Sing Without Tension – Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy


Hey guys, welcome back again to Ken Tamplin
Vocal Academy, where the proof is in the singing! Today I want to give you three easy tips on
how to sing without strain. But I want to clear a couple of things that
are in the air that I see on the Internet that are a little wacky, and I’ll explain
to you what I mean. The first thing is that if someone gives you
a tip for something, it should always be with a view towards how you’ll be able to use
it with a practical application for singing. Okay? So the very first thing, tip number one is
make sure that you if get information from someone, that that someone can show you how
to really use it in a song, it’s not just some zany exercise that you do to do something
that you won’t be able to use in real songs, okay? But within that tip, I want to discuss breath
control and abdominal strength. Now I just saw one artist/vocal coach say
that tension starts from the ground, and builds its way up. Well, that’s true, in part. But I don’t want to confuse the words strength
and tension. So it gives this idea that any time there’s
any kind of, you know, work that has to be done in the abdomen, that could be construed
as “tension”. It’s patently false. In fact, your abdomen, and your core, and
your diaphragm is the very engine that drives your car for singing. So without this strength, you will not be
able to sing well and you will not be able to release tension throughout the rest of
the body. Now let me explain to you what I mean, because
we’re going to go through three steps with this. So the first one, again is make sure that
if you’re getting a tip from someone that they can show how well they sing, and they can demonstrate it in a song and not just in a scale or some weird exercise, but something that can be
practical, okay? So when we go to take this breath, let’s
not confuse strength with tension. OK? That’s very, very important. So we’ve discussed the abdominal breath
and I’m going to take this breath really quick, and I want you guys to do this with
me. So do you see my whole abdominal cavity here,
and as I go to take a breath I’m going to breathe in, and we’ve done this before… I’m going to go (inhales) there’s my breath
in… There’s my breath out… There’s my breath in… There’s my breath out… Now if you notice, you see my rib cage. My rib cage is actually not collapsing like
this. It’s staying in an expanded state. So I’m not huffing and puffing and closing
down the rib cage or collapsing the rib cage, so, you can see it from a front angle… See that big balloon of air? Now, people can make this big balloon of air,
and really it not be that effective. Just because I’m huffing in and out, I’m
not really gaining any strength in the sound. So what I want you to do in this first tip,
is I want you to go like this: take in your breath… And go Huh! Huh! Huh! Huh! Huh! Huh! Huh… Okay? Now! If you feel like it’s starting to bind up,
yes, then, it is starting to create tension. Get your fingers in there. Just kind of grind in your stomach just a
little bit… Work out what ever details that are in here… Right? And make sure that you can have this ebb and
flow of this breath that you’re taking… You can take the breath. Eventually you’re going to get to where
you can take the breath like this, and you go… Huh, huh, huh, huh, huh, huh…. And you’ll be able to have this ebb and
flow. Now, why is this important? What’s important to understand is that it’s
this breath that gives us the strength to go “Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” You know, to get these crazy notes, and to
do these crazy things. Now, I’m a baritone, as you know, and I’ve
increased my range to do some pretty awesome stuff, I think, awesome, it’s a relative term or word… Awesome fun for me. But it’s because of this strength that I
have been able to actually relax my chest. And to relax my neck. And to relax my throat. Now the second thing was posture, as we discussed
posture. And again I just saw this vocal coach that’s,
you know they have this kind of rolling sensation, where there’s this teapot thing going on… You know there are some yoga exercises that
are great for relieving different spinal tension and different neck tension, and we don’t
have time to go into all of that. Tip number two is NOT to get the spine tipped. We don’t want to tip the spine in any direction. We don’t want to tip the spine forward. In fact, you’re going to note that when
you sit, you lose up to 30% of your abdominal strength, and therefore you can start to mount
tension, because you can’t get enough strength to accomplish some of the things that you
want to accomplish. If you want to sing high or sing with a good
robust sort of sound, you have to really focus on NOT moving the body. That doesn’t mean be stiff. That’s not what I’m saying. But not tipping the spine, because once you
tip the spine in a certain direction, especially forward, you actually lose control of abdominal
strength. So that’s tip number two. Don’t tip the spine in any direction. Don’t get tight or tense on it, but maintain
a straight-on position. The third thing is: Tongue Placement, or Jaw and Tongue Placement. Relaxation… It’s called the mandible. So relaxing the mandible and the jaw. Now, to stick my tongue out and go augh, like this is actually a mounting for tension in the tongue. Now, a lot of people have seen my tongue,
and go, and they’ll kind of see it protrude out of my mouth. That’s because I’ve learned how to relax the tongue so much. It’s kind of like a lizard tongue, where it pulls away from the back
of the throat. Now the best thing that I can tell you guys,
