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The Face Muscles 

The facial muscles are very important in speech. They are important in relation to resonance, in relation to the impact facial tension can have on the lips and so on articulation and forward placed resonated sound and in relation to expression and energy. 

If your facial muscles are tense you will lock down facial mobility. The tighter facial muscles will deaden facial expression, limit resonance in the facial bones and nasal passages just under the muscles, tighten the muscles around the lips and reduce their forward movement and cause you to pull your lips back for expression. This will in turn thin out your sound, increase nasality and push up your pitch. The pulling back of your lips for emphasis will also most likely increase jaw tightness and probably flatten your soft palace.  

A tense facial mask will also spread tension to muscles that cover your skull and this tension will reduce head resonance and thin out your sound. 

So freeing up the facial muscles helps you to feel less stressed, more open, more expressive, more alert and more resonant. 

Massaging and tapping gently on the facial muscles is a great way to wake them up. When tapping try adding some articulation drills, especially if you are waking up the muscles on your cheek bones.  

Step 6 in Working On The Human Voice deals with waking up the facial muscles too. It’s a great free manual. 

© Donald Woodburn

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