If you want to improve your vocal tone I recommend that you work on raising your soft palate. I used to have a rather nasal sound to my voice and I always tried to sing with a fuller tone but I did not know how. That was until a teacher many years ago suggested I work on raising my soft palate!
This tip took my voice from thin and nasal to a much fuller tone without nasality. In this blog post I will pass on the knowledge and answer the questions: What is the soft palate? What are the benefits of raising it? and, How do you raise your soft palate?
Practice Raising Your Soft Palate Together With Me in This Video.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0q1QiMN1-s&w=560&h=315]
Related: Vocal Exercise Videos
3 Benefits of Raising Your Soft Palate
Raising your soft palate will help you:
- get rid of nasality
- create room in your oral cavity to resonate a full tone in your voice
- it helps you sing higher pitches by creating more space in your mouth.
Related: How to Add Resonance to Your Voice
What is the Soft Palate?
On the roof of your mouth the bony part in the front is your hard palate and the soft part in the back is… well your soft palate 🙂 the thing that hangs down from the soft palate is your velum.
When you soft palate is lowered you can breathe through your nose and when it is raised you close of the “nasal port”, as we call it, and you only breathe through your mouth. This also means that your sound cannot enter your nose, and you can see here why raising you palate will help you get rid of nasality (see illustration below).
The 2 Best Exercises to Help You Raise Your Soft Palate
Feel Your Soft Palate Raise:
You are going to feel your soft palate raise with your thumb so wash you hands (or at least you thumb).
- Touch the roof of your mouth right behind your front teeth to feel you hard palate.
- Move your thumb back until you feel your soft palate – not too far. We do not want you to gag.
- Now yawn to feel your soft palate raise. You can also inhale quickly as if you were surprised. That usually also raises the soft palate.
Hear your Soft Palate Raised: Ok now lets practice making sound with your soft palate raised.
- Say, and hold out the sound, “hang” so that all your sound comes out through your nose.
- Now switch to an “ah” sound so that all your sound comes out your mouth.
- Check that you were able to make the transition by plugging you nose with your thumb and index finger. If you were able to raise your soft palate the the sound should not change. If you feel you nose fill with air you need to raise your soft palate further.
How much Should I Raise my Soft Palate?
As with everything you can also overdo it. Meaning you can over raise your soft palate to the point where you are singing in a big yawn and actually straining your voice. Only lift your soft palate to the point where you feel your voice become more open and you are able to get rid of nasality.
Doing the singer’s smile usually helps my students get there soft palate to a good place. Smile from within to raise your cheeks and eyebrows. This usually helps you lift your soft palate the right amount.
I hope that was helpful and that you were able to feel your soft palate lift, and hear a difference in your voice. Please share your experience below and ask any questions you might have. I love to geek out on that stuff 🙂
Related blog posts: 3 Ways To Tell If You Are Straining Your Voice When You Sing