first is “Ping is King!” That nice, bright ping in the voice… Is the most important, and really the most
valuable thing that grows the voice. So within “Ping is King” there’s a phrase
that I’ve coined, it’s called “It’s the Lah!!! AHH!!!” And it’s that AH, like the Doctor wants
to see your tonsils in the back of your throat. So you might even get a little tongue depressor
or something and kind of gently push down on the back of your tongue to create the maximum
amount of space. But we don’t want our tongues protruding
out of our mouth, and we don’t want that because it’s actually going to contribute
to jaw tension. Now we can kind of go (moves jaw side-to-side)
you know, just kind of relax the jaw, kinda you know, just tilt the neck and do a couple
of these, you know, like this to kind of release some of that tension… But we don’t want to do any exercises where
we’re actually singing, because when we sing and we go back, it actually cuts air
off from the trachea, and we move forward it also cuts air off, and it also constricts
the airflow that goes in, past the epiglottis, down and out of the mouth and through the
larynx, which is our voicebox. Now, I’m going to do “its the Lah!! Ahh!” So this is tip number three, you want “AHHH! AHHH!!” And you want your tongue to be flush to the
base of your jaw. And you want the back of your throat to be
as Open as possible, like think if you were drinking a glass of water or yawning… Now yawning was correct. There’s one thing that this person said
that was correct about yawning. It is a yawning sensation. But it’s like the Doctor wants to see your
tonsils: “AHHH! LAHHH!” Now, with a view towards that, when we do
these exercises, and we’ll run through a couple of them here real quick, we actually want
to concentrate on having the abdominal cavity do all of our work for us, because it’s
the engine that drives our car, and a relaxation response in the chest, the neck, and the throat. And that’s why we don’t collapse the rib
cage. So the rib cage stays expanded, so that doesn’t
contribute to tension in the chest, neck, and throat. So let’s go through a couple of these. Now I want to do that little huffing exercise. I want to try this scale. Now I know, it’s a little complicated. It’s not going to be easy, and by the way,
I don’t believe there’s a lazy man’s way to ANYTHING if you want to get good. OK? Now I’m not saying that there aren’t simple,
effective things that you can do, but in my world, and the way that I believe, if you
want to be great at anything, you really need to spend some time with it, and the more time
you can spend with it, the better you’ll be. OK? So, guys and girls, I’m going to start right here on “A” and it’s going to be an old Bel Canto scale, and I’m going to break it down really simply, but I want you to take your breath… “Ha, ha-ah-ah, ha-ah-ah, ha-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah…” And I’m not going to go through the whole scale, it’s actually long. I’ll do the whole scale so you know what it is. But I want you to notice the breath. Here when I go to do this. Now watch my tummy. Here I go. Ha, ha-ah-ah, ha-ah-ah
Ha, ha-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-hah OK? Now, I want to have that relaxation response in the abdomen, because it’s a lot like when you’re doing a dumbbell. Let’s say you’re in a gym, and you’ve got a bar bell going on, right? Now, you don’t want your relaxing spot to
be like this, and you’re holding on like this! No, you want to relax. Once you’ve done your reps, you want
to just kind of chill and relax, right?. Then you want to do your next set of reps. Well, so it is with the ebb and flow of the
abdomen and the whole diaphragmatic cavity. Now, let me go ahead, we’re going to move
this up the food chain, will do a couple of these… “Lah. Hah-ah-ah. Take your breath. Hah-ah-ah. Take your breath again Hah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah. Hah-ah-ah, Hah-ah-ah… Did you hear that? Let’s do the next one… (Repeats, a step higher) Is your mouth wide open? Not to where the jaw gets tension in the jaw,
but enough to where the doctor can see the tonsils in the back of your throat, is your
tongue dropped to the base of the jaw? Let’s do another one… “Lah- ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah….” Now, I’m going to do one more, and I’m
going to put those of you who want to expand this, this scale is actually pretty long. It goes like this:
“Lah, ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah…” And you can feel that yawning Lah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhhh! Each time you go up to get to a note, that
yawning sensation that will lift that soft palate, and lift the uvula in the back of
your throat to create the maximum amount of space in the back of the throat. Now, remember: “PING IS KING!” So make sure you have that nice, bright “AHH!” And you’re not going uhhh, uhhh… That’s one more thing I’d like to add
about, I just saw, again, this video where their mouth was going “oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh….” We don’t want to train closed vowels. It’s called a covered sound, and it’s
very hard to get pitch, and it’s very hard to get good range out of covering a sound. So what I like to do, I like to train things
I know that I’m going to put in the game. In the game of singing, okay? I don’t want to train things that I know that
I’m going to have to redo or rework later. I want to use techniques and things that are
going to really benefit me in my singing. So, if you guys enjoyed that, please like
and subscribe to my channel, that would be awesome! And I’ve got more coming your way, and until
next time: Peace… Out!

