Relax your body, FREE your SINGING voice | Natasa Nahtigal | Skillshare

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Relax your body, FREE your SINGING voice

teacher avatar Natasa Nahtigal, Vocal Coach & Doctor of medicine

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Relax your body, free your voice - TRAILER


    • 2.



    • 3.

      Tongue tension


    • 4.

      Jaw tension


    • 5.

      Neck tension


    • 6.

      Shoulder tension


    • 7.

      Vocal warm up - MAN


    • 8.

      Vocal warm up - FEMALE


    • 9.



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About This Class

Singers, in this class I am sharing with you 4 major body tensions that can and that often hold our voice back. I will show you exercises that you can use in your daily singing practice to relax these muscle tensions and make your voice free, strong and relaxed through the whole range. 

Our body and our voice are completely connected. If our body is tense, our voice is tense and if our body is relaxed, our voice is relaxed. For good vocal development it is important that we:

  1. gain awareness of our body while we sing through the whole range 
  2. feel where in our body we carry excessive muscle tension
  3. feel when we carry excessive muscle tension (low notes, high notes, whole range)
  4. know which exercise to use to relieve the tensions 
  5. daily practice to replace the wrong muscular patterns with the right one

Meet Your Teacher

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Natasa Nahtigal

Vocal Coach & Doctor of medicine

Level: All Levels

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1. Relax your body, free your voice - TRAILER: Hi guys. In this class we'll talk about body, voice connection. I really love this topic because I believe that relaxed body is actually free and full singing voice. Well together go through for body parts that can, and that actually often hold too much tension while we see. And I will leave the exercises and tips on how to relax them. I want to Tasha Dr. of Medicine who decided not to work as a Dr. and now I teach why since that, for the past 17 years, I've been working as a vocal coach. Since 2018. I've been leading voice Academy in Slovenia. That's a very small country in Europe. In my teaching, I found out that being aware of what is going on in our body, it gives us way better results in singing. A lot of times, singer Simon work their voices only with scales and exercises they find online. And they are focusing on, can I do this scale? Can I do the high note in the scale without thinking what they're actually doing with their body and how they feel in their body. If we train our voice, danced body, then tensions can become part of our singing without us even noticing them. E.g. if you're constantly holding your shoulders like this, this becomes your habit. And at the end, you don't even know that you're holding your shoulders like this. So let's dive in. First. We'll go over the main tensions that can hold back our singing vice. Then I will give you exercises to relax them. And at the end, I will give you short vocal warm-up for female and male with guidance for relaxing our body. While we seen C in the class. 2. Introduction: Hi guys, Welcome to the classroom where we'll be talking about body tensions that can affect our voice. First, we'll do a short summary about how our voice works. We breathe in air goes in her lungs. Then when we exhale, air goes out of our lungs and it bumps into the vocal cords. From below. Vocal cords are two folds vibrate and they changed the air that bumps into them, into the sound wave. So they create a sound. But the sound they create doesn't sound nothing like our voice. It sounds something like where do we get our vocal color and vocal power? I call this in our trumpet, because it is a trumpet. It's our firings are nasal cavity and our mouth cavity. And the sound that is created by vocal cords then travel through this trumpet and it gets vocal color and vocal power in this part of our body. So if this trumpet is somehow squeezed, sometimes we put our draw like this. Now our trump card is not who. You see. That's why this tension can affect our lives, because it affects the trumpet. If you want to know more about how our body works as an instrument, I recommend that you check my first Skillshare class. Must know about your advice. Okay, Now let's move on. So we saw that we need this trumpet to be open and free so that our voice or singing voice is free. Especially we sometimes tighten everything around here when we're seeing high notes. So also on high notes, we want to stay relaxed and keep our trumpet open. Which excessive muscle tensions can cause domain trouble when we see the first one is our tongue. Why? Our tongue is in our trumpet. It's inside, it's pretty big. You will see in the next course. And