A common problem for vocalists is the rising of the larynx, or voice box, which houses the vocal cords. For the most part, your larynx should not move up much when singing higher. The vocal folds stretch and thin to create higher notes and that’s most efficiently done if the larynx stays more neutral or slightly lowered for classical singing. When it rises, the lifter muscles responsible for moving it for swallowing purposes are engaged. This is not very efficient for most singing and can lead to fatigue and other unwanted problems.
When practicing, monitor the voice box by lightly placing a finger over the larynx and pay attention to any tendency of it to move too much when ascending. To combat a rising voice box, add a pouty or dumb approach to your sound. Use syllables such as ‘mum’, ‘goog’, ‘bub’, or ‘wun’ with a slightly exaggerated goofy sound. This will keep the swallowing muscles from pulling the larynx up and constricting the throat.
So here goes!! Using ‘goog’, we will phonate on the following pattern. Make sure it is produced with a Bullwinkle or Rocky Balboa dopey sound or as if saying ‘duh’.
goog goog goog goog goog goog goog goog goog goog
1 3 5 8 8 8 8 5 3 1
This is not supposed to be a pretty sound. Its job is to deactivate those overactive swallowing muscles that interfere with easy tone production. Remember to keep a finger placed lightly on your larynx and you should notice it staying down even as the pitch rises. It may also helpful to do the exercise with your fist lightly on the chin to make sure your jaw stays loose. One you get the hang of it, you can move on these patterns:
1 3 5 1(next octave) 3 5 4 2 7(in original octave) 5 4 2 1
1 5 3 8 5 3 1
This is an extremely effective exercise……and its silliness makes it fun!!!