Sing Better By Opening Your FACE

Today's topic: Your FACE affects your singing!

Don't believe me? In my latest video, you'll learn how a personal vocal struggle led me to investigate the inside of my mouth -- specifically, my soft palate and cheekbones.

What did I discover?

An open, expanded, relaxed face and soft palate are crucial to creating a full, open, and beautiful singing tone.

In my personal experience, having a locked right side of my face (caused by tension and stress) can seriously limit vocal range and vocal tone.

Your face is a key RESONATOR for creating beautiful singing tone -- so if you're droopy, tense, or not creating space as you should be, you are seriously cutting off what's possible for you as a singer!

In this video, I'll give you some cues for expanding not just the middle of your soft palate -- but also the left and right sides -- which will, in turn, make pitch and tone much easier for you.

I'll also show you a (hideous!) face stretch that you can do before and during warmups.

Give it a watch and let me know your thoughts!

Love and weird face stretches,



Felicia Ricci

All stories by: Felicia Ricci
  • jill goldman

    good stuff, fel! love the face stretch. i do find it hard to "feel" what exactly i'm doing with my soft palate, but i like the images you provided. i'll pay more attention to it and see if i can make a more conscious difference in my resonance. thank you!

  • Jelena Ristic

    I used this a bit before from one of your other videos and the more I stretch DEFINITELY the better I sound and I hold A LOT of tension in my face and body sometimes.

    This is why I love singing...or rather ONE of the million reasons reminds me to pay attention to my body and mood and adjust to have both a better day and hopefully, fingers crossed be a consistently better singer.

    Your advice is magic.

    Thank you!

  • Tony Learner


    You're doing a superb job. Advisement is spot on. You are on fire with your passion for singing. Your knowledge is always scientific and well-founded (even when you speculate, it's convincing to me). Kudos.

    Small suggestion (if I may) and done with the utmost respect and admiration for your brilliant singing and work.

    Sometimes, once in a while as in this video, you speak much too rapidly for my feeble brain to process. You tend to "machine gun" your words now and then and I can't decipher what you are saying. For example, the kitchen story, at 32 seconds, I completely lost what you were saying. And I replayed it several times.

    Might you consider slowing down your verbal speed? Again, only a suggestion from me if only to perfect your already outstanding delivery.

    Warm Regards,

    Tony Learner

  • Gary

    Great information to know about stretching out the face. Sometimes I do it, just to do it, because my face just feels like I need to do it....if that makes sense.

    I have a question that maybe you can address in a future video and here it is; How do you keep your vibrato from becoming to wide, the lower you sing? I don't seem to have trouble the higher I sing, but when I get in the lower range (I'm a Baritone), my vibrato wants to sound wide....if that makes sense. I solve it by trying to go straight tone but then I run into pitch problems when I do that.


    Thank you Fel.

  • Shana Turner

    You're awesome, Fel! cute.. even when doing zombie stretch! 🙂 I am not a singer. But, your energy and focus keeps me coming back to your videos. I am trying to find those elements in my life. And I'm sure I can benefit from stretching my soft palette once in a while as well.

    Thank you for sharing your insights and example!
    Warmly, Shana

  • Sue

    Love this. I haven't noticed tension - however I do notice when I'm not tense so I guess the tension must happen more often than I realise. So this and the tongue stretch is going to be a part of my morning ritual. Thanks Fel

  • Daniel

    LMBO!!! I don't wanna show you guys the back of my mouth... DUHHH!! DUHHH!!! DUHHHHHH! x'D Dying ahaha This video couldn't have been more relevant to me personally now as I've been experiencing the same thing - one day my voice would ebb and flow, but the very next day, I feel restrained and locked up! In any case, thanks for all the updates and videos Fel once again 😀 haha

  • randy

    great video fel. it is a hard thing to learn but here is what worked for me. at the same time i lift my soft palate i drop my jaw in in the back / and bite down in the front. l feel my cheeks rise a little and my hose open/ then let off the bite and keep that shape on the inside of my mouth like a little smile on the inside and let my lower jaw go real soft and sounds like a lot but if you do it when you take in breath you can get veary fast at it /and when your playing a 4 hour gig you just cant keep your soft palate up that long / well at least i cant !!! how about a video on working with singers ? i really believe working with good singers can bring you up to there level..thanks fel . ps if you dont like this post just take it down it wont make me mad at all . thanks fel.

  • Peg

    When I first started voice lessons, my intuition told me that I needed to do face exercises. At that point, I thought only of the tongue and mouth being involved. And my tongue was definitely a problem: the left side was definitely lazy. So I always address this issue with tongue exercises. Only much later did I learn about the zygomatic muscles. When I discovered those, I added corresponding exercises. The thing I discovered recently was what you talked about today, height. Here I found the breath really helpful, the old smelling a rose routine, which I never understood. Now I understand. You have to smell it as if it were the most awesome wonderful aroma you have ever smelled, so you breath goes way up and then spreads out to the sides. This is what solved the soft palate issue for me.

  • Betty

    When I try to sing in middle voice, I am off tune and kind of sing harmony.