we're going to talk how to relax it so that our sound stays for. The second tension that we'll talk about is our jaw. With opening our jaw, we actually are changing our trumpet size and we're actually talking. And if our jaw is tight and he doesn't want to relax specially on high notes. Then we have our voice closed up and our vocal cords can work and can create high notes. And then the third tension is our neck. Lately we're holding, earning more and more like lose it because we're so much on our phones and because our vocal cords are A&R, throat and in our neck, that every like every tension here can first caused the tension around what vocal cords. And it also calls attention in our trumpet because our trumpet gets closed. And the fourth attention is our shoulders. Shoulders also if we lifted up, we get tension around our courts. And also our trumpet is kinda shorten. You see? And that's why our voice is different. So we'll together create this training where you will be thinking about this four part and you will try to relax them and you will try to put your body in balance. You will see that if you do this, then your voice is getting Freire and freer with each exercise. So now I invite you to join me in the next course, where we will be talking only about tongue tension. 3. Tongue tension: In this lesson, we'll give our full attention to our tongue. Tongue is really important for singing, even though a lot of people like singers, when I start to talk about tongue and I say, okay, put your tongue out there like something disgusting. But it's really not discussing. It's a really amazing muscle is actually the only muscle in our body that moves in all directions without bones and ligaments, which is amazing, is the muscle that gives us the option to taste food. And when we talk about singing and speaking, it's the muscle that is actually in charge of speaking vowels. So if you don't have your tongue, you are not able to say a E 0. Tongue is very important and that's why when we train singing, and if you want to be a good singer, it's good that you are aware what's your tongue is doing. Tongue is a very big muscle. It's not just this part that you see. That's not the whole time. Tongue is also inside here, like in-between. My jaw is the lower part of the tongue, the tongue route. You can also see it on the picture. It's a pretty big like muscle conglomerates or I don't know how you would say it. It's on our mouth floor and why it affects our voice because this part is actually attached to a bone under it and this bone is attached to the cartilage where our vocal cords are. So if our root of the tongue gets tense, then this bone under it gets a little lift up. And it also affect our vocal cords. And they get tense. And if your tongue root extends, then your vocal cords are not able to work in their full potential. And we saw that for like singing high knows they need to really stretch. And if there are tens then they can stretch. So I would say the tongue and also like the jaw there we'll see later are two biggest enemies of our free voice. So let's first just think about our tongue. Start to feel it, start to just be aware of it. Just give it attention. What's going on with your tongue? Even like if you don t talk, where is it? Is it free? Is it relaxed to have it in front of your mouth like that? Is it touching your lower teeth or is it back? Then? When we're going to sing, we're going to just see one easy skill. Okay? We're just gonna do this and go in front of the mirror and just watch, watch your tongue is doing. Let's do it. Okay. A lot of singers that I have their tongue, like pulls back. It looks like when my tongue goes back, first of all, it kinda ruins the quality of my voice because it's, your trumpet gets smaller. And the second of all, it presses on my vocal cords and I like, I almost need to squeeze more and pushed more to get the sound. So if you are a type of singer that your tongue pulls back, then just try to, when you sing scales or songs is try to put your tongue a little further, like Pratt, press it a little bit towards your lower teeth. You don't need to press it but just it doesn't pull back. Okay? Okay. Now we're gonna do one exercise where I really love it because it really relaxed the tongue roots. You press your tongue to your lower teeth. And then when you relax, just just try to be aware of what's going on in your back of the tongue. Does it get relaxed? Like when I do this, I feel all it always like that my pharynx is more open. My trumpet. Okay, let's do it again. Press our tongue to our lower teeth and press it out. Yeah, I know it doesn't look nice, but maybe you have more beautiful time. They, I don't know. Okay, this is a very great exercise. Then another exercise that is awesome is you put your tongue out and you touch your upper lip. With this one, you will feel that the lower part