Taming The Unruly Tongue

I’ve done some talk about the tongue in some of the other blog posts, but it’s been a while, and it’s definitely worth revisiting, from a slightly different angle. The tongue is often referred to as the worst enemy of the singer. It just seems to get in the way, and, honestly, the beginning singer often doesn’t even realize it. But, believe me, the listeners do.

The tongue is odd because it’s the only muscle in the body that is attached at one end and not at the other. It’s a squirrelly little guy that is right in the way of the airflow, often killing the resonant sound that every singer longs for and needs. So, I want to give you an idea where the tongue should be while singing and help you practice it by giving you an exercise to work on it with.

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As odd as it will feel at first, the tip of the tongue should remain at the surface of the lower teeth (in back, of course!) for all vowels sound and many consonants. Notice I say vowel sounds and not just vowels. This is because there are far more vowels sounds than vowels. So, the tip of the tongue should remain there for about seventy percent of the time, and when it is lifted to hit a consonant sound like the “th”, it should immediately return to its position afterward.

So, in order to give this some practice take a couple of different vowel sounds and repeat this pattern: 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1. Make sure the tongue stays where it’s supposed to be!

Good luck, and I hope this helps!


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