Treating Nasal singing
Recently I sent in the follow request for help:
> A high school director and friend asked me for help in solving a problem. In
> his words: our HS boys are still plagued by a strain of nasality. I had
> offered some help during an All-State choir rehearsal, and plan to give some
> other suggestions.
> Would you mind sharing your ideas on the problem and solutions/vocalizations
> that you have found successful?
Here are the responses I received:
> Warmups are crucial to getting boys to get rid of their "pop-style"
> nasality. Address the following problems in this order:
> 1) Vertical space in mouth. Get the boys to think of their voice as
> a musical instrument, like a trumpet. When they open their mouth
> like a yawn or as if they were eating a bigmac, their soft palatte is
> instantly up and gets rid of some of that nasal sound. Use lots of
> different warmups to achieve this goal.
> 2) Get their sound in front of their bottom lip. If our soft palatte is
> up, then they should try to feel their sound vibrating on their lower
> lip. Start your warmups with men on a humm or buzzing lips
> works great if they can do it.
> 3) Bring their tongue forward and down. A lot of boys have what i
> call a "pendulum" curve to their tongue which makes their sound
> more nasal. Using a five-note ascending or descending scale on
> any open syllable, have them bring their tongue literally out of their
> mouth so they can see each other. This gets their tongue to relax
> eventually and gets rid of any curve on their tongue. This is also a
> silly way to get started and have a fun but productive rehearsal.
> The best thing to remember with boys is that they are very
> competitive. This is both good and bad. Good for the fact that
> they will try just about anything, but you just don't want them to
> overdo a few things which creates tension.
> Try having the students pinch their nose closed while singing vowels...have
> them experiment in moving the placement so that there is no nasal resonance
> and then so that there is the 'plugged nose' sound.
> I have had occasional success with having the student vocalize on an "ng"
> sound, like the one at the end of the word "song". This often exaggerates
> the problem, which can be the result of a low palate. Then I have him change
> on a sustained note from "ng" to "ah" with various instructions, metaphors
> and images to get him to lift past his accustommed way of singing. This
> takes frequent reminders and reinforcement as well as patience on everyone's
Thanks for your help,
Doug Bachorik, Jr.
Doug & Ruth Bachorik
missionaries to the Philippines
531 W. Alcott Ave.
Fergus Falls, MN 56537