By Dave Brooks, co-authored with Phillip Brandvold
As a singer, one of the biggest struggles is to not only sing our best, but also to sing in a way that is healthy to our body. One way to achieve both those aspects is focusing on larynx position and vocal cord control. These two elements of singing are often overlooked, but are necessary in creating a resonating tone while practicing healthy vocal techniques. Ignoring either area of your singing is a recipe for bad sound and an aching, tense throat. So how can you make sure you’re using proper technique?
Find Your Ideal Larynx Position
First, let’s look at the position of your larynx. Particularly when you move up a scale, your larynx will try and creep up into your throat. This can cause the sound to become choked off, or, to put it in other terms, it brings your chest voice into your head. If you’ve ever heard someone sing and it sounded like they just couldn’t quite reach the notes, they were probably contending with a high larynx. With an improper larynx position, the sound is pinched and strained while the notes sound flat.
Instead of allowing your larynx to move up with the sound, keep it at a comfortable place in your throat. To find the best position, speak in an exaggerated, breathy tone. One might even call it a “hooty” or “woofy” voice. The point is to speak in such a way as to locate a place where your larynx falls naturally. Now, as you speak, practice on keeping that larynx low and stable. If you begin to feel it rising in your throat, reset and try again. You want to train your muscles to keep the larynx in this position by default when you sing. With practice, this method will soon become natural.
Keep Your Vocal Cords Aligned
You also want to make sure that your vocal cords are aligning all the way when hitting the high notes. By doing so, you will continue to sing with confidence and project your sound the same way as you would in your lower range. When making sure your vocal cords are aligning all the way, you will encounter the same feeling you have when you have a “whiny” or “pouty” voice. This indicates that your vocal cords are connecting well, and will allow you to use your air efficiently. In addition to helping you project better,keeping your vocal cords aligned will also help keep your larynx in a relaxed, stable position.
Practice is Key
The enemy of good singing is tension, and by practicing these two techniques, you can keep your throat loose and your tone melodic. A low larynx will help open your throat and avoid pinched off, flat tones. Additionally, closing your vocal cords will help you reach higher notes with the same projection as lower notes, and will keep you relaxed even when you take yourself to the top of your range.
As always, practice is essential in making these techniques a habit. However, once they become second nature, you will find that you can take your sound to an entirely new level.
If you have any questions about keeping your voice healthy and singing at your optimal level, you can always contact me on my Savvy profile.
I’ve been involved in the music industry for over 25 years, acting as a top session singer, songwriter, vocal coach, and producer.
I love teaching! Feel free to reach out to me on my Savvy profile with any questions or to book a singing lesson.