These days I hear and see a lot of forced singing in many genres. Perhaps it is a reflection of the stress in our time, but it’s not good for the voice and it’s not producing a great sound.
I am presenting a series of videos and explanations of the McClosky Relaxation Exercises. These exercises are designed to help the singer or speaker to release muscle tensions in the face and throat, promote easy tone production, and increase resonance.
For each of McClosky’s exercise, you will see: a short video demonstration; some reasons why I as a McClosky Voice Technician and Master Teacher think this exercise is important; and tips how to do the exercise.
Why do a facial relaxation exercise?
Basic tone production shouldn’t require grins or grimaces, but some teachers and singers wittingly or unwittingly build facial tensions into their tone in the attempt to make an ideal sound. This then can limit the full range of emotional expression because a certain facial “posture” must be maintained. (for example, a grin or a frown)
The relaxation of the facial muscles allows for the full range of emotional expressions while singing. In addition, the first relaxation exercise helps to release the masseter muscle, a muscle in the cheek used for chewing/opening/closing, which will be addressed further in the fourth exercise.
Tips to do this exercise well:
Do not hurry! Let your mind relax, your body sit calmly, and imagine you have all the time in the world.
Use the soft pads of the fingers. Usually it is better to bend the fingers slightly, so they are not rigid in their movement.
Proceed slowly and gently. Tune in to the sensation. If there is any place that feels rigid or resistant, spend a little more time massaging and picture the area releasing and letting go.
For some people, this exercise makes them feel sleepy or yawn, because when they are most relaxed, they associate the feeling with falling sleep. Rest assured, you can be mentally and physically energetic while being relaxed in certain parts of the body!
Watch for my upcoming posts for the remaining McClosky exercises!