As we talked about with nasality, constriction is normally a symptom that the muscles in our larynx are not happy with one another. What we might feel and experience:

  1. a tight throat,
  2. increased rise in larynx,
  3. a choking or closing and squeezing sensation, and
  4. there is a fatigue with increasing uncomfortability when singing.

Now, to be sure, there is a type of soreness and fatigue that might sometimes accompany a really intense healthy vocal workout, especially if our vocal muscles are doing certain movements for the first time. This kind of tiredness is salutary and does not last long.

When we reference serious throat constriction, that is another issue altogether, Throat constriction is related to improper development and coordination of the closer and stretcher muscles. Unhealthy tiredness and soreness lasts and gets worse, not better, as you workout over a couple of weeks and months. Constriction sets in and we have a situation much like nasality where we get “stuck” in a pattern or feel that does not allow us to move, and beyond that, we don’t feel good when we sing!

When this is the case, a knowledgeable vocal teacher will be able to diagnose the issue and prescribe certain exercises so that the muscles stop fighting. This might be that one needs to focus on a certain falsetto feel or one may need to start at the bottom and access a vigorous response from the closer muscle (arytenoid) that gives us what is called “chest voice”. Often, it is a bit of both.  The stretcher muscle and closer muscle need to be isolated and worked in a healthy manner so that they are doing their jobs, not fighting one another. Then, as this occurs, the muscles can start to coordinate and learn how to be friends. When the muscles that adjust the vocal cords for pitch are playing nice, then throat constriction disappears.

The absence of throat constriction is sometimes called an “open throat” but you don’t have to do anything to get your throat open – no excessive yawning or the like.  Your throat is naturally open and free of constriction when the arytenoid and crico-thyroid muscle systems are functioning well.  Functional freedom is always the goal.

Allen Rascoe

about the author

Allen Rascoe Allen has been enjoying singing since he was a little kid. He officially studied voice at ECU and USC. However, he ran... Read More