of your tongue gets stretched. Great. Now we're gonna do an exercise where we're just going to hum. And in our mouth we're gonna be putting our tongue right and left. Okay? So with singing, our tongue needs to be relaxed, but not too relaxed. It needs to be intensive, relaxed. And it just we just don't want that there is any like excessive tension. Okay. So I don't want from you too. Your tongue is relaxed, it needs to move. So we're going to move it right and left. We're just going to do one exercise. We're going to go on. And again, when you do this exercise, be aware of what's going on in your body, okay. Is there any part of this exercise where you feel like you feel that everything gets squeezed already, you feel that your tongue is relaxed and out? Sometimes I feel that my tongue is almost like it feels like when I go on high note that it's floating. It's like it's like it doesn't even affect anything. It's just there and it flows and it's just shapes the sound. That's how I feel, and that's how, that's when my tongue really helps me than the other times when I'm like tenths than my tongue also get tense. So on the first student that I needed this exercises, okay, so let's do another one. And kind of scales that you're working. You can just think about you're moving your tongue right and left. And also like when you work the scale to another one. Now my tongue is back. I'm holding you back. And if I put it further front and just floating, it's so much easier to sing high notes. I'll give you two exercises that you probably know, but there are really awesome for you to relax your tongue through the whole range. So first one is raspberry. Why we want is that our tongue stays relaxed from the loan out to the high note. So don't do. If this doesn't work, then try to put your tongue even more out so that you don't pull it back. And the second one that you can also do with the scales that I'll give you at the end is. And again, be aware, watch your back of the tongue is doing. If you're back of the tongue is tense, then it sounds like. Then if you pull it further to see and then it's really open. So this would be some tips about a ton. I hope that you got some knowledge and you got aware of your tongue. And if you are going to sing scales, or if you're going to sing songs, just give a little attention. You'll see it will open your voice a lot. In the next lesson, we'll go over the sum. 4. Jaw tension: In this lesson, we will focus on our job. Why jaw is really important for singing and speaking? Because it actually is the one that shapes our trumpet into different shapes. And it gives us different kind of vocal color. So if I open my mouth more, my voice sounds like this. If I close it more, it sounds like this tc it really adds on to the color. And if my jaw joint and this muscle is tensed, Dan up, my voice doesn't get the full color. Also, this reflects to our vocal cords that they can't really work in their best and they can't stretch, and they can create high notes. So that's why I say that, that jaw tension besides the tank tensions there like our biggest enemy when we sing. So let's just first think about our jaw. Let just start to, just, just get aware of it. Does start to feel okay. I have something here. Has an angle. Okay. How it feels, how I feel in my jaw. Okay. Now look on the picture. This is a masseter muscle. This is a pretty strong muscle in a long history back, it was the most strongest muscle in our body because we needed to chew a lot right before. And now it's not the strongest, but it's still very strong. And especially in some cultures where their language is more like Tide like Slovenian language, my language is very tight. A lot of people are talking like this, Hey, what's up? And they're holding a lot of tension here. And we're just Vi's, that's fine. We're kinda used to each other like this. But when we do singing, when we want that our vocal cords are really free, we need to start to think about it and relax it. So what we're gonna do, we're gonna first just touch our muscles here. And we're gonna do a bite. You'll feel the muscle. So this is the muscle that gets tight when our jaw is tight and we're just going to massage it from up to down. Just try to make it longer. Just try to feel the relaxation, be aware of it. And this feeling we want to kinda put into singing. Because sometimes I say that jaw needs to obey when we're saying, okay, it shouldn't lead the process. And a lot of people, when they see what they're doing, you see they're pulling their jaw like, oh, like they're kinda leading the nodes, the singing notes with their jaw instead of the jaw just needs to hang. It needs to be relaxed so you can move it up and down and the voice still stays the same. So this is the first one, the first exercise. The second exercise it is also important is toward another muscle. And the sister were