Learn How to Sing Better
Your vocal folds held in a structure that resembles a small box and is usually called voice box, although its real name is larynx. To learn how to sing better, you need to avoid any tension around the larynx, because it will have effects on how you sound.
The larynx composed by cartilage, with muscles that enclose it to provide support. You can feel where it’s located by placing your hand in the base of your throat, below the jaw. The larynx is mobile, going up when you are swallowing (to keep food or liquids from reaching the lungs) or down when you yawn. It is involved in sound production, which follows these steps:
As you feel you want to sing, the brain sends messages to the vocal folds, preparing them to work;
The vocal folds, induced by the brain, clamp shut;
A column of air ascends from the lungs;
As the air puts pressure in the vocal folds when passing, they begin to vibrate and produce sound.
The air from your lungs contacts with your vocal folds through the tracheal tube, which you can see connecting with the larynx in an anatomy picture of that region. Above the larynx, it’s the epiglottis, the reason why the pressure that the ascending air puts on the vocal folds is called subglottic pressure, an important element of sound production.
Achieve an Ideal Tone Quality
The quality of your singing can depend on your larynx’s position or on how much subglottic pressure you can produce, which means you need to control both to learn how to sing better.
When your larynx has no tension and it’s lower or close to the center position, the air moves freely through your throat, allowing full and powerful tones to be produced. That is the desired larynx position for singing. If you tense up your larynx, the vocal folds may fold shut because of subglottic pressure building up. It may increase up to the point where they suddenly open and produce a clicking sound right before an actual tone sung. That is a glottal attack, with ‘attack’ referring to your vocal fold setting when you begin a tone. The best tone can produce by being aware of the importance of the larynx in your singing, always remembering that:
Consecutive glottal attacks can impair your vocal folds
A bad posture or tension around the larynx will hinder your ability to produce a nice and clear sound, making you sound breathy, because of air escaping through the vocal folds, or ugly;
A high larynx will increase nasality in your voice;
An overly low larynx can make you sound muffled and unnaturally deep.
Stay In Control
Normally, you cannot feel your vocal folds, and that makes you unable to control them either. However, by controlling everything else that surrounds them, you will be able to sing beautifully. That is why good posture and release of tension are so important in singing. Raising or lowering your head too much, for example, will affect your vocal folds closure and the placement of the larynx, which should keep low. A comfortably straight head and neck, a relaxed jaw and loose shoulders all contribute to maintaining your larynx in an adequate position.
It is clear now that, in order to learn how to sing better, producing notes is not enough. Good knowledge of your body’s anatomy and of how each of its parts works together to allow you to sing your best is important, especially when it comes to the larynx since it houses the two little membranes that are responsible for each and every sound you make: the vocal folds.