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Articulate: Wag your Tongue
The tongue is a giant muscle. Well,
It has quite a few jobs including being the main taste organ, helping with chewing and digestion, and importantly for our purposes, enabling speech and articulation. The tongue is also designed to assist the larynx in dislodging foreign objects should something unfortunate happen on the way to the lungs.
In any event, the tongue is large, important and typically very tense. The quickest path to clearer articulation is to limber it up.
My favorite quick exercise for this is called Sticky Peanut Butter. Use the tip of your tongue to trace around each tooth, front, back, and top from back to the front of your mouth as if removing some fictional sticky peanut butter. Then try to remove the “peanut butter” from all the tissues, the insides of the cheeks, around the lips, pretty much anywhere the tongue can reach. To finish up put the tip of the tongue behind the bottom teeth and roll the rest of it outward past your lips. Then place the tip of the tongue behind your top teeth and trace the top of your mouth cavity as far as it will go, this will curve your tongue back.
I’m including a short video (which I recorded a million years ago) demonstrating “sticky peanut butter”. Have fun!
Gina Razón is the principal voice specialist at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service voice and speech studio in Boston’s Back Bay. She has over 16 years of experience both as a teacher of voice and speech, and a voraciously curious voice user. Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as professional public speaker. For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.