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[Singing] The Mask

category: Music | course: Singing | difficulty:

It sounds like some sort of superhero or supervillain, but I have to disappoint you. The mask is something that is used when teaching about vocal placement. The mask basically refers to the area you should place your sound, which means you should feel the sound resonate there.

A good vocal placement not only makes your sound fuller, louder and clearer – it also makes the difference between hurting yourself and not getting any kind of normal sound, and singing freely.

Where is it?

The mask is exactly where the name suggests:  at the front of your face, the area around your eyes.

But, you must realize that the eyes are placed more to the back of the head than your mouth or nose. It is important to place your sound forward, but you shouldn’t mistake it for placing the sound near your nose (as this creates a nasal, country-like tone). On the other hand, placing the sound all the way in the back of your throat is also not exactly preferred.

Balance

As you see, it is kinda tricky to get the placement right, but you’ll know it when you have it. It just feels free, relaxed and strong. You should feel the sound resonate around the mask area, and nowhere else.

How do I get the sound there?

Practice, exercises and good vocal technique will in the long run get the sound more towards the spot.

But, there are tricks that help some people out. Not all of them, and you should not use them if they create too much tension:

  • Weirdly enough, some people can just put the sound there. You can just imagine the sound being pushed into that area, a bit up and a bit forward. Then you can just push the sound a bit towards that spot. I don’t really recommend it, but it works for some.
  • Singing to the top of your head: Put a hand on your head (or not, if you think that looks too embarrassing). Now try to sing to your hand/the top of your head, without forcing it. Just try to let the air go more towards the top of your head, and you should feel it resonate more and your soft palate should lift. Once you get the right feeling, you know what it feels like and can use it to determine when your placement is wrong and when it is right.
  • Singing falsetto: Singing in a light falsetto that is comfortable for most people requires the sound to be in the mask area.
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