Next to learning good intonation, I consider this is the number one thing that 99.99999% of beginning singers need to learn: get your mouth open!
Dana Shelton calls it “Opera Open.” I love it!
The issue is that beginning singers are just not USED to having their mouths open that big and wide – except for maybe the dentist and when yawning, and you’re usually not talking or singing during either of those activities. So it feels really weird, and you’re sure you look like a horse.
Try this exercise:
- Check out one or more of the You Tube videos below to see just how wide the divas and divos of the world are opening their mouths while singing. You might need to skip to later in the video to see “Open Open.”
- Sing a little something in the mirror. You have to do this in the mirror.
- Compare how open your mouth is to theirs.
- Try to get it to match. DO THIS IN THE MIRROR!! You will think you are opening your mouth, but you’re probably not. You should be able to fit two fingers widths between your teeth.
- Feel the weirdness.
- Try to emulate the weird, “Opera Open” feeling every time you sing on the open vowel “ah.”
Let me know how you make out!