100 Replies to “Sing Without Tension – Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy”

  1. if i could give this video 10 billion likes! i would, thanks for sharing you knowledge with us
    you are the best!!
    just have one question can you Please tell us more about closure vocal damage and that "PING" sound! , im practicing as you say but should the voice should be comfortablly ping or how much effort is applied?
    i feel like i use more concious effort to produce that ping tone and closure using the 'open throat technique', i want that robust chest vibrating voice with comfortable ease; it was close to that before i think i jave vocal damage

    Thanks so much for elaborating on the open throat technique!
    thanks for reading this far ☺
    you are a god!!!

  2. Dude, I love these vids! So helpful for me. I have a weak voice…because I’ve been doing it wrong. Thank you! God Bless!

  3. Ken, as a drummer who does some singing, obviously I’m sitting down. Are the techniques the same? Posture, etc. Thanks

  4. Ken, I have always been taught to tense my abdominal when I sing instead of breathing it out. I find your breathing exercise super hard. How do I get better at this, and is what I have been taught the wrong thing (Sissing like a snake and have your muscles expand)

  5. Hi Ken I have a problem when I try to sing a noise like 'arhhh arrhhh' came from my throat. Any solution for this ?

  6. I have always admire those with musical talent, vocal skills in particular, but never pursued learning for myself. Now, I am devoting myself to vocal training and have found it is way harder than I ever thought it to be. It only makes me appreciate talented vocalist that much more. Thank you for offering your knowledge so generously to those of us seeking to improve! Much appreciated.

  7. Excellent job! Vocal training alone was a rocky and frustrating path for myself. Luckily, I didn't cause irreparable damage to my esophagus. Thanks for these tips! New sub here! 🙂

  8. Great video, but the audio was flickering from left to right a lot whilst you were speaking. Sounds like the microphone is picking up reverb off the walls, which is causing the delayed audio to sound like your voice is quickly flicking from left to right and back again.

  9. Hello and thanks for your video. I've been singing since I was a child with sporadic lessons throughout the years. I've been told I sing from my jaw. Sometimes when I sing, I experience vocal fatigue from not singing properly, I suspect. I've been told I have a decent voice but sometimes I doubt it. I want to know your opinion about singing and experiencing vocal tension. If I learn to sing without tension I feel I will lose my sound or my range if that makes sense. Any thoughts? Thanks.

  10. I think I get it, at least I'm starting to get it. As I went up, I started to feel some tension around A4. With these advices, maybe I can reach C5 with minimal tension at my vocal cords. I'll practice more.
    After practice, my muscles hurt, but my voice is still strong, so I guess I did it correctly. 😀
    Thanks for the video!
    Btw, If I start to lose my power from C3, but can go down to G2 then I'm a baritone right?

  11. I did the breathing while sitting and I was getting it and it worked kinda fine.. but then I tried it standing up and oh boi… it was like I need to learn from the top.. hahaha

  12. That's so cool if you take the m out of your name you would be named my hometown in West Virginia

  13. Yo ken I feel like this is a dumb question but when you talk about and other people in videos talk about how there shouldn't be any strain in singing, but I'm a new singer and trying to learn but there still is strain in my throat. Now is that normal and I just need to practice or am I doing something wrong

  14. Good evening sir.I love to sing but I discovered that I use fake voice and I also strain my voice mostly with high tone. What will I do sir?I need your help. It is really embarrassing whenever I am singing with my group .thanks in advance

  15. Great video, I found the breathing tip very useful. Also, when doing the latter exercise, I found myself yawning? Is this a natural reaction?

  16. Tbh when I first watched your videos, I was like "pff this isn't gonna help me!" But I started to watch more and it started to make sense! You are actually really good help and I'm getting so much better at singing

  17. You must be raking in the dough!-Ha-Ha. I am referring to your wealth of knowledge. I have been watching your videos and follow what you say . It took a while but now I like the way my voice sounds! Roughly, how many videos have you made I want to watch all of them.

  18. I laughed more than I need to at 3:10 lol, but was stunned right after when you belted with strength. I immediately understood the need for great breath control for life and wellness. I've wanted to learn how to sing my entire life and only recently begun to sing, albeit karaoke with my family. But I am very much interested now and want to study the art. Thanks for making making these videos available for all to learn and enjoy!

  19. When I stand straight up without my spine being bent, I can't get as much air for some reason. What might i be doing wrong?

  20. Great video.But 1 thing I think is very important before singing is to learn how to talk properly. If you cant talk good why do you think you can sing great. Proper projection of words is very important.

