Open Throat Singing Technique Explained

What is it about open throat singing? Does it really work? Does it really help?

You have to understand your own voice to know if open throat singing is a technique that's going to work for you. 

Last night I was watching one of the singing competition shows. I saw so many of the competitors singing in this very big, open-throat way. Many of them were okay with it, but I saw some that were going too far.

How Far is Too Far?

What I mean by “too far” is that you have to know the nature of your voice and where it's used to going. For me, I used to open too much, and it made my voice develop some bad habits. 

In operatic singing or broadway singing, you're going to use a little bit more of that open throat because you're trying to get a particular sound. What you don't want to do, however, is allow it to go too far back in your throat.

So, the open throat singing is going to give you a particular tone that you might want for certain music. But if the technique is going to get you into trouble, then it's going to be a problem. 

I give a demonstration of open throat singing technique in the video at 2:15 as well as how to do it without developing bad technique. I use a long “O” sound in the exercise because it's one of the sounds that we typically open so much for, and it's also one of the sounds that can give us a lot of trouble. 

Click play below to watch the demonstration (the video begins at the correct place) 

And here is an audio file to help you practice. 

How to Teach Your Body

I use my thumb under my jaw. In open-throat singing, the thing we're trying to avoid is going too far back in the throat.

We want the tone, but we don't want to go too far back in the throat and start using our swallowing muscles, because then we're working against ourselves.

So using your thumb lets you know immediately if you start using your swallowing muscles. I need to do this to ensure that I'm doing the technique correctly, because my body's so used to falling back in my throat. 

By keeping my thumb under my jaw I can keep my swallowing muscles relaxed, which really allows me to open up.

At 2:43 I make the tone as open as I can so you can hear the tone there, but where I'm not going too far back.

And the way I know that I'm not going too far back is by having my thumb under my jaw. This way, my body is learning how to get those notes without going back in my throat. 

Watch the video below to see this (it will begin at the correct place for the demonstration) 

Practice your open-throat singing technique with some open sounds like that, but always do it with your thumb on your throat so you can be certain that you're not going back in your throat.

Being able to sing with open throat technique is a good skill to have in your palate of tonal qualities as there are many times that it will work well in what you're singing. 

Also, by developing this ability you will train yourself to produce very open sounds without falling back in your throat, which will help your vocal technique greatly! 

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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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