like temporalis muscle. Puts your hands here above your ears. And let's do a byte. Feel something happening under your hands. So this is a temporalis muscle. This muscle goes from here up. And if this muscle is tight, then also our jaw is tight. Okay, so let just massage this muscle and make it longer. We're gonna go from here up behind the ears down. Who first, this feels great. Yeah, we're like I'm singing is like support. Okay, So we're training the muscles that are important for singing. And then we will connect from the lower part from this, we're going to massage this lower muscle masseter. Then we go slowly over the cheekbone and then massage the upper part. And this is how we really relaxed her jaw before we go singing, before we start to do scales, to start to feel what it means to have relaxed jaw. Okay, so now when we go singing sometimes like yeah, we can relax, but then we go singing and it's like mm, mm, mm, mm, mm. And again, our jaw is tensed. I will give you one exercise here that you can use when something like this happens. And you will put two fingers here on each, on each side and just hold the jaw apart from this bone, the maxilla. And that's how you sing. So holey like this. Mama, mama, mom. And don't let that your jaw goes mama, mama, mama, mom. Okay. So this is a really cool one. You can use it for every, every exercise that you do. And you can also use it when you sing. You can do 12341, okay, and don't let the jaw to tighten up. Then another exercise that I have that is really cool is you put your finger in your mouth like this. With this one, you press your cheek kind of back. Now chick, your jaw back. And you don't want allow, allow it to even start to tense up. Okay? So you can see even high note. The higher it is. You don't allow your dog to do anything, so you don't allow it to squeeze. It just needs to be still and you sing with it. So like I said, You're Johnny's to obey and, um, start to get aware of it, start to use different kinds of exercises to see if it stays relaxed. And I hope that this lesson that you got some new knowledge. And now we will continue with a tension in our neck. And at the end, when I will give you the vocal warm-up, I will again give you some guidance for having your jaw relaxed. See you in the next lesson. 5. Neck tension: In this lesson, we'll talk about our neck, how we hold our head. Why is this important for our voice? Because our vocal cords are in our larynx and our larynx is our in our neck. So if our neck muscles are tensed and a lot of us have our neck muscles tense, then it's tension around our vocal cords and this leg directly affects our voice. The first one, then the second one. If I hold my neck like this, then my trumpet, remember the trumpet? And we said that gives us the vocal color and vocal power gets some kind of like a distorted. It's not that open anymore and my voice doesn't sound as full as if my neck is relaxed, relaxed and my hair is not like this, but it's like fried above my neck. So let's talk about what kind of position we want while we sing. And I don't want to say that when you seeing that you need to constantly have like some kind of like posture like this? I don't believe in this. I believe that we need to be relaxed. And if you are a musical theatre singer, yeah, you need to dance, That's fine. It's just that we don't have like some kind of like excessive muscle tension all the time that we don't even know like this. We hold ourselves like this the whole day, okay. Or like that every time that we're seeing high note, we do this. Sometimes it happens like we do. So it's again that we were just gain awareness of how we're being here. In our neck is relaxed. It's like really like moving or tight. You know, sometimes singers also do. If I say like move your neck there. Now we want their neck is just like really relaxed. The position of our head. We wanted our head is like, can you imagine that your neck is like a bowl and then your head is up, write-up, lot more front just like up, and it moves freely. You can move your head back and forth like right and left, down like really you'd move. This is a first exercise for your neck. How to find the right hat position. One good exercises that you pull your hair up. Like imagine that you have like there's like a thread or something and it leaves your head up and it's straight. And this is what you want to keep, what you've seen. Low knows high notes, like songs. And then another exercise that I really like is tuck your chin in so you use your finger and you just tuck your chin in. This will also help you with relaxing your jaw. Because your daughter is not going to be like in front like this. It's going to be relaxed. And right and left. And when you do any kind of exercises or when you sing, just try to, like I gave you a task, take a song and just stay aware of your neck, the whole song. So