Sometimes singers come in to my Sing Like a Star Vocal Studios with a very nasal and pinched vocal sound. A certain amount of what has traditionally been called mask resonance is necessary to sing with a brilliant tone, but placing the voice in the nose will result in a sound that is unpleasant to listen to. On the other extreme, If you don’t have enough of the mask resonance, you sound like Rocky Balboa saying “Yo, Adrian”. It’s always a question of “just enough but not too much”- or in other words, my favorite word “balance”.
Nasality can occur when the tongue and the soft palate (the moveable part of the upper mouth that goes up when you yawn) are too close together. Say the word “sing” and sustain the NG If you place your fingers on your nose you will feel a sympathetic vibration occurring there, and that pinching the nostrils stops the airflow and the sound.
If you can affect the tone by deliberately making one sound, you can change an incorrect and too nasal vocal production just as easily.
Take a deep, relaxed breath, and say the word “go” in a very dopey, dumb sound. While you are doing this pinch your nose and then let go. Repeat this several times until the sound is exactly the same whether your nose is pinched or not pinched. Now alternate the word “go” with different syllables and words, returning to “go” as your home base. Avoid words with “NG” or “M” while you are trying to establish this new coordination, because those consonants will activate a more nasal sound.
With some practice you should be able to train yourself to speak and sing with a more rich and resonant vocal quality, and avoid singing and speaking with too much nasality.
I wish you all the best as you reach for your dreams! Tricia Grey, MM
At Sing Like a Star Studios you can learn the vocal technique of the stars. If you don’t live near Atlanta, you can take voice lessons with Skype. Please visit our website at www.singlikeastar.com and click on the GET STARTED tab to register for a professional vocal evaluation and consultation.