What is the “Magic Uh Vowel”?


This is one of the best singing tips I give to my students, the Magic “Uh” Vowel. The most natural vowel we can make is the “Uh” vowel. It requires very little muscle use and keeps the larynx in a lowered position. Try mixing in an “Uh” vowel with another vowel you may have difficulty singing. This will keep the throat open and give you more power and less constriction. 

Think of any instrument. The reason an instrument makes a certain sound is because of the way it is shaped. A trumpet makes a very tinny, brassy sound while a tuba has a deeper, more mellow sound. The same applies to the voice with one critical difference: Our throat and mouth can change shape at any time. Manipulating and controlling these shapes is the backbone of vocal training.

But what if we are completely relaxed? What sound will we make if our mouth and vocal tract have no tension? The answer is “uh.” Have you ever swam too deep in a body of water and after starting to swim to the surface, you realize you might run out air? What’s the first sound you make after reaching the surface? In a race to take in as much air as possible, you breathe in on an “UUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHH”!

When perfect relaxation of the mouth and vocal tract create an “uh” vowel, we can use this to alleviate unwanted tension when we’re trying to sing a difficult note. No matter which vowel we are singing, carefully integrating “uh” will lower the larynx and make it easier to sing. When faced with a vowel that tends to raise the larynx, like an “Ee” or “Eh” vowel, I have students mix it with “Uh.” So if they sing the word “red” and the larynx rises, I have them mix in “uh” with the “eh” to form more of a “r (eh+uh) d” sound. This immediately drops the larynx. Finding the right formula is the key, though. If not mixed properly, your audience will hear “rud.”

When practicing this technique, take your time. Mastering it will not come easy but the rewards are endless!

©2020 SeanyMac Studios, Sean Oliver All rights reserved.

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