Short Courses & Events / Archive

Working with Muscle Tension in Singers

Wednesday 2nd November 2022, 6:00 PM - Tuesday 2nd November 2021 8:00 PM (London Time)

Muscle tension dysphonia (MTD) is a voice disorder in which the patient presents with altered vocal quality and/or function that is determined to be a result of maladaptive, inefficient coordination of the vocal system. Although laryngeal examination often reveals significant tension of the muscles in and surrounding the larynx, the maladaptive tension can often include the articulators, muscles of the neck, shoulders, back, abdomen, and/or lower body. The MTD may be primary, in which no structural abnormalities are found in the larynx, or secondary, in which the muscle tension arises as a compensation for an underlying laryngeal pathology. As a functional voice disorder, MTD is most optimally managed by a speech-language pathologist or speech-language therapist.

However, most singers will experience some form or degree of maladaptive muscle tension during their training as a part of normal development of vocal technique. The singing teacher is often the first person to identify the muscle tension. How do the singing teacher and SLP/SLT determine when muscle tension is part of normal acquisition of technique and when it crosses the line into pathology?

In this workshop, the presenter will explore these and other questions, as well as strategies for reducing maladaptive muscle tension in the studio and clinic.


  1. Untying the Knot
    1. What is Muscle Tension Dysphonia?
    2. How is MTD treated?
    3. When is muscle tension a “normal” part of developing singing technique and when is it a disorder?
    4. Appropriate referral patterns between vocal health care providers and singing teachers/voice trainers.
  2. Clinical interventions
    1. Manual therapy models
    2. Relaxation and stretching exercises
    3. Rehabilitative vocal exercises
    4. Medical treatments
  • Strategies and exercises for addressing muscle tension in the studio or clinic
    1. Core stability and anchoring the larynx
    2. Tongue tension
    3. Jaw tension
    4. Laryngeal tension
    5. Upper body tension
    6. Abdominal tension
  1. Case Studies

Leda Scearce

Soprano Leda Scearce has been featured in leading roles with the National Opera Company, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Long Leaf Opera Festival, Triangle Opera...

Sorry, this is an archived short course...

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