This video is about how to sing better by controlling your larynx.
The larynx is where your vocal cords are in the middle of your neck. One way to immediately sing better is to stop the larynx from rising too high when you sing.
Inside this video you will receive specific tips to control your larynx so you’ll know how to sing better than ever before.
The larynx (pronounced “lair-rinks”) is also known as the “Voice Box”. It’s located in the mid-portion of your neck. It is comprised of bone, ligament, cartilage and tissue and it’s where the vocal cords are located. It’s at the top of the windpipe or trachea. If you feel your “Adam’s Apple”, that’s the top of the larynx.
When you speak normally, the larynx rests comfortably in your neck. It’s relaxed and resting relatively low. There’s no tension in the neck and in the muscles that surround it.
In contrast, place your hand on your larynx and swallow. Can you feel it move upward and then back down again? Try humming while you swallow. Maintain your humming as you swallow. You can’t do it!
For various reasons, when the larynx rises and goes into swallowing mode, it starts to choke off the sound. This swallowing mode and the rising larynx creates added tension on the vocal cords. The air from the lungs is cut off and the production of sound is choked off until it stops.
You Can’t Sing Better if your Larynx is too High
If your larynx begins to rise while you are singing, it’s going into swallowing mode. The vocal cords are getting squeezed, and the muscles around the vocal cords are adding tension, and your voice feels strained and jammed up.
You start to panic and the surrounding muscles tense tighter and your larynx goes even higher, singing gets even more difficult.
Several negative things happen to your vocal cords when the larynx goes into swallowing mode. I’ll try and demonstrate those for you:
- The vocal cords break apart into falsetto (vocal demo)
- They remain too thick and heavy so you pull the chest voice too high (vocal demo)
- You have to stop singing
- You get hoarse
- The tension in the cords and the smaller vibrating space causes loss of vocal tones (vocal demo)
- If the vocal cords pull apart, too much air escapes leaving you with a breathy or weak sound
How to Sing Better by Controlling the Larynx
You can control the larynx by eliminating tension in the neck muscles. Here are 3 exercises that, if done correctly, will help you eliminate tension and keep the larynx relaxed and resting…where it does when you speak.
Eliminate tension in the muscles surrounding the larynx with these exercises:
1. Bubble-lips and Tongue Trill. They’re done like this. Touch your teeth through your cheeks, lift slightly and say “uh” and add the bubble to it. (vocal demo ) Also you can do that with a tongue trill. (vocal demo)
Now take the bubble-lip exercise or the tongue trill and use that in a song. Let me demonstrate what I mean by using the song, “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserable’.
Suppose when I sing the opening part of the song, I’m raising the larynx up. (vocal demo). That’s an example of a raised larynx.
Now I can take the bubble-lip and substitute, instead of doing the words, do it with bubble lips. (vocal demo). There’s an example of how substituting the bubble lip with the words allows the larynx to settle back down again. The same thing would be true with the tongue trill (vocal demo)
Once I’m able to do that, with the bubble lip or the tongue trill, substituting the words in the song, then I’ll go back to the words again and see if I can’t do that with the same feeling. (vocal demo).
You can apply this to any song that you might be struggling with where the larynx is going up.
2. Dopey/Hooty Gee. This dopey sound will pull the larynx down. Say “duh” (demo the dopey sound). It’s not the regular “duh”, but a dopey “Duh”. Put your hand your larynx. You can feel that dopey sound, “duh” pulls the larynx down. Notice how you can feel the larynx drop lower with the dopey “Duh”.
Now say “gee” with the same dopey sound. If you can keep that same dopey sound as you do this scale, it will go hooty. Let me show you. (vocal demo) In contrast, if I don’t maintain the dopey sound, listen what happens. (vocal demo). If I lose the dopey sound, the larynx goes up and I feel and hear tension and reach.
Apply the “dopey gee” to the song until you can do it without tension while maintaining the adducted cords. Then go back to the words. (vocal demo)
3. “Goo” Slightly dopey/hooty. (vocal demo men and women ranges) If I lose the dopey/hooty sound when I’m doing the “goo”, it would sound like this (vocal demo). I can feel and hear that tension and “reach” when I lose that hooty sound. Apply it to a song like we did in the above exercises.
This is how to sing better by controlling your larynx. Doing these exercises as demonstrated will help eliminate tension in the larynx and the surrounding muscles. It will keep the larynx low and resting, and allow the vocal cords to work ideally.
Once you can do the words without tension, discontinue the dopey/hooty sound. This is used only temporarily to release tension and to help adduct the vocal cords. We don’t speak that way, so why would we sing that way? We don’t want to impose the larynx down when we sing.
Learn how to sing better by visiting PowerToSing.com. Take the PowerTest to determine your Vocal Type. This will help you understand what your larynx and vocal cords tend to do when you sing.
Then visit the Knowledge Center on Power To Sing’s website and learn about your unique vocal type. Download the free vocal exercises and get immediate help to sing better.
I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power to Sing. You can sing higher, with beauty, confidence and power. I’ll see you inside the next video.