My mother was a professional dancer. She was very young when she started (age 14) and had little formal training (back in the day, and this was way back, that was possible). She was taking class and had her leg up on the wall. Now, mind you, she was already dancing well enough to get a good job and doing several shows a day. The teacher insisted that my mother could put her leg further up the wall. My mother assured her that this was not possible. Her leg would not stretch one more millimeter. The teacher said something like, you are just lazy, and pushed my mother’s leg hard at which point my mother screamed in pain. She was lucky to be out of work for only two weeks (no sick pay in those days). That story stuck with me very vividly.
All Muscular Systems Have Limits
While the vocal folds are ligaments, not muscles, the entire system is slightly flexible (except for the hyoid bone and the mandible and hard palate). Stretching chest register up is stretching chest register up and there is no substitute for that. Ditto, coaxing head down. If something else could substituted for that (breath support, resonance adjustments, etc.) then everyone would learn to sing every sound in every style like water off a duck’s back and we wouldn’t be teaching technique at all. No. It is something that has to be done for its own sake, slowly, repetitively, over time. This reaps rewards that are very important and the work is worth the effort and the time because of what you have when you get it to “just be there” easily. Again, a dancer knows that even after she is skilled and experienced, she has to stretch on a regular basis in order to keep doing what she does.
The Muscles Can Be Taught To Go Beyond Those Limits