Tag Archives: nasal singing

Vocal problem: Stuffy nose only when singing high notes

Stuffy nose when singing high notes

Stuffy nose when singing high notes

Here’s part of a question concerning an uncommon vocal problem posted online:

“It’s definitely not a cold. It’s not exactly the same feel of having something physical (for ex. mucus) in the nasal but more like a short duration tense pressure that requires more effort to breathe from the nose after singing high notes. It goes away after a couple of breathes through the nose and comes back right after the high notes again. Of course I don’t breathe from my nose when I sing, but it’s something I notice after I finish a piece or breaks between verses.” 

My answer to this post:

You’re pinching off your nasal passages when singing high (the same muscles you would use to “snort” either in or out). They will tend stay in that contracted, pinched position for a little while after the high note passages, just as you described. Some good warm-up exercises to do should include some scales or arpeggios on a hum, but drop the jaw as you sing higher, keeping the lips still touching. This will help release the muscles under the jaw. Humming necessitates the tone naturally releasing through the nose without pinching. Keep the air coming through the hum unobstructed.

Another good exercise type for your issue is to use an “ng” sound on an arpeggio of your choice with a nguh nguh nguh nguh sound. Again, it will keep the “snorting” muscles from engaging. 

These should work well for you. Happy Singing!!

Eric Bruner

Eric Bruner Vocal Studios

How do you avoid singing through your nose?


Nasally singing!

The user unacceptable love asks: How do you avoid singing through your nose?

“I sing really good. I’m doing a recording soon actually! But I tend to sing out of my nose and it has a “nasally” sound to it. So how do I avoid this sound?”

The bottom line is that your swallowing and/or bearing-down muscles think they’re helping you sing, so they are closing your throat and thereby sending the sound into the nasal cavities… but you want to know what to do about it, so…

Because you’ve got the recording coming up, I’ll give you a couple of temporary “patches” to help get those swallowing/bearing-down muscles to let go, which should then give you a less nasally sound. The things I’m going to suggest aren’t necessarily going to give you perfect finished sounds, but they should at least get you into the ballpark. Habits are hard to break, but we have to start somewhere!

First of all, if you drop your jaw into the higher notes, that will deactivate the swallowing muscles quite a bit, so that’s an easy fix on the high notes, especially on the high notes that are held out.

The next thing you can try is to make a “dopey” sound, almost dorky (like Barney the dinosaur) but say a dopey “gug” “gug” “gug” sound. It will sound a bit tubby. Now, the places in the songs that you think you sound especially nasal, practice by replacing the words of the song with that dopey gug sound, so you’ll sing the song but you’ll change all of the words to gug. Do this so that you get the feeling of singing with a lowered larynx (voice box). Once you get used to this lowered larynx feel, sing the words again, keeping in mind the more stable position of the larynx that the gugs gave you.

Finally, try plugging your nose when you sing. Sometimes plugging your nose will give you some immediate feedback as to how the sound is being directed there. Just try not to sound nasally when you sing with your nose plugged. You’ll probably feel the tone shift to coming out of the mouth like when you speak, instead of going into the nasal cavities. For some people, this works quite well.

Hopefully one or more of these will give you a little help until you can find a good teacher to work with long term.

Happy Singing!!

Happy Singing!!

Eric Bruner



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