Do Raising Muscles Surrounding the Cheek Bones Also Raise the Soft Palate?

Voice teachers have consistently advocated for the “smiling position,”
or “raising the cheeks,” when one sings for the purpose of enhancing tonal balance or affecting chiaroscuro or color of the voice.
In the case of the position of the zygomatic musculature (muscles surrounding cheek bones) any amount of lift in most cases will result in increased acoustic intensity or certain increase in resonating qualities.
Leon Therman, Specialist Voice Educator and Founder of the Leon Thurman Voice Center in Minneapolis completed research that shows:
Zygomatic arches and soft palate raising ~ The zygomatic arches are part of the facial bone structures, specifically part of what are called the cheekbones, just under the eyes. We also have two muscles that are labelled Zygomatic Major and Zygomatic Minor. Z-Major is the primary muscle that moves the “lip corners” laterally when we smile Neither muscle has a direct interface with the soft palate or the muscles that move the soft palate up and back to close off the nasal cavity, or to arch the soft palate. However, neural networks that move the soft palate and the lips co-contract at the same time as part of a singer’s “habitual singing coordinations.”

Must I Always Warm-up My Voice Before I Sing?

All Voice Experts advocate warm-up exercises. The lack of a proper warm-up may contribute to vocal fatigue and even dysfunction in singers as well as anyone using that uses the voice throughout the day. Poorly warmed-up voices are less durable and less sustainable!

What happens to the vocal folds during the warm-up?

Since the vocal folds contain muscle tissues as a major component they depend on efficient blood circulation in order to retain good function and viscosity. Good circulation is stimulated by a well-planned and methodical warm-up. All great athletes rely on efficient and optimal muscle function and therefore warm up their muscles as part of their initial exercise.

Just how does one warm up the voice? Believe it or not, it can be achieved in much the same way one prepares the body for a work out. This warm up includes:
• Full body movements to activate the breath and bring circulation to the pharynx and larynx
• Intentional but natural movement of the diaphragm
• Massage the jaw and facial muscles
• Gentle onsets with soft phonation using resonators
• Experience the head voice, then mixed register voice and finally chest voice
• Work the articulators [i.e. mouth, tongue, jaw, hard palate, etc.]
• Integrate consonants with vowels and transition to forming words