How To Sing With a Relaxed Throat
How are we already in May!? That means it is time for me to introduce the new topic of focus for my singing journey and those of you joining me. I think it is also overdue for me to give this crew a name. Help me out by thinking of one as you continue reading about our new topic.
Over the course of this month, I will be using my social media platforms and Youtube channel to address an area that commonly presents vocal strain. I want to encourage relaxation of the throat and larynx. One way to encourage relaxation of the throat is actually to promote the stability, of the larynx. In my experience, vocal strain presents itself in the throat most commonly when someone sings in such a way that elevates the larynx. Pressing down of the larynx also happens as a result of other singing habits, but I am most familiar with singers (including myself in the past) who carry their chest voice higher than they ought.
When I talk about carrying one's chest voice or chest mix balance higher in range than one should, I have to also start explaining the significance of the passagio, AKA "break area". When I teach lessons I do not like to use the term "break area" because it indicates that you have an area of your voice that is broken, or that you have to hold together, or a part of your voice that breaks if you aren't careful. I talk about it being an area of the voice that brings on a sense of instability for lack of use because we speak on a lower range of pitches in our daily conversation. When we sing, we should continue the same approach as when we speak even though a song may contain higher pitches.
There are other issues besides elevating the larynx that can cause someone to feel like they are singing "from their throat" as one might say. One other issue can be tongue pressure that presents itself as rigidity in the base of the tongue. I introduced an exercise for that in an April tutorial video when I talked about counteracting your poor habits that cause a sense of jaw tension. When I teach counteracting tongue pressure in private lessons, a favorite exercise includes singing with the tongue completely sticking out until they feel a slight stretch in the back of their tongue. It is undignified, but it helps so much!
The exercises I want to share this month are going to include a demonstration of the above-mentioned exercise, speech-approach to singing, breath-flow connection to the body, and larynx stability by encouraging the use of the passagio range. All of these will help us as the singers to keep our voices connected to our breath flow and trust that our breath will carry our voices. For a reminder of how to connect your body to your breath and voice, see this video from January.
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