Saturday, March 04, 2006

2240 My navel and my jaw

Looking through vocal sites on the internet, I came across The site with all sorts of drop down windows and some instructions on breathing, and listening, and exercising. I think I know how to think about my jaw, but I've never had to imagine my navel, except maybe when pregnant when it was moving on ahead of the rest of my body. Therefore, I'm having some difficulty figuring out just where this pipe organ is.

"The two places to think about are:

Lower abdomen

All the support should come from the lower abdomen. That's where it should all be "happening". Think about anything above the navel as a huge flexible organ pipe. You shouldn't be doing anything conscious with muscles above the navel until you get to the jaw. Everything in between should work on its own without your intervention if you get the lower abdomen working (this is an oversimplification - but let's stick with it at the moment - basically, what you're going to do above the navel and below the jaw has more to do with POSTURE and allowing things to do what they do naturally by NOT trying to interfere than with actively trying to control anything - INCLUDING the diaphragm).

The jaw needs to work like a well-oiled hinge. This means no rigidity, no tension, no clamping shut nor forcing too far open. The tension you feel in your throat, I am willing to bet, is due in large part to tension in the jaw and the back of the tongue ("throat" tension usually means back of tongue tension, which is directly influenced by jaw tension). Secondarily, if your chest is "collapsed" rather than lifted (not forced up muscularly, but *lifted* - a sense that you're gently lifting the breastbone off the top ribs - if you think of your rib cage as an accordion, think about keeping it stretched apart, rather than squeezed together - but the feeling should be, as I said, one of LIFT, rather than anything involving really stretching, which implies tension).

If the chest is up and the support is active below the navel, you'll find that mysteriously the jaw doesn't want to work as hard to articulate vowels and consonants."

The Vocalist


Joan said...

Thanks for coming by my blog and offering a book recommendation, Norma.

Cathy said...

This Vocalist information is correct. Much of it takes a lot of mental exercise to get the physical part to work. Many vocalist only think of the vocal cords in production of sound, but it takes much more and it does begin with support from the abdomen. Before we begin singing, we work on loosening our jaw and relaxing the facial muscles. We work on our shoulders, and work on when our abdomen needs to give more support to our singing. In a coined expression "It takes a whole body to sing a song".