If you have spent any time learning to sing, you know the larynx can be incredibly difficult to control.
There’s also the question of how high or low the larynx should be.
In this episode, John will discuss the following:
- Understand what the larynx is
- Reasons why controlling your larynx is essential for singers
- Tips to get better control of your singing
What is a Larynx?
There’s often a debate about singing with a low or raised larynx. A lot of times, this debate is had without anyone really knowing what the larynx is and what it does. So let’s start there.
The larynx, commonly referred to as the voice box, is a small organ in the throat. For men, this is the adam’s apple, which goes up and down.
The primary function of your larynx is to produce sound, which is achieved by vibrating the vocal cords. The larynx also plays an important role in breathing and protecting your vocal folds. When it comes up, it shrinks the length of your vocal track.
Take note: a longer vocal track will bring out lower frequencies. Conversely, a shorter vocal track is going to bring out higher frequencies.
Why Controlling Your Larynx is Important
Here are reasons why you need to achieve a neutral larynx:
Reason #1: It gives you color.
The larynx is flexible and moveable. But it needs to be in your control and be in the correct position.
When the larynx is out of control, it can dramatically change your singing voice. You’ll be shouting and squeezing. And once you force it down, you lose vocal power and acoustic power.
Every singer knows that a lot of vocal energy is created in the acoustics of your vocal track. So if the larynx is too low, it’s not boosting those energetic high frequencies.
In high-level singing, you need to do these two ways:
- control your larynx for brightness versus darkness
- bring out different colors of the same vowel depending on where you put your larynx
Reason #2: It’s a stable larynx.
Generally, it stops your larynx from tracking parts of the sound wave that are no longer efficient and prevents you from going into that shout.
What you also need is to control the vowel. Vowels are endlessly fascinating, but many essentially perceive frequency or pitch as vowels. Once you continue that as you sing, it will allow you to go into the mix configuration easily.
Reason #3: When you’re on a low larynx, you can’t squeeze.
The higher the larynx is, the easier it is for you to squeeze the voice and overcompress the vocal folds, which you do not want to do.
Exaggerations are good as you’re warming up; in which there are two different types:
- Over-low. It will allow you to access higher pitches with very little stress on the folds. As a matter of fact, you cannot squeeze your vocal folds if you make a really low larynx. You have to raise your larynx in order to be able to cut that off.
- Over-high. People sometimes call it a pharyngeal sound. What’s great about that is it’s harder to over-compress because you’re not going into that shout configuration. You’ve overshot that acoustic alignment the other way, allowing you to employ more vocal fold closure. You can feel more intense.
How to Better Control Your Larynx
Here are tips on how to better control your larynx while singing:
- Use proper breath support. Good breath support is essential for producing a clear, strong singing voice while controlling your larynx. When you do that, you’ll feel the larynx drop. Don’t try and shove your larynx down.
- Warm up before singing. A simple vocal warm-up routine can make a big difference in the quality of the singing voices. Go to that more hollow vocal range again. But you can also use exaggerations as long as you recognize them walking towards the center. And then, when you start getting your larynx under control, you can start singing high notes and low, also with different colors.
- Practice regularly. Learning how to control your larynx takes practice, but it’s well worth it! By learning about how your larynx works and how you can use it to produce clearer speech, louder speech, and better singing, you’ll be on your way to becoming a pro in no time!
To control your larynx while singing, you need to be able to feel it. Remember to take it slow at first – don’t try to do much too fast! You may also find that some of these singing exercises work better for you than others.
So, now that you understand how your larynx works, let’s talk about leveling up with a voice teacher. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We want nothing more than for everyone to sound their best!