“Lowering My Larynx”

A common myth in vocal training concerns the positioning of the larynx.

While there is a kernel of truth to the need for the larynx to be in proper position (we want to use any mechanical system when it is properly aligned, not when it is in a compromised state), we also need to make sure to do it without adding tension.

Many of us have experienced what it feels like when the larynx is too high. When we attempt to sing high notes it will sometimes rise up until we almost get the sensation of choking – not a good feeling to occur when trying to perform a challenging phrase. 

Another way the larynx can malfunction is that it can be “shoved down” or lowered forcefully. In that state the sound produced will be deeper and maybe even louder, and it might sound throaty or swallowed. While you know there is something good about this “lowered” larynx, it’s still not right because pushing it down it has the effect of forcing the larynx down without developing the necessary muscles.

A middle-ish laryngeal position will be achieved naturally over time, given proper use and exercise. The closer (arytenoid) and stretcher (crico-thyroid) muscles work with the muscles that elevate and lower the larynx. As our vocal muscles work correctly, the other muscles that position the larynx up and down (and other directions too) are allowed to develop, strengthen and coordinate for this new activity.  The entire laryngeal apparatus adapts to the correct position needed for the given pitch, volume, and vowel. This position is shouldn’t be forced because it won’t do it well.

This does take time and lots of consistent and correct work. You may need the guidance of a voice teacher or a course like How The Voice Works. The course comes with an app that will give the proper exercises to encourage good coordination and development. And the reward is that you sing without choking on tone. Or without swallowing the tone. You sing without manipulation and force. You sing with freedom.

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