don't think about high nose or think about, Oh, how do I sound? What other people think? Just think about like what actually you're doing with your neck is relaxed where there are parts that you have a habit to do this. And usually this is on the high notes. We do exercises, you probably know this one. If you do. Sometimes it's good that you're just you're just going right and left with your neck, with your head. Or you do like aids with it. Like that infinity, infinity, infinity sign. Or you can do like any kind of scale. I don't care what you do. Just that you are aware of your body while you do it. So this is all about your neck. It's very simple, but sometimes it's hard to relax it so we need to be aware of it like more often every day and then relax neck becomes a habit. In the next lesson, we will talk about our shoulders, so I hope you'll join me. 6. Shoulder tension: In this lesson, we're going to talk about our shoulders and how our shoulders can really affect her voice. Why? Because if we have tension in our shoulders, our shoulders go like this and they affect her vocal cords or vocal cords get a little tense and also our vocal cords go little up higher. And that's why our trumpet gets smaller. Remember like a smaller Trump or smaller mice. That's why my voice now is smaller. Then if I pull my shoulders down because when my shoulders hurt down, my neck stays relaxed than my vocal cords here on the right spot. And then my trumpet can be open and my voice can be full. So now again, task for you. Go sing a song and just think about what you're doing with your shoulders. Is there any part of the song where your shoulders get tensed or you're staying open the leg it is the whole time. This is pectoralis muscle. And when this muscle tightens up, we do this. So this is a muscle that we need to take care to kind of like keep relaxed while we sing, while we're gonna do, we're gonna first massage it from here to here. And we're going to try to make it longer. This feels great. And also like now, this part of my body feels like so open compared to this part. So let's do it on the other side. This is how I want to feel. Well, I think Ryan or when I talk and I see that. Oh, so like when I talk, sometimes I'm like going like this and this and this and this and this. And I know, I don't even know. And also with singing because when we're afraid, Yes, stage fright or where when we don't feel confident about something, then this muscle tightens up. It's like we want to hide. Oh, I don't wanna do this. And he tightens up and it lifts our shoulders up. So what you can do is you can start to circle. And you can start to circle while you sing. You can sing a song and on the part of the song wherein you get tense, you start to circle or like even like blah, blah, blah, blah. Okay. I started to circle, blah, blah, blah, and then my voice opens up and my shoulders are not up. So you can do again. We just want that our shoulders are not like in one position tensed. We also don't want to be like this relaxed. It's always about balance. But if you are aware of your body, what you're doing, then you can really be your own teacher. If you know this basic tools that I'm giving you and then you seeing and you're like, okay, how do I feel? Oh my God, I'm really like lifting my shoulders up, who I will try not to. And then you're your own teacher. You're getting closer and closer to yourself with singing. So I mean, sure, it's great to have vocal coaches. But also like when you were working at home, you can be waived. If you feel your body than you can teach your body, not just doing scales that other people give to you. Okay? So then another one for your shoulders is open arms. Okay. So just open your arms and almost like you feel that's coupled as back this muscle, these two bones like touch and then you can sink like this also like some high part or something like Europa. And it's open. Okay. Also like our shoulders. The way we hold our shoulders. I think it's the way that people perceive us. If our shoulders are like this, oh sorry, sound is like this, but even if my sound is full, if I try to make full sound, I don't look as confident and as open, then if I'm like this. So these are a couple of tips that you can use if you will, feel that you have some tensions in your shoulder. Now we're done with all four basic, basic, non-basic, most, most often used body tensions that can hold our Vice back. And in the next lesson, I will give you a short vocal warm-up for men and for female. And with this, I will give you guidance on how to relax her voice while you do a warm up. 7. Vocal warm up - MAN: Hi guys. This is a short vocal warm-up for you. First we're gonna do five tone humming. And when you do this, you will put your tongue right and left. Move your tongue. You sing. Now we're gonna turn your head right. Relax your neck, and still