Lesson 4: Meet the Larynx

Vocal cords, also called vocal folds, are two triangular bands of tissue that sit at the top of your windpipe. They’re open while you’re breathing, and when you speak or sing, they close, pulling tighter for higher notes, remaining loose for lower notes. You want your vocal cords soft, smooth, flexible and free of inflammation.)

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When you start to sing, you begin by breathing. The muscles of the larynx bring the vocal cords together. They stay closed until enough breath (i.e., enough pressure) builds up and a burst of air escapes through the cords. As you run out of breath, the vocal cords are once again drawn together. (So now you know the vocal cords do not work like a stringed instrument; they don’t produce sound by vibrating against each other. Sound is actually produced by the pressure changes created when small jets of air pass through moving vocal cords. This is why it can be helpful to think of breath control as the steam engine that makes the machinery of singing function.)

Don’t: be afraid to explore a different sound when singing. Creating extra space will sound different from your normal speaking voice!

Review exercise: YAH 5-1 (creating space in the throat)

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