A Voice Exercise: Stretching Your Tongue

A Voice Exercise: Stretching Your Tongue


Any reliable program of voice exercise will
address tension, and there tend to be three main areas of tension in the body. One is
the lower back, and everyone is familiar with lower back tension. Another is the shoulders
and neck, and everyone is familiar with that type of tension. A third area is the jaw and
tongue and not many people are aware of jaw and tongue tension, so you should have at
least one voice exercise for your tongue. Tongue tension is a huge obstacle to your
voice, and it’s very prevalent. Virtually every person that walks into my office is
dealing with some level of tongue tension and most don’t even know it. Tongue tension
can make your voice weak, constricted and easily tired. It can make your voice sound
high or even nasal. Not to mention making your more prone to mumbling, so here is one
voice exercise for your tongue. Keep in mind your tongue is a fairly large muscle. It’s
not just this part, that’s just the front of your tongue, what you call the “blade”
of the tongue. Your tongue muscle goes all the way down to a point just above your larynx,
so all this is tongue muscle. If you’re going to relax your tongue you need to stretch
not just the blade of the tongue, but the root of your tongue as well. Always do this
voice exercise with a mirror. Anchor the tip of your tongue behind your lower front teeth
and keep it there. Then roll the rest of your tongue as far forward as possible, like a
big, cresting wave. The tip of your tongue should stay behind your lower front teeth.
The middle of your tongue should be outside your lips. You want to feel that stretch all
the way down into your throat. Hold this stretch for about ten seconds, then allow your tongue
to relax back into your mouth and notice the difference you feel. Now roll your tongue
forward again, and this time, make sure your breath continues to flow in and out of your
belly. After 10 seconds, allow your tongue to relax. Did you catch yourself holding your
breath or breathing in a tense and shallow manner? Did you notice your tongue wanting
to sneak back into your mouth when you focused on your breathing? Watch the mirror and don’t
let that happen. Keep your tongue stretched out as far as possible the whole time. Since
this is a voice exercise, add sound to the stretch. Remember to breathe into your belly,
then let go of the sound with the feeling of relief. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. You might feel your
tongue wanting to go back into your mouth when you release sound. Ahhhhhhhhh. Do not
allow it. Keep your tongue stretched forward until the sound ends. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
You might notice your voice feels more open. It might feel stronger or deeper. These are
all natural benefits of getting your tongue out of the way as it relates to your voice.
Of course you can’t give a presentation with your tongue stretching out of your mouth.
Not only would it be impossible to speak, it would make you look crazy. This is for
practice. This voice exercise reinforces the feeling of a relaxed tongue and an open vocal
passage. Over time your tongue becomes free for the production of vowels and consonants,
words and sentences without tensing up and blocking your voice every time you make a
sound. A good program of voice exercise isn’t just about the sounds you make. It must address
those sneaky areas of tension that end up blocking, distorting, and limiting your voice.
Tongue relaxation will make your voice stronger, richer, and more powerfully expressive. For
more information about vocal development and three more examples of voice exercise, visit
voiceandspeech.com and download the free report and video series The Sound of Success.

80 Replies to “A Voice Exercise: Stretching Your Tongue”

  1. OMG! I'm so grateful you uploaded this YESTERDAY! I literally have been having huge issues with tongue and jaw tension. My voice therapist that I just recently returned to seeing has introduced laryngeal massage, which I am so impressed with! But she didn't give me anything to stretch my tongue at home. This is helping me so much! And I just watch your jaw exercise one. I needed this sooooo badly! Thank you again!

  2. That's great news, Vanessa! You're very welcome. It's my pleasure to help you with this material. Make sure your voice therapist is okay with the extra exercises. We definitely wouldn't want to interfere with what she's doing. Good luck with your practice.

  3. Hey, thanks for subscribing! I'm glad you're finding the channel to be helpful, and I'm happy to help in any way possible.

  4. Has anyone ever told you that you look like Ferris Buellers dad? Haha sorry just had to say it

  5. Impressive n many thanks! This really worked on me IMMEDIATELY EFFECTIVE, voice went deeper straight away. But after a while, my voice goes back to where it was before the stretching. Wondering how often a day and how many days it usually takes to keep the effect constant and steady?

  6. I'd work on it daily for three months, then see where you're at. As with anything relating to your voice and body, it's never "accomplished and done," because your body isn't static. You'll always notice shifts in your state of being, and some days will be better than others.

  7. Thanks, Jay. Again, I'm really amazed by this stretching tongue exercise, stretched 3-4 times yesterday and 1 time this morning, kept the deeper voice for the whole day, felt like my larynx has dropped further and so far no sign of going up again.

  8. Great exercise, I can feel my tongue flexibility increasing… My jaw feels a bit tight though after doing this exercise… Is that normal? I assume that's from stretching it and holding it open. I'm a little bit concerned though that if I do this exercise frequently, my tongue is actually going to become too long for my palate and will interfere with my bite. Is this misguided to think?

  9. Good observation! It's very common for people to tense the jaw when they're doing tongue exercises, and vice versa. So pay attention to that tendency and challenge yourself to keep your jaw very passive and relaxed while stretching the tongue. I don't think you have to worry about your tongue getting too long. You're not literally stretching it, just relaxing it.

  10. Thank you Jay, amazing how the tension was released so quickly. I'm just starting to rehearse a play with some yelling and my voice hurt for 3 days. I feel hopeful with the exercise you shared here. It feels better now – that makes me think a tight tongue is part of the issue.

