Manipulation

Free singing is the opposite of manipulation. Anyone who teaches you to move your larynx on purpose is teaching you to manipulate your throat. No honest emotions will come through a manipulated throat position. Manipulation teaches you to hold on to the very muscles that need to move. Anyone who tells you to put your larynx in a specific place, or to move your false folds, or contract your “aryepiglottic sphincter” is asking you to do things with your throat that your throat was never intended to do. Anyone who tells you that belting is “singing through your nose or singing with nasal resonance” is just plain wrong. Anyone who tells you that you have to make a bright smiley face in order to belt is also wrong (it can help at the beginning, but once you get the sound, the smiley face can go away). You cannot belt decently if you do not have a good solid chest register. Nasality has nothing to do with that.

You were not meant to “vibrate your vocal folds” or “keep your larynx down low in your throat” any more than you were meant to “beat your heart” or “make your food digest”. Yes, we can get the folds to vibrate but we do that by making sound. Yes, we can hold the larynx down in the throat, by pressing the back of the tongue down and holding the jaw down at the same time, but then the larynx will get stuck and the high notes will go away, not to mention that the sound will get heavy and legubrious. Yes, you can try to “contract your false folds” if you know what they are and where, but why would you do that? What kind of a sound would that give you anyway? Cheech. You can make your heart beat by running up and down a few flights of stairs quickly. You can assume your food will digest, but I don’t think anything can hurry it up.

You have to know what the body does on its own, what can interface with the body and affect its responses indirectly, and what you just cannot make happen on purpose through any deliberate means. The throat is a responsive mechanism. Any kind of teaching that wants you to “get in there and do stuff” is counter productive and, potentially, harmful. It is, at a minimum, a good way to inhibit honest emotional communcation which suffers from any kind of restriction anywhere, but most particularly from restriction in the throat. Telling you to move your larynx is as bad, albeit in a different manner, as telling you to vibrate your forehead or send the sound across the room. Useless information that just makes it harder, not easier, to sing.

So, the next time you are busy digesting your lunch, don’t contract those false folds or keep your larynx “down low” while you practice those vocal exercises, just try to find a comfortable place to sing that sounds good.

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