Tension in the larynx can be a big problem for singers. What could be more frustrating for a singing artist. Standing at the microphone in front of a paying, screaming audience, ready to sing her latest hit for all those adoring fans. As soon as she walked on stage, the restriction in her throat reminded her that instead of taking a few minutes backstage to do some tension releasing exercises, she was anxiously texting her manager somewhere out in the audience.
Now at the microphone, delaying the signal to the drummer to begin the downbeat, all she can do is a few deep breaths, but she knows this will not come close to reducing tension in the larynx. But she’s a professional; the show must go on.
Ways to reduce tension in the larynx
Something is better than nothing. Taking a few more seconds, gleefully offered by the fans to continue their adoration, she reaches out, pulls the mike from the stand, opens her mouth in a yawn, closes her eyes and drops her chin to her chest and counts slowly, one to five, beginning the stretching exercise that was her vocal coach’s first lesson. Then she rolls her neck slowly while she gives the signal to the drummer with her free hand.
She has a long eight bars of a drum intro, then six bars of the wicked bass riff before she starts to sing. In that time she will roll her neck through the four-points of chin to shoulder, to reaching the chin back and high, to the other shoulder and back to the chest, doing a slow five count at each point. She will repeat the exercise almost four times through the intro to her song, then cover the last points after she has begun singing with a low, breathy voice until the first chorus.
It’s a different beginning than the hit recording, but that is what live performance is all about. The professional pulls it off, but she knows she will have recovery exercises to do when she is finally off stage.
The four-point neck roll is just the first of several routines needed for reducing tension in the larynx. The next routine would have been to leave her mouth in the wide-open throat of a yawn, inhale deeply and exhale while vocalizing “ahhhhh…” over a five second run to fully exhale, and repeat for five or ten minutes employing a variety of open vowels.
These are just an overview of some of the ways speech therapy can help you to reduce tension in the larynx.
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