“Raise the soft palate.”
~almost a bazillion voice teachers, across time
There is much to know about the anatomy of vocal tract for singing and voice teaching. The soft palate is one of those structures that both mystifies and intrigues us, and (at first) isn’t easy to control.
Just this week I went tête-à-tête with a client about whether her soft palate was lifting or lowering during a particular sound. Turns out the soft palate was lifting, but she was 100% convinced it was lowering. Once she saw what was happening by looking in the mirror, the conversation was settled.
How can that be? How can we be so convinced that the soft palate is moving in one certain direction, to only find out that it is doing the exact opposite?
(Don’t get bent out of shape one way or the other, y’all – we have ALL experienced soft palate confusion. Either that, or we haven’t sung a note in our lives.)
Here are 5 things to know about the soft palate that may help you on your vocal journey.
1. Learn where the soft palate is and what it looks like
The following video is a graphic and bizarre look at the soft palate. But, before we head off into *strange,* find the soft palate in your own vocal tract. Take the tip of your tongue and run it along the roof of your mouth, starting at your teeth and moving backwards. You will reach the edge of the “hard palate,” and run right into the soft palate.
The soft palate dips down and can be seen at the back of the throat when you open your mouth. The uvula is that little dongle that hangs down from the soft palate, just in case you needed to know that.
Another name for the soft palate is the velum. In case you needed to know that, too.
I shall put it after the “read more” tab below so you have time to prepare yourself for this little bit of weirdness.