The voice is a group of muscles working together to produce specific sound.
When talking about muscles, I mean A LOT of muscles! It's not just two or three groups of muscles... And all of these different muscle groups must work in tandem; their activity and passivity needs to be coordinated to produce a result that can be termed singing!
Muscles can be strengthened and be made more flexible. With the right training all types of muscles can become stronger and more flexible at the same time.
That is achieved through acquiring the right motor-skills. Motor-skills means your control over how your muscles work together.
You can train your mind to understand how your muscles work, in order to get more control over the activity of singular muscle groups, and practice physically to attain more control.
If you can control which muscle group is active and which muscle group is passive at any given time, you can shape the sound that you want to produce very efficiently.
In this blog I try to provide the knowledge that enables you to understand what is actually going on anatomically when you produce different sounds with your voice.
I have discovered that it's much easier to actually learn the skills of producing different sounds healthily when you understand in detail what is going on in your body while producing them. This precise knowledge has helped many of my students to develop a strong voice that stays healthy for life.
Training your muscles, means developing and increasing flexibility and strength. Your muscles have to be flexible to move in whatever way you want them to move and they also have to be strong to stretch other groups of muscles or carry out the workload that you need them to perform.
The very first muscle I want you to learn how to strengthen is the yawning muscle.
It's anatomical term is SternoThyroid Muscle. It's origin is at the upper end of the Sternum and it goes up to the Thyroid-Cartilage.
With men the Thyroid Cartilage is usually more easily visible than with women, because it's often bigger in men. However, all people have a Thyroid Cartilage. The frontal tip of this cartilage is called Adam's apple.
Muscles in anatomy are usually named after the bones or cartilages of their origin. ... meaning where they attach in the body. Usually the part that is lower in the standing human is named first (Sternum = Sterno, Thyroid Cartilage = Thyro makes SternoThyroid Muscle).
The SternoThyroid Muscle – also called the Yawning Muscle – is thus situated between the Sternum and the Thyroid Cartilage.
Its function is to pull the Thyroid Cartilage down towards the Sternum, especially when you yawn.
This muscle is the very first muscle that you need to strengthen, because that muscle is very important in helping you to get the range that you need for a flexible, healthy voice. Increasing its strength starts a process that will grant you Legitimate vocal range of at least 3 octaves and easy control over that range. (I will explain in following posts why that muscle is so essential for increasing your vocal range.)
Therefore, the very first task you have as someone who wants to work professionally with your voice is: You need to Yawn, Yawn, Yawn. Yawn wherever you can, whenever you can. Yawn! ...and feel really good about it! 😉
In many cultures in this world today yawning is made to be a Taboo, it's forbidden: "Don't yawn! ... Well, don't you listen to me?! ... Wake up! ..."
But yawning essential, because it strengthens the the base sound of your voice, the richness of your voice, and the broadness of your voice. Yawning will strengthen your yawning muscle and your yawning muscle is the antagonist to your swallowing muscle. (Keep that in mind for later articles!)
So first off you want to have a very, very strong yawning muscle! ... stronger than your swallowing muscle, because with many people in this world the swallowing muscle is super tight (not a good thing in this case) and therefore keeps the Yawning muscle from doing its work granting them a flexible voice.
In most societies there is no Taboo about using your swallowing muscle, because everybody's swallowing food all the time (... and sadly way too often their emotions as well ...), but there is a lot of taboo around yawning!
That imbalance of freedom to use the Yawning muscle creates an imbalance of muscle power in your throat and therefore, often times the yawning muscle is weak, and the swallowing muscle is very stiff, immobilising people's instrument, their voice.
But for singing that's is really detrimental, because this imbalance causes enormous problems for your voice.
So your yawning muscle has to become stronger gradually and eventually get way stronger than your swallowing muscle to bring back a balance to your muscle-capability.
It's a process, to learn to be really comfortable and flexible with yawning. BUT!: Going through that process will help you to strengthen and stretch the right muscles and it will help you gain and maintain a healthy, big voice for the rest of your life.
And that's the goal, isn't it?: To stay healthy and strong as long as we live and want to use our voice!
Therefore, with continuous practice you can reach any vocal-goal that you desire. ... and the first step is: Yawn, Yawn, Yawn!