'm slightly closing my mouth, especially on this sound since I don't want to open too much. If I open too much, I'm going to push into it, and then that jaw tension is going to be created again.

Memorize Relaxation in Your Comfort Range

So whenever you feel yourself start to tighten up, just relax. Don't go that high. Allow your body to accept the relaxation in the lower and mid parts of your range, and the relaxation will translate into the higher parts. 

Practice this consistently, and you will get rid of that tension. Keep responding to tension by relaxing, and it will become a habit, an automatic response. 

I hope this gives you some good starting points for understanding how to sing without jaw tension!

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About The Author

Roger Burnley - Vocal CoachRoger Burnley - Vocal Coach

Roger Burnley is a vocal coach located in Hollywood, California. He has been teaching the voice for over 30 years and singing for even longer than that. 

Notable past and present clients include Macy Gray, Brandy, Ray J, The Beastie Boys, James Torme, Taylor Lautner, Nona Gaye, and many more.

His clients have collectively sold more than 30 million albums, with several reaching Platinum and Gold status. 

Roger has been featured on VH1, TV Guide Channel, TV One,
and MTV appearing as a vocal expert.

About The Author

Roger Burnley - Vocal CoachRoger Burnley - Vocal Coach

Roger Burnley is a vocal coach located in Hollywood, California. He has been teaching the voice for over 30 years and singing for even longer than that. 

Notable past and present clients include Macy Gray, Brandy, Ray J, The Beastie Boys, James Torme, Taylor Lautner, Nona Gaye, and many more.

His clients have collectively sold more than 30 million albums, with several reaching Platinum and Gold status. 

Roger has been featured on VH1, TV Guide Channel, TV One,
and MTV appearing as a vocal expert.

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