Nasal resonance in singing is often something we want. That clean ring to a sound helps to carry it and make it beautifully clear. However, nasality, the nasal sound that often afflicts some singers is usually not what we want. Here are some ways to remedy this problem:
1. Release tension in your voice. Nasality is usually due to the vocal chords squeezing together, rather than the singer thinking about singing through his or her nose. Release tension through massage, breathing exercises, lip trills or other vocal warmups.
2. Use more nasal resonance! I know, sounds counter productive, right? But by singing into your mask (or cheekbones, bridge of nose and surrounding facial structure), you are taking the weight off of the chords and refocusing the brunt of the work where it should be. Try humming or other forward resonance exercises.
3. Where’s your tongue? Check the position of your tongue while singing in a mirror. If it is raised in the back or retracting into the throat it can be causing nasality in the sound.
4. Yawn! Yawning raises the soft palate which creates space in the throat. It also lowers the larynx if it has raised too high, which often occurs on higher pitches in the singer’s range.
5. Breathe. Make sure your breathe is supporting your sound so the vocal chords can relax and move freely.
6. Create space in your mouth. Shape your vowels properly with your lips and ensure the tip of the tongue is behind the bottom teeth.
7. Stretch the facial muscles. In my lessons I give students facial exercises designed to relax the lips, tongue and jaw. All of these affect your sound.
Most importantly, relax! Singing should be easier than you think. Focus on having a loose body and enjoying what you are doing. The rest will follow.