Raise Your Voice By Richard Lawton

DRIVING WITH THE BRAKES ON! Part 2. How To Avoid The Friction Straining Your Voice.

In the previous post I pointed out some of society’s pressures that will make us feel that we must avoid being vocally ‘too much,’ and how our vocal muscles contract in order to accommodate this urge. If you’re someone who uses your voice all day then to avoid strain you need to know about two of ‘The Three Throats.’

The bottom one of the two concerns knowing how to exercise your ‘false vocal folds.’ In the interests of brevity, I’ll skip the anatomy lesson and tell you that one of the best things you can do to release your lower throat is to yawn.

When I’m conducting a vocal session I often get people to prop themselves up against a wall and do this 'til it makes their eyes water. This is an antidote to all those times you’ve had to ‘swallow your words,’ before you spoke out about something you felt passionate about, because it seemed unsafe to do so. Yawning also helps soften that big chomping, (masseter) muscle that I talked about in the previous session.

If you don’t exercise that lower throat, then what happens eventually is that, (just like un-stretched hamstrings,) those false vocal folds slowly seize up until as you get old you’re stuck with a thin croaky voice, which is an extreme example of driving with the brakes on. If you don’t think you can yawn on cue then take a few short sharp in-breaths as you stretch your arms up. Most people find that sets them off pretty quickly.

Open your throat and take the brakes off.

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