How to Stop Singing Through Your Nose

On Singing Nasally

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The term “sing through your nose,” is equivalent to saying someone has a nasally tone. The voice sounds whiny and unpleasant. Singers with a nasally tone are unable to blend easily in a choir and the voice sounds muted. Luckily, this unpleasant condition is easily remedied with a little practice and understanding.

Main Cause of Nasally Tone Is Air Going Through Nose

For those who sound nasal, air is coming through the nose caused by limited space in the back of the throat. Space is created by lifting the soft palate or velum, located on the roof and back of the mouth, and flattening the tongue. Otherwise the nasal port is allowed to stay open and air exits through both the mouth and nose. A nasally and muffled tone increases when more air is allowed to escape through the nose.

How to Tell If Air Is Passing Through Nose

If you can’t sing comfortably when you have a stuffed nose, then you probably sing through your nose to some extent. For a more immediate test, press your nostrils together while you sing. If air seeps out, pressure will build under your fingers. Continue practicing with closed nostrils while attempting to reduce the pressure. In time, you will find a way to rid yourself of a nasally sound.

Lift Soft Palate to Keep Air From Going Through Nose

Imagine the back of your mouth wide open when singing. You can think of an egg caught in that space or create the same feeling as when you sigh or yawn. Close your eyes and pretend to smell a rose. Your soft palate lifts and the tongue flattens in the back. After identifying how it feels to create space in the back of the throat, the next step is to apply it to singing. Imitate the feeling while singing and then practice, practice, practice. Remember old habits die hard, so be patient.

Nasal Vowel and Consonants Require Air to Go Through Nose

A few consonants require air to go through the nose in order for them to be pronounced properly. In English, they are: m as in man, n as in nanny, ng as in sing. In order for your singing to be understandable and beautiful, nasal consonants must be pronounced with a bit of duration. In French, in particular, the nasal vowels require a singer to allow air to go through their nose for longer periods of time.

Pressed Phonation Contributes to a Nasally Tone

Truly nasal singing is always associated with air coming through the nose, and a pressed phonation can contribute to a nasally tone. A pressed tone is caused by pushing too much air pressure through the vocal cords. The experience is similar to clapping your hands together so hard they hurt. Your voice tires quickly. The jaw juts slightly forward and with enough pressure some air escapes into the nose. Typically it is a very loud and penetrating sound and is also easily corrected.

Correct Pressed Phonation By Adding Breath

A simple exercise to correct pressed phonation is to sing on a comfortable note with a very unsupported “ah.” The tone should be breathy. Sing “ah” several times adding more and more breath pressure until the tone is no longer breathy. You reached a perfected balanced phonation. Continue to sing “ah” a few times adding more breath pressure and note the tension it causes. Now find that perfect balance again and practice singing that way.

Allergies and Nasal Congestion Are a Challenge

Constant congestion causes hyper-awareness of the nasal passages. Sometimes people develop a nasally tone in their speech, which becomes so habitual it takes more effort to eliminate when singing. It is important to seek professional medical help in cases of chronic congestion.