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Student Articulation (Singing Teachers)

5 replies, 4 voices Last updated by Jonny Black 2 years, 1 month ago
  • Creator
  • #9561
    Jonny Black

    Hi guys,

    Just wondering if anybody has encountered an issue I have with quite a few of my students (especially younger students) with their inability to distinguish between the ‘th’ and ‘f’ sound. So quite often in songs words like thought becomes fought and think becomes fink.

    I’ve tried a few exercises to get them firstly to recognise the difference (often they can’t even hear it) and then to understand how the tounge/lip/teeth position is different for each sound but I’ve never really been that successful in correcting the issue and it’s a real bug bear of mine.

    Any body know any good exercises that work?



Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
  • #9617

    Eliza Jane Fyfe
    Points: 122

    Oh! I have a 50 year old who can’t say “v” and says “th” instead. A mystery! Harder to teach an old dog new tricks though… 😉

    I also have your exact issue with a student my age – I think it’s her Kent accent! So apparently I’m struggling with the adults!

    I’ve used the same methods as you and it can work when they’re thinking about it. Sorry to not be of further help but I imagine Matt Pocock might be, if he reads this. Would be interested on people’s thoughts on this as I imagine it’s more about elocution/speech therapy which I think Matt knows more about?


    Matthew Rusk

    I have just Facebook messaged Matt Pocock 🙂 He should hopefully be able to provide some information that will help


    Ruth Adamson
    Points: 58

    I would do tongue trills sticky out tongue warm ups

    Th and general tongue twisters

    when practicing slow the section with the th in right down and almost.. shock them when it comes round to it to change the thinking pattern when i say shock them i just mean, make a big thing of it at that part in the line and build up from there the talent code is a good book to just support how to get people to consciously practise something in addition to repetition

    Probably all the normal vowel shape exercises, i think its just practise ive had students that ive told time and time again.. but if they dont consciously practice it and change the habit it tends to stay the same

    Language is another tough one, german and french and asian find the english or american accent pretty tough ive found.. so its just like they are learning a new language

    if they are young its easier adult harder like… if i had learned to do the rolling r with spanish when i was very young it would have been better, not sure id even be able to learn it now

    if anyone can think


    Matthew Rusk

    This was a quite interesting video about the “Th” sounds and an explanation as to how the sounds are formed:


    Jonny Black
    Points: 50

    Thanks guys. Some good advice there. It’s deyseems to be about tongue discipline and repetition and retraining old habits which can take a lot of work. I find it’s just a ‘lazy’ way that quite a few people sound the th, by connecting the bottom lip and top teeth and a lot of the time they don’t hear the difference. Particularly younger singers who speak in ‘MLE’ street type accents. Tongue exercises and commitment to practice really pays dividends. I often get the student to hold the bottom lip down to avoid making the f sound. That seems to work and also the sink/zinc/think exercise with slightly different tounge positions.

    Great video Matthew. That is a good way to explain it and I’ll use the exaggerated sound and tounge positions with my students.


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