  11. It wouldn't surprise me. Tongue tension is often the culprit–that and squeezing the throat rather than allowing breath to power the sound. It's so important to stay open when you're working with lots of vocal energy. Most people tend to close up, and that's a recipe for trouble. I hope the play goes well.

  12. Just to make sure, this pushing your tongue out isn't supposed to be like the easiest thing ever. It takes some force, right?

  13. It's a stretch, so yes, it will involve some effort, and you should feel a certain amount of "pull" on the muscle. Just hold it for about 10 seconds, then relax and let go.

  14. It really depends on the person, the level of tension involved, and how much practice is going on. I'd like to see some progress in the first month, but if the tension is really severe, it might take longer than that. Patience is important when it comes to jaw and tongue relaxation. Sometimes those areas can be stubborn.

  15. I have a question. I find in my "relaxed state" (not thinking about how I carry my tongue) that I create negative pressure, or suction, between my tongue and soft pallet. I find that my voice is then thin and inflexible afterwards. This exercise feels like it will partially address this, but is this something you have come across previously? And if so, are there any more tongue exercises I could be doing to help this? Thank you very much

  16. I haven't heard anyone mention that before, but it sounds like your tongue is pulled back, even though it seems like that's it's relaxed state. Another exercise might be to slide your tongue forward, allowing it to rest on your lower lip while you observe it in a mirror. It should be wide, plump, flat and still. Once your tongue can relax on your lower lip, try adding sound without your tongue moving even slightly.

  17. Actually, it's a great question. I guess it would depend on the type of piercing. It might be a good idea to remove it while you're doing the exercise. Maybe someone with expertise on piercings could chime in?

  18. sir i am facing from stammering since 8years..this happens only when i get sad,busy,dipressed,tensed, anxiety during a call,outside home…please help me

  19. Awesome videos! I am also a voice coach (dealing more with singers than speakers) but the speaking voice and it's healthy use is so important for those who sing too. Your videos are excellent and the advice is the best I have seen on youtube.

    I have been using different tongue stretches and even a tongue root massaging exercise but I really like this approach to stretching it.

  20. i really have trouble now. i am vietmanese and i speak english not well , my voice so weak, and prounounciate without ending sound.. please help me , 29/6 i will have toefl ibt exam , what can i do to improve in speaking? i hope you can help thanks so much . 

  21. I've been dealing with voice problems for propably 2 months now, and after trying these I must say I had no idea how much tongue tension I had.. This is actually really helpful for my voice!
    My goddamn speech therapist didn't even bother trying to help me… Thanks for this, Jay!

  22. Sir ! I want to make my voice louder !
    would this exercise help me?
    and how many times i have to do this in a week?
    @Jay Miller

  23. Sir ! I have stammering problem,.what are the steps to be followed exercises to be done..?? What is the best video to me to get better results????

  24. Thanks @Jay Miller for the video, but does the tongue tie needs to be removed for this king of exercise, because I have tongue tie and I think it affects my speech, can you respond please 🙂

  25. great thanks, my speech pathologist gave me this exercise, but it was hard to remember how to do it.  This is great!

  26. hello jay i have had muscle tension dysphonia for 3 years and i am tired of it .i have had enough of taking botox and want my normal voice back.i can not read a paragraph without completely tightening up around my vocal folds.botox is temperory but therapy and vocal training may be the key to overcoming the problem.how long will i have to do these exercises?tounge and humming helps me or repeating paragraphs over and over again or saying aaaaaaaaaaa or eeeeeeeee.what is the benefits of breathing and tounge exercises?

  27. I hv speech problems since birth..I can't pronounce L,T,S,Sh well..L related words r so painful for me..plz suggest me something.

  28. Hi, Jay. I have a question. I have recently realized that when my mouth is closed, my tongue's base is pushed against the hard palate and the tip of the tongue behind the teeth in the upper jaw. If I were to open my mouth in this position it would show the floor of the mouth, the parts underneath the tongue, which I think is a terrible way to place my tongue. I think the tongue should always rest comfortably behind the teeth in the lower jaw. I tend to keep the same tension while singing, making it almost impossible to maintain a concave shape of the tongue while keeping it rested behind the teeth in the lower jaw, and unable to raise the soft palate while creating space for resonance as suggested. Singing seems very tiring and I feel lightheaded after a while. Even if I consciously try to rest my tongue and create the space required for a bright resonating sound (I was told to imagine if I were yawing to feel the soft palate rising and the cavity required), I find it impossible to say things let alone singing (as if a gulped down an egg). Please help, Jay. I know I am doing something wrong here.

  29. sir my voice not good but my voice come two ways one slowly and clearly another one is loudly but not clearly what can i do sir

  30. sir good morning i have strammaring problem I am not speak some letters ka .pa. ba . ga which exercises I can practise

  31. I have just discovered your videos and website. You truly personify an excellent speaking voice. Thank you for your exercises.

  32. I'm wondering about those who unlike the video what's wrong with them! At least thank him for his great effort for making this video dislike pple you suck

  33. I think I'm just wasting my money paying my speech therapist every week. This is by far better and it's free. Thanks so much for this. God bless you.

  34. I was mumbling for 10 years i think. These video helps me to solve my mumbling problem. thanks. May god bless u

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