The zygomatic muscles are located in the cheek area and are responsible for lifting the corners of the mouth when we smile. They also happen to make you look energized, engaged and compelling. When we don’t engage them, we often leave our audience wondering, “Does that singer/speaker even want to be here?”
Engaging these muscles while singing or speaking can have a positive impact on your performance. When you make sound, you want to create an open, resonant tone that is full and rich. By engaging your zygomatic muscles, you create a natural lift in the back of the throat, which can help you achieve a more powerful and dynamic sound. Additionally, engaging these muscles can help you maintain good posture and control your breathing, which are both important elements of successful sound making. Here are 3 steps to stronger zygomatic usage:
1. Think of something that makes you happy
This could be a fond memory, a funny joke, or a favorite activity. Focusing on positive thoughts can help you naturally smile and engage your zygomaticus muscles.
2. Use a mirror
Look at yourself in the mirror and try to smile. Focus on lifting the corners of your mouth and stretching your cheeks. You can even exaggerate your smile to engage your zygomaticus muscles even more.
3. Practice daily
Like any muscle, the more you use your zygomaticus muscles, the stronger they will become. Make a conscious effort to smile more throughout the day, even if you don’t feel like it. Eventually, it will become a habit and you will find yourself naturally engaging your zygomaticus muscles more often.
For an added challenge, once you’ve completed the above steps, try to engage your zygomatic muscles without the ear-to-ear smile. This can be achieved by keeping your mouth closed and giving a big cheeky smile – but don’t use your lips too much, just the cheeks.
So, the next time you’re practicing your vocals, don’t forget to take a deep breath, activate those zygomatic muscles and let your voice soar!