Ep.46: Singing Higher is Easier than You Think – Tip# 3 of 5
When you struggle singing higher it’s usually because the larynx is rising.
As the larynx rises, often the vocal cords pull apart and you crack or break into falsetto. It’s very embarrassing, especially if you have a special note you want to sing and your voice explodes in front of everyone.
What I’m about to show you is so simple, you might feel I’m wasting your time. But this may be the very thing you need to make singing higher than you ever thought possible… possible. Are you ready?
The rising larynx is the same thing that happens when you swallow. When you start to swallow the larynx goes up and the epiglottis closes over the top of the vocal cords and windpipe so you don’t choke on the food and water as it slides down the esophagus.
Everything closes off, external neck muscles squeeze and pull the Larynx upward which increases tension and pressure around the vocal cords.
Why do we do that? Often we’ll even stretch our necks upward, lifting our chins higher with the notes.
After years this becomes a habit. You may not even be aware you’re doing it.
Singing Higher is Easier than You Think – Tip# 3
Here’s something you can do to break the habit, stop the rising larynx and keep the vocal cords together.
It’s called bubble lips or lip trill. Here’s how you do it. Find your jaw with your fingers and lift your cheeks to remove any tension around the lips. Now the lips should be floppy. You could use your knuckles like this, or you could use your fingers. With fingers you touch your teeth through your cheeks. All of these, just lift gently.
Don’t squeeze or pinch your lips together. Just lift your cheeks enough to relax the lips so they can bubble or trill.
As you do this you say a relaxed “uh”. This is what we say when the voice is as rest without tension or stress, “Uh, Uh”.
Now blow air through your relaxed lips to get them started bubbling and add your voice. Don’t blow too hard or too loud. This exercise is done without tension.[Demo]
Another exercise will work the same way. It’s called the tongue trill [Demo]
So, why did the vocal teacher install windshield wipers inside his car? “BBBBBBBBubble Lips” ! I just had to share that.
Singing Higher with Bubble Lips or Tongue Trill : Special Tips for Tip #3
Here’s how to use these exercises. You can use any scale or substitute them into any song to help lower the larynx. For example: [Demo]
Now if I were singing a song and I had trouble with it I could substitute the bubbles for the words. [Demo]
Here are some special tips to maximize the benefits of these exercises
- Stay relaxed. This exercise is to eliminate all muscle tension.
- Don’t blow too much air. You want your lips and the air to be balanced. Too much air and the lips blow apart or you have to tighten them which prevents them from bubbling easily.
- You want your lips as floppy and slow as possible. Not tight or fast.
- Don’t pinch the sound as you go higher. Let me show you. [Demo] You don’t want to do that. Rather than pinching it you want to maintain a relaxed and open feeling in the throat. Here’s a good way to find that. [Demo] That’s a more open, relaxed feeling rather than [Demo] There’s not a lot of benefit in that.
- Bend at the waist to help you vocalize on the higher pitches if needed. [Demo]
- Don’t lose the vocal cord connection as you go higher. If needed impose the larynx down with that dopey sound with the bubble lips to help keep the cords connected. [Demo]
- If the cords want to disconnect, do the tongue trill with your lips almost closed. [Demo] Often this will help the larynx stay down and the vocal cords stay connected.
- If you can’t do bubble lips, it’s possible something is out of balance.
Make sure your fingers are lifting your cheeks, not pinching your lips together.
Make sure the air you are blowing is not too much or too little [Demo]
SPECIAL TIP: Make sure your voice (Uh) is moderately strong. Bubble Lips/Tongue Trills work best when there’s a balance between the voice, the air and the lips (or tongue). Too much or too little of one of these and you can’t do it well.
Why does singing higher with Bubble Lips or tongue Trill work?
- The vocal cords and the lips or tongue resist the airflow from the lungs. This helps create some gentle backward air pressure on the larynx which keeps it from rising.
- It interrupts our normal thought process and disconnects us from our habit of reaching upward
- When everything is in balance, it eliminates external muscle tension and allows the internal muscles of the vocal cords to function freely. This helps the vocal cords function at their best!
- We get used to the feeling of resonance shifting easily between chest and head voice with a resting larynx and connected vocal cords. This is the ideal condition for great singing!
The larynx wants to rise and the vocal cords often crack or break or we go very light and breathy right at the first bridge of our voice. Bubble lips or Tongue Trill will help retrain this tendency.
What we tend to do when we sing at the first bridge is what vocal types are all about. If you sing very light and breathy, so you can get through the first bridge without cracking or straining, means your vocal type is likely Light Chest/No Chest.
If you don’t know your vocal type, go to PowerToSing.com and take the PowerTest and quiz. The answers to the quiz will give you your vocal type.
Once you know your vocal type, go to the knowledge center and watch the videos about your vocal type and download the free exercises. These exercises are designed to help you eliminate vocal weaknesses and immediately begin improving your voice.
I’m Chuck Gilmore with Power To Sing.
You can sing higher with beauty, confidence and power.
I’ll see you inside the next video.