Lumiere time. Multitasking. Relaxing for your voice. Moving your tongue around your neck. Okay, now we're gonna do now octet. You can do this scale with water or whatever, anything that you like to work, your vice width. And I will give you some tips. Okay, let's start to start to roll their shoulders. On high note, we want our shoulders. Your shoulders. Now what's your attention on your job? Now? Relax your jaw and your lines. More. For a job. Now we're going to do a longer scale. This scale gets too high for you, then just stop, okay, and then join when your voice is capable of doing the heights that I'm playing. And again, this, this kel you can work with any kind of like fall consonant, whatever you like. Okay, let's go. Attention on your tongue. Tongue relaxes. Now let's start to roll their shoulders. On my notes, we need to stay on then. One more. Right. What's your head? Right and left. Relaxation in your name, your voice at all? Well, I should stay floating. And the last one. Great. Now we're gonna do one more skill with this one. You will see now, okay. Like, really like edge in SG&A. Think about your tongue, whatever IL-4, forward. Tuck your chin again. Try not to think about the position of your head. Try to have your head natural position. Freely move. We're going to do the last one. I have one more scaffold. Your this is the last one. And with this one we're gonna, we're gonna actually wave. Okay? Because also with this one we open up ourselves and we're gonna do okay, hey, it's like you want to wave to somebody and call them. Okay. When your shoulders, your jaw here and done its job really likes your job. Was done. And the last one. 8. Vocal warm up - FEMALE: Hi girls. This is a short vocal warm-up for you. First we're gonna do five tone humming. And we're going to move our tongue right and left. This. Moving your tongue. You're going to start turning right and left. You're moving your tongue and you're moving your head. Little multitasking. It's really good. And I still moving airtime, an exercise. Last one. Great. Now we're gonna do this exercise. With this one. You can do any scale that you like the most. So you can do you can do or you can do. I don't care. Whatever you feel. It's great for advice you can do, okay? And I'll give you small tips when you do it. Let's start. Now we're going to start to roll our shoulders. So on the high notes, we want to stay relaxed. They're folder gets too heavy for you, then stop and then drawing on the way back. Roll the shoulders. Right? Now starting to think about your jaw. Relax your jaw. Relaxed, filling in it, and try not to tense. And when you have finals, this one, we're going to start to move your head right? Totally relaxed. And this doesn't affect her voice at all. And the last one. Now we're gonna do a longer scale. Ones are hard for yourself. Staying relaxed. We're going to start to, You can do it on or, or any other consonant and vowel. And we're going to start with rolling our shoulders. Let's go. Let's roll your shoulders. Now. We're gonna put our head around. So again, we're doing a little multitask. Shoulders, slide and stone. Still rolling our shoulders. I know it's the brain so that we stay open. I'll think about your tongue relaxes and your mind starts to feel it on what is going on freely or is it relax? And ten, right, I hope you relaxed. Now we're gonna do another scale. There's gonna be shorter. And we're going to do next in a name, name, name. Try to be really nasty like naming, naming them. And then also with this nastiness, we need to keep our body relax. So we have two tensions like here. We have nesting mean in a, in here we don't want attention. Meaning name, name, name. So now you're going to open your arms. Nesting. One more. Stay open. Now think about your jaw. Relax it in your mind. Relax your jaw. Last one. Awesome. Now we're gonna do the last scale. And with this one we're going to wave here. Also when we're waving to somebody, we're kinda open. It's hard to do. Yeah. Okay. So I'll do this to you and you weigh back to me. Let's go. Stale. Doesn't matter how high it is. Now, relax your jaw. Now think about your tongue. Stay open. Next year. 9. Conclusion: Wow, we're already at the end of this course. I'm really happy to stay with me. Now I give you a short project that you can do and you will take a small piece of paper and just write on this piece of paper, this for body parts. So you're going to write tongue, jaw, neck, shoulders. And then when you train singing, when you sing songs are the scales. I just have this paper somewhere and you know, when you see it, then you can become aware of this body parts that we're, we're talking about. And this will put your body and your voice. I everyday in a better balance. I will be really happy if you write me some questions, comments, reviews, and I can't wait to see you in my next course. Bye.