Singing is like playing a tune, the singer being both the musician and the instrument at the same time. So, just as a musician must know how to tune his instrument’s strings, so you as a singer, must know how to better control your vocal cords.
This involves the maintenance of your vocal instrument, keeping it clean and properly energized, as well as keeping calm and knowing how to use your muscles to maximize the effects of your voice.
Your body is an amazingly sophisticated system, and your vocal system is definitely one of its most amazing parts, here are some amazing facts about your vocal cords:
- Men’s vocal folds vibrate from 100 to 150 times per second, and women’s about twice that rate;
- Vocal cords vibration can only be seen in a slow-motion shot.
- Vocal cords stretch at high tones, and grow sorter at low pitches.
You do not actually control your vocal cords and voice-box. They are operated by involuntary muscles, and their operation is commanded by autonomous nervous system. Nonetheless, you can improve your vocal performance, by relaxing your body, in order to allow your vocal cords to maximize their effect when “you” stretch them. You can also keep your resonance cavities clear, and exercising vocal techniques to improve and diversify your vocal qualities.
It is less about commanding your cords, rather than discovering what they can perform spontaneously.
Here are some ways to control and maintain your vocal cords:
- Make low, soft sounds, or ascending and descending sounds, inhaling anadditional amount of air to allow your cords relax when necessary. If you are a singer, make a slight, naturally sounding nasalization, to relieve the stress of your larynx. This should also channelthe resonance from your larynx to the front of your face, namely the nasal and sinuses cavities. For this purpose, you can alsoperform vocal exercises withTMRG nose-clip.
- Sing or speak with your upper lip drawn slightly forward. You can also put a TMRG mouth clip on. This should intensify your voice. If you are a singer, it will allow you produce higher pitches easily.
- Make sounds with a drinking straw in your mouth, in order to slightly contract and relax your cords, and use your forehead resonance. This way, your voice will resonate more easily.
- Keep your resonance cavities open, by breathing exercises, TMRG disinfection solutions, general physical exercises (for example, athletes’ warm-ups and release exercises), and proper diet. Using all resonance cavities is essential for singers and intense speakers. Otherwise, their vocal cords might thicken due to continuous straining.
- Perform general relaxation exercises, such as body stretches, head, shoulders and neck stretches, as well as yoga. Stretching exercises relax contractions, allowing your muscles to use their full potential, warming it up and preparing it to support your voice.
Singing, as well as intense and normal speaking, involves a support from the diaphragm, in order not to overstrain the vocal system during the vocal effort.
For this purpose, to control your vocal cords you should perform the following exercises:
- Abdomen exercises;
- Intercostal muscles exercises: expand your ribcage while breathing in, until you feel your front and back ribcage expands, hold the air in for a few seconds, and the breath out;
- Sing a song, with just an “S” sound.
- Warm up your respiratory system, so you can move your vocal cords more comfortably. Imagine your throat widens during breathing in and breathing out. You can also practice Ujjayi breathing. Breathing exercises should also improve the coordination between your diaphragm and vocal system. It is most essential for those who must produce high vocal intensities, since this involves greater air intakes.
- A proper diet can minimize acidity level in your digestive system, and the phlegm level in your respiratory system. For details, see Vocal Hygiene Guide, on TMRG site.
- Carefully maintain your immune system, which can prevent colds, or at least shorten the recovery period. (Colds can give you a throat inflammation, which might last for over a month, and is a great discomfort for a professional singer or lecturer). For example, make sure to drink a squeezed half a lemon with a cup of water, and eat fresh fruits every morning, as well as food additives known to be good for your immune system. We also recommend using TMRG Voice Saline Oil Spray for this purpose.
- Make sure you have a proper sleep before a vocal effort. A high quality vocal performance consumes a great amount of energy. If you do feel tired before a vocal effort, have some high-energy food, which is easy to digest, such as a date or a banana. If possible, perform relaxation exercises. You can also use TMRG Vocal Energy Essence.
Your vocal cords and voice box are your instruments. Therefore, you must keep them in tune, in order to control your vocal cords and allow them perform to their full potential
Wishing you the best vocal health,
TMRG voice specialist