How to improve your singing by balancing your vocal cords? What does it mean to balance your vocal cords and how can it improve your singing?
Your vocal cords are muscles over which you have direct control similar to pinching your fingers or blinking your eyes.
Inside this video I’ll show you how you can bring balance to your vocal cords and how this will improve your singing!
In our last Episode I talked about controlling the air blow and air flow in order to help balance the voice.
In a balanced voice, the air blow on the “vocal teeter-totter”, is balanced with the vocal cords on the other side.
This means there’s ideal interaction between air blow from the lungs and the vocal cords. The balanced air blow is not too forceful nor too weak. The vocal cords open and close to allow just the right air flow required for the song. The vocal cords are not too tight nor too loose.
This balance between the air blow and vocal cords produces an ideal tone for the song being sung.
If the air is balanced, what causes the vocal cords to not be balanced? There are two primary reasons over which you have control:
- The vocal cords open and close too tight. If the cords are closing too tight this causes imbalance.
- Not enough air is passing through the vocal cords
- This adds tension to the neck and larynx
- It slows the rhythm of the vocal cords
- It slows or eliminates vibrato
- Causes the pitch to go flat
- Increases the loudness and contributes to a raised larynx
- Tone quality gets worse
The voice is out of balance.
- The vocal cords open and close too loose. If the cords are closing too loose this causes imbalance.
- Too much air is passing through the vocal cords
- The sound waves created will lack intensity
- The tone will be too soft to be heard
- The tone will be too breathy
- The outside neck muscles try and help the tone
- This causes more tension
- We push more air
- This causes the larynx to rise which puts more squeeze on the cords
The voice is out of balance.
How to Improve Your Singing? Balance Your Vocal Cords!
Well, how do we balance our vocal cords?
- Understand, first, that we can control how tight or loose we open and close our cords.
It works like pinching your fingers or blinking our eyes. We control it with our thoughts.
If we’re going to hold something tight we pinch our fingers together firmly.
If we’re trying to prevent dirt from going into our eyes, we close them tight.
Conversely, if we are holding a newborn baby’s tiny hand, we barely bring our fingers together.
If we’re told to close our eyes, but we want to peek,…but we want to PEEK, we leave a little space between the eyelids, so we can see out of them.
The vocal cords are the same way. By thinking, we gain a wide range of control, from gentle to firm to find what is just right with the air flow and loudness of the song we’re singing.
- We must be aware of how loose or tight we’re closing the vocal cords and then adjust the cord tension to allow a more ideal air flow and blow.
Here’s how we can balance our cords.
If the imbalance is caused by closing them too tight:
- Don’t close the cords so tight
- Relax the tension of the cords…relax your grip so to speak.
- Allow a little more air to pass through your cords
- Relax the external muscles around the larynx
- Sing softer not louder
- Perfect your ability to do the Lip Trill and/or the Tongue Trill.
This is a great balancing exercise between the air and the vocal cords. You can see the balance between your cords and the air blow by how easy and consistent your lips and tongue/ or tongue are trilling. If you’re relaxed but the cords are too tight or too loose, the lips or tongue struggle too. [Demo]
If the imbalance is caused by closing your cords too loose:
- Close them tighter. A great exercise to develop your sense for this it the “ae ae ae” with a staccato. This helps the cords come together more firmly. [Demo]
- After you are able to do the staccato, use the same sound legato like this. [Demo] Make sure the cords stay firm the whole time. Don’t relax them on the way down. Practice keeping them consistent. [Demo]
- If your spoken voice is not breathy or soft but your singing is too breathy or soft, try “speaking on the pitch”. This means that you tell yourself not to sing, but rather speak…except you speak with a melody in your voice.
Singers whose cords are not closing firmly enough often speak with a firm cord closure, but when they start singing, relax the vocal cords too much.
Like Professor Harold Hill says in Music Man, “Singing is just sustained talking.” [Demo]
- Relax the external neck muscles, but add more friendly compression to the vocal cords. A great exercise for this is [goo]. It isolates the internal cord muscles and disengages the external neck muscles. [Demo]
- Sing louder. The vocal cords must hold back more air, which helps them close more firmly. Be careful not to over due it and cause too much air blow for the cords to handle. [Demo]
- Again, the lip and tongue trill exercises are excellent for bringing the vocal cords together. If they don’t come together firmly enough, the trill has difficulty. It may not work at all, or start and stop.
Balancing the vocal cords will bring balance to the voice. Your vocal cords will develop their own coordination and strength. This is when you begin to develop real power in your voice.
If you tend to close your cords too hard your vocal type may be Pulled Chest/High Larynx.
If you tend to close your vocal cords too soft your vocal type might be Light Chest/No Chest.
Do you know your vocal type? This isn’t whether you’re soprano, alto, tenor or bass. Your vocal type is what you tend to do when you sing.
Go to PowerToSing.com and take the vocal test or the PowerTest. Take the quiz and immediately discover your vocal type. Visit the Knowledge Center and watch the videos about your vocal type. Download the free exercises for your vocal type. These exercises are designed to balance your voice.
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.