    Help please.

    I cannot afford to take any more courses.


  • Kim

    Spot on, once again, You so often articulate something Ive experienced but wasnt quite able to put my finger on at the time. Limited tone because of my face! Instincitively, I stretch my face from the inside with yawns or Ahhhh type movements, stretching my neck etc, but never stretched my face quite like you did here ! lol. You are so good at this, Fel. I say you should get your SLP degree and coach the big league for millions of dollars.

    I am not a professional but have said no to opportunites to sing with a band who has heard me and wanted me to sing a tune or ttwo with them... Worst stage fright - Im so afraid that I wont be able to open my voice up wide and hit the high notes with the power they need...

    Can you (if you already havent) do a video on what to do IN THE MOMENT when you are experiencing panic which causes you to say no to a sing, or to fail at it?

    May be a lame idea, but its something I need to get past....

  • Peter Maarsman

    Great Idea Fel. We all get feeling like that. Your answer really helps and I will try it. I know when I am going on stage to sing I need something to relax my mouth and relax.
    All the best, Peter Maarsman

  • Kent Brashear

    Fel, you like me have a split (bifid) uvula. We're among the 2% of the population with one. I thought everyone was like me
    until about 25 years ago when a physician's assistant got all excited when he saw mine. Mine was the first one he had seen
    outside of a book.


  • Safaa Sarefian

    I think the best way to do it is to make some sounds too. As we looking inside the mouth, I believe we should make some sounds or sing some notes and try to hear the differences while we are looking.

  • Kimberley

    Hi Fel!

    I've been thinking lately of your talks about how thin or light sounds/breath enables you to hit high notes and do riffs and runs. My voice is quite thick. Could you do a video on how to channel those light sounds and breath accordingly?

    Thanks for your work!!

  • Joseph King

    Hi Fel, Casatta cake at you!
    Moving away from singing for a moment, I must say you look radiant in your latest video. Really! What's the secret glow all about? Working out? Vitamin regimen?
    By the way I'm a teeth grinder too. Hard habit to break. I know it affects my singing some days. Going to try the dopey face. Good session!

  • Anniestar

    Hi Fel! I LOVE the Face Stretch. It is so relaxing. I tend to clamp my jaw when I am deep in thought, so this is a great exercise to loosen up my face. I also love your analogy of our mouths being like a cathedral. When I go up to the higher notes I always think of being in Westminster Cathedral and the sound resonating and ringing with freedom. Your manner and techniques are superb. Thank you for all the guidance you offer??

  • star

    Hi Fel
    I really appreciate your total openness and fun techniques.
    I for a few reasons have experienced facial tension.
    As I am in the fitness industry and really promote stretching in general, I know the total mind, body,and endorphin rush of a good stretch and the full belly laughs I get in the release. I hadn't specifically thought of facial stretch for singing but it makes perfect sense.
    I love your work
    Thankyou for all the fun

  • Justin schritt

    Hi Fel. I absolutely love your YouTube channel. I am a non experienced musician meaning I have never played an instrument other than my own voice. I absolutely love singing and I feel I'm decent at it (I may think I sound better than I actually do haha) but Not spectacular. I find I sound better when singing with a song but struggle to keep pitch and range when I'm singing accapella. What advice would you give someone like me.

  • Miriam

    I really enjoy your videos. And i just wanted to let you know that i have experienced a lot of tension due to the tightness in my jaw. It has already locked up so bad i could hardly eat. And that makes singing almost impossible. Thanks for the tips!

  • Cathy Powell

    I have a problem with tension in my jaw and tongue too. Your videos have really made a difference, and I hope over time my tongue and jaw will just learn to relax automatically. It's so helpful that you address these issues. The changes make a big difference in tone and frankly not very many other online voice experts seem to address them. Love, love your videos. Thanks again--

  • Candace

    So true! What a great tip! I tell my students this often. Pay attention to how your soft palate is positioned. Thanks for this reminder, Fel! Love your videos btw 🙂

  • Rick Swanson

    You Rock Fel... : ) This is a gold mine of information and really does hit it right on the money!!! Thank you for caring and teaching and inspiring us all... Love Ya Fel : )

  • Susan

    Wow! Great tips on facial tension, thank you! Will try it on my jaws, eekk, only way I know my jaws are tense is after the muscles become very sore. I also tend to grind teeth day n night, a frustrating habit!

  • Maceo Leon Thomas


    You are awesome! I really appreciate all of your invaluable singing tips! There are not many people who would share as much as you have shared with us, for free. You are truly the epitome of what the great Paul Robeson said that an artist should be. That is a artist should use his or her Craft for the betterment of the world. An artist should be altruistic. Concern for others. And, that is a special quality! And, that is one of the many beautiful things about you!

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


  • Emily Franklin

    I love your videos! I was wondering what you think about belting with the soft pallet down? I was taught a technique like that but it wasn't quite belting it was somewhere between belting and head voice but sounded a lot like smooth, not to harsh belting. In order to sing higher using this technique (having the soft pallet down not up) would you have any suggestions for warm ups or ways to sing to help with that?

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