Face Massage

Why Does This Help a Singer?

“Both attention to detail and attention to the whole are essential…Your task is to wake up the sensory receptors in each structure, adding layers of awareness as you go”.

Melissa Malde

Take a look at this image!  It depicts just a little of the wonder that is the human face and head.  The face projects a representation of our heart and mind with the subtlest of nuanced movements – some conscious, some subconscious.  It works hard – so show it some appreciation and incorporate some of these stretch and massage techniques into your weekly routine.


There is a broad body of work amongst vocal coaches and scientists that verify that singers benefit greatly from “isolating and eliminating pockets of muscle tension” (Linklater);  particularly the tension that exists in the parts of your body where we wish to encourage healthy resonance and robust tone production.

“The free voice has a passage through the channel with appropriate settings of face, lips, jaw, tongue, soft palate, pharynx and larynx, and no excess muscle constriction.”

Christine Shewell

Because the exercises in Shewell’s Voice Work are so excellent, selected excerpts are included here verbatim (denoted by Ex #).   Other exercises have been gathered from personal experimentation, professional development and collegial conversations.

How Do I Do This?

There are more exercises than you actually need here.  A wide range of choices are included because, let’s face it ;-), some of them are pretty strange.  So, they won’t all be your cup of tea.  The results will be evident in your face, your breath and your overall body.  It’s hard to maintain a tense body as your face relaxes.

Have a play around with them and choose your favourites to make up your own personal list.  Here is a My Face Massage List for you to keep a record of what works for you.






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Face muscle image – https://www.tes.com/lessons/JaPT2JYgHxASSw/week-9-the-position-of-facial-muscles

Linklater, K.  (2006).  Freeing the Natural Voice: Imagery and art in the practice of voice and language.  Nick Hern Books, London.

Malde, M., Allen, M. & Zeller, K.  (2010).  What Every Singer Needs to Know About the Body.  Plural Publishing, California.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Shewell, C.  (2009).  Voice Work: Art and Science in Changing Voices.  Wiley-Blackwell, United Kingdom.

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