The Tongue!

Three or four years ago when I first took the Estill Voice course I wanted to learn about belting and how to teach it safely to my Theatre Arts students at MacEwan University.  What I came to realize was that learning to belt was making me a better tenor! So one of the big ideas that came out of this exploration was that I needed to get my tongue higher. What do I mean by this?  When you say the letter Y as in yesterday or yee, you should experience what I mean by a high tongue.  It feels like the sides of the tongue are rubbing up against the molars.  When I do this I feel a shift in my larynx like an opening up.  This feeling is very important to belting and you should maintain it all the time!  Now the trick is to feel this tongue position in all the vowels. You should notice that the ah vowel is more forward.  Maintain that while you round your lips for oh.  For oo say ew like you are grossed out by something.  But I think this tongue position is important for baritones as well.  A low flat tongue is sometimes taught by classical teachers and I think that this inherently causes tension.  A released tongue is high, fat and a little forward.  For me I especially feel it release when I feel it fat or wide rubbing against the upper molars.  I love calling it Lea Michelle tongue.  So here she is…