Ep. 17 “Lowering The Larynx” – Voice Lessons To The World


♬ Hi everybody! My name is Justin Stoney
and I’m the founder of New York Vocal Coaching
here in New York City. Welcome to episode 17 of
Voice Lessons To The World. The show where we want
to help you guys as singers by answering your questions about
singing from all over the world. I’ll give you a chance
to ask questions later, but our question for the week
comes from Annie L. in Taiwan. And Annie says, “Dear Justin,
I love your videos about the larynx. Can you tell me how
I can lower my larynx?” Well that’s an
awesome question. And, thanks for the
compliment Annie. Let’s talk about that today. Because – we have discussed
the larynx a little bit. And we do need the
ability to lower the larynx. So we’re going to
talk about how. For those of you who have never
experienced a low larynx, we’ll start with that. The best, easiest way to
first feel a low larynx is to experiment with
some character sounds. So if I’m speaking to you like this –
this is speaking with a relaxed neutral larynx. But if I start to drop my larynx,
then it starts to get a little bit dopier or maybe a little bit
sort of dumber sounding. And it’s kind of a goofy voice,
it’s kind of a character voice. So, you know, if I said,
“Hello my name is Justin,”
[with neutral larynx] and then I made it
a little bit dopey it would be, “Hello my name is Justin.”
[with low larynx] So go ahead and say
that first at home, “Hello my name is Annie,” let’s try that.
[with neutral larynx] And then go ahead and make
it a dumb character sound, “Hello my name is Annie.”
[with low larynx] Good. So this is the first way
that you can start to feel what a low
larynx sounds like. A couple of characters
that might use a low larynx would be like Eeyore
from Winnie the Pooh, “Oh no, I’m so depressed.” Right?
[low larynx] Another might be Barney,
if you remember that kid show. We have, “I love you, you love me. We’re a…” whatever.
[low larynx] So that’s a low larynx
character voice. And it just gives you the sense
of what that even feels like. But I should mention this. Our final product is not going
to be this low larynx sound. We need the ability to know
how to lower the larynx. But we’re not just going to be
jamming it down all the time. Even though as I’ve said
classical singers sing with a lower larynx
than pop singers, classical singers don’t jam
their larynx all the way down. It’s just a little bit of a deeper
coordination, laryngeally speaking, than in a
contemporary sound. So we don’t want
to be all the way down. This being said, it’s not
