Struggling to Sing Better? Here's Why [Cause and Effect]
Let's say you're experiencing strain and tension in the Larynx when you sing - you set everything up great, you raise the soft palate, you're placing your voice nicely; but every time you ascend that sucker just shoots up high into your throat and creates tension. You might be surprised that lowering the larynx actually isn't the solution to this issue, and let me tell you why:
Correlation and Causality (or) Cause And Effect
Before we look at the solution for your lofty larynx, let's first talk about correlation (don't worry, I'm not going to get too esoteric).
My favourite example of correlation and causality is actually from this Sesame Street skit (again, bear with me):
(Ernie holding a banana in his ear)
Bert: Hey Ernie, why do you have a banana in your ear?
Ernie: I use it to keep the alligators away
Bert: But Ernie, there's no alligators on Sesame Street
The correlation between Ernie putting a banana in his ear and the fact that he hasn't been eaten by an alligator suggests that a banana in the ear really DOES keep the alligators away. But, the truth is - there were no alligators to begin with, and this correlation really doesn't indicate cause and effect at all; and the same goes for the issues you're experiencing in your singing voice.
In the same way you can't improve your vowels simply by "yawning" before you sing, you can't just "lower" your larynx and hope for the best - you actually need to shape your vowel sounds in a way that facilitates a lowered larynx position. If you're singing a speech vowel instead of forming a pharyngeal vowel - pushing the larynx down actually isn't possible and is akin to shoving a banana in your ear to keep the alligators away, they seem related, but are wholly unrelated in cause and effect.
There are SO many examples of this same correlation/cause/effect syndrome in singing. For example, you might see your favourite singer smiling wide with their mouth open ear to ear and make the connection - "okay, great singing requires a wide smile at the mouth" when in fact, a wide smile at the mouth spreads the soft palate, widens your vocal tract and vowel and causes you to push, strain and belt without control. Instead, the key here is again to form your vowels properly and lean towards a vertical aperture of the mouth instead.
The same goes for many common issues in singing, from being unable to sing high notes, to straining, to a nasal tone, to an airy voice - quite often the cause is totally different from the effect; so the true key to fixing ANY vocal issue is actually to address the base fundamentals of your singing technique to ensure you're not chasing a better voice by shoving a banana in your ear.
Master The Four Vocal Fundamentals
With The Foundation 101 Course
The Four Vocal Fundamentals
You might also be surprised to learn that EVERY single vocal technique out there, every term, every concept - relates directly to these four Vocal Fundamentals;
- Height In The Vocal Tract
- Forward Placement
- "All In One Flow"
- Mixed Tonality
For example, Vowel Modification, Narrowing the Vowel, Raising the Soft Palate and even Yawning before you sing are all a direct relation to singing with Height In The Vocal Tract; and without this base fundamental, none of these secondary techniques, tips and tricks will work properly in your voice - and you'll experience strain and tension.
This even relates to the raised Larynx example, because a raised larynx is one of the first signs that you're not creating height in the vocal tract correctly; you can push that Larynx down all you want, yawn like yogi bear, sing dopey or many of the other superficial fixes for lowering the larynx, but the second you're thrown a word that doesn't naturally sit in the vocal tract correctly that little bugger is going to raise like a hot air balloon without a tether.
The Four Vocal Fundamentals will set up your voice in a way that bypasses many of these common issues by getting things right EVERY single time you sing, right from the START.
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Learning how to sing can be frustrating and complicated - but it doesn't have to be! You might be surprised to learn that EVERY single vocal technique, tip and concept out there relates directly to The Four Vocal Fundamentals. Height In The Vocal Tract | Forward Placement | All In One Flow | Mixed Tonality By mastering these four simple basics you can build a spectacular voice without falling into the deep dark well of endless YouTube videos and confusing terms that have 100 different meanings, or 100 different terms that mean exactly the same thing. Keep it simple and remember - "Less Clicking - More Singing!" https://bohemianvocalstudio.com/get-better-at-singing-fast-with-the-four-vocal-fundamentals #voicecoach #vocalcoach #howtosing #singingteacher #singingcoach #originalmusic #rocksinging #singinglessons #rocksinging
Do You Have What It Takes?
When I first started learning how to sing, I was constantly second guessing myself as to whether I really HAD what it takes to be a better sing - maybe I just had a bad voice? I really wanted someone to just tell me if becoming a better singer was possible for me, and how I should be investing my time and efforts for faster progress.
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Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.