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Relaxing - The Muscles Under Your Chin

Relaxing the muscles under the chin

There are several areas in or around the vocal tract that can have negative effects on your voice when flexed. One of them, is the area of muscles under your chin. These are swallowing muscles/the underside of your tongue. There is no benefit to having these flexed while singing, while there are numerous negatives. Because of this, I HIGHLY recommend students NEVER flex this area while singing. First, I am going to describe how to identify the tension (since not everyone has it) and second I will address how to eliminate this tension.

Identifying the tension - Place your thumb under your chin, but as close to the front of your jaw as you can. With your thumb here, use your tongue to push on the roof of your mouth. When you push your tongue upwards you should be able to feel a flex with your thumb. It will feel like a muscle bulging under your chin. Move your thumb to make sure it is right on this flex for the next step. This is the negative feeling. Now, without moving your thumb, relax your tongue and open and close your jaw a few times. You'll feel a more "slidey" type of flex. This is a good flex, ignore that flex for the next step.

Removing the tension - Oftentimes, your thumb being present here is enough to signal your brain to cut the unnecessary flexing out. So with your thumb here, sing something in your medium high range. If you don't feel the bulge but you notice that the notes are easier to sing than normal, you HAD a small tension problem but your thumb's presence helped eliminate it. If you notice no difference and feel no bulge, try singing in a few different parts of your range. If you notice nothing, this isn't a problem for you. If you notice the bulge even with your thumb there, this is a medium to large problem for you. The easiest solution to getting this to relax is to simply massage it. Use both thumbs to massage under your chin WHILE singing. You WILL sound ridiculous when doing this, so if you don't you probably aren't doing it right. Once the tension is gone, you'll probably end up in the "small" problem territory where your thumb's presence fixes it but its back when you remove your thumb. At this point, building the habit of relaxation and using your thumb to massage it out are your best strategies. Fixing this WILL be a longer term thing, not immediate.

This process has not yet failed to fix this area of tension for any of my students, so if you have questions or don't understand the process, please leave a comment or sign up for singing lessons with me. Best of luck!

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