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 following You Tube videos to see just how wide the divas and divos of the world are opening their mouths while singing (skip to later in the video to see “Open Open”): Idina Menzel, “Defying Gravity” (you can skip to the end) – http://youtu.be/MslDnwerQRA, Josh Groban “You Raise Me Up” – http://youtu.be/Beloi9yluaI, Christina Aguilera “Hurt” – http://youtu.be/KJzQCWQF6zE, Mick Jagger and David Bowie “Dancing in the Streets” (hilarious video from who knows how many years ago) – http://youtu.be/9G4jnaznUoQ, Stevie Wonder “Isn’t She Lovely” – http://youtu.be/8r92A7ndnZk
- Sing a little something in the mirror.
- Compare how open your mouth is to theirs.
- Try to get it to match.
- Feel the weirdness.
- Try to emulate the weird, “Opera Open” feeling every time you sing.
Let me know how you make out!