  21. Hello! I am trying to increase my range using my chest voice, but I am not sure if I am straining. I have been singing songs that are higher than usual for me, and I have noticed that it has gotten easier, but I don’t know if I am straining because once I get higher into my chest voice whether I use vibrato or not, I start getting raspy. After a while of singing it feels like my throat is getting a tired feeling.

    If I am straining, how do I increase my chest voice range without straining?

  22. I'm extremely new to singing and whenever I breathe from my diaphragm I feel like I'm going to pass out. Is that normal?

  23. one I can't hold my breath for long but I know I have a hi tone when singing some times I go flat how can u help me plz I love singing than anything and I want to go for the top talent show and the four contest to become a star and a singer I know its a hard word but I am ready to pay the price to get there any help plz waiting for thanks

  24. am agree with some things, am a opera singer and some advices are very similar to the opera…. good vibes from Torreón, México!!

  25. Woah!😮 awesome…. Very informative… I can sing but i sing with my throat… Now i know what is the proper way of singing and i will apply your techniques… Thanks for the tutorials Sir! 😃 I'm a new subscriber 😀

  26. Hi. Any tips on breath control of any such when singing while standing playing an acoustic guitar? I'm finding that the guitar is prohibiting my breathing a little. And I'm then singing more from my throat. Thanks.

  27. I suck at singing for real like im one of those people who would annoy the ears of the judges in american idol, anybody for that matter. If i really start practicing from the very first step how long will it take for me to sing at least decent lol?

  28. Taking deep breaths while standing straight up puts pressure on my spine, can anyone help me know what I’m doing wrong

  29. What would you say to someone who has an "Essential Tremor" that effects their voice?
    A lot of what you said in this video is really appropriate. As tensing muscles causes the tremor to increase.

  30. This is interesting I’ve always been taught to not allow my stomach come in. I was told to contract my lower back muscles and diaphragm to release air

  31. I don't know how I ended up here, I am 26, just started taking singing lessons and I have been practicing daily for at least an hour. I'm still in the stage that I think I will never sound good, hahaha, let's see if a few years from now, hopefully, that changes. Thank you so much for your videos, they compliment really well with what I am taught in class. <3

  32. Oh man your exercises are awesome. But i can't practice in home because of my family💔and i don't have a place to go for and practice 💔💔. I just try to sing quietly hiding in the bathroom 😂💔.

  33. This is awesome! I'm joining the academy very soon. Saving up and should be in by the end of the month. Can't wait!

  34. I have an overbite and a huge tongue that touches the roof of my mouth and this blocks sound from coming out.
    This occurs especially on the vowel i and e.

    Just joined a church choir where there are lots of "I" and "E" vowels and sounds.

    Any videos on this? I cannot drop the back of my tongue to be flat like yours

  35. Hello there, is there a possibility that im doing the diafragm part already unconsciously? I don't actually know how to breathe from chest anymore ahhaha. One more thing. Should i sing always like this? In all kinds of voices, head chest etc?

  36. Thank you you’re so wonderful. A true gift. I’m starting to think after a long time not singing maybe there is hope and it’s not too late for me. I will watch all your videos and see what progress I can make to build up my voice. It’s sad to go silent when singing and songwriting have been such important part of my life.
    I started a listening room for songwriters to play only their original music called Café Artiste at the Jersey Shore Arts Center I livestream performances and post on our Facebook page. I’d love to have you do a seminar on the voice. Looking forward to this journey step by step 🎶🙏🏻

  37. That was the best explanation of how to sing for real I heard yet. So your stomach is the engine, and what you aim for is to put the work in to make your ride as comfortable as possible. Got it! Ty.

  38. Nice video. that's for that! now i'm going to watch all of your vides 🙂 im about to go touring wint my band and I want to be as prepared as possible!

  39. I love your videos Ken! they are so helpful ( I am not a singer) but a medical interpreter and my voice is soooooo in vocal rest!!!

  40. Merci beaucoup mon  professeur, tu enseigne merveilleusement bien, c'est tellement claire et tu as une trés belle voix, Merci infiniment.

  41. Ken i just want to thank you for all the blessings…¡Its a honor learning with you! You are the best off all the vocal couches i haved seen alredy, so i will get your course…. Thats a willin i chose to make happen. Just want to thank you…and lettin you know that i am form México-Querétaro….SALUDOS Ken

  42. I always strain regardless of the exercise or technique 🙁 I try my best to support with the diaphragm and keep everything as relaxed as possible but I am still unable to sing without strain. I think it has been almost a year and I am struggling to get the basics down which is stopping me from developing my vocal range. My singing range has improved but I am sure that I still singing with strain since my throat is fatigued after vocal exercises.

  43. Don’t lie, you are hiding a well built abdomen like that of a bodybuilder under that shirt isn’t it?? 😜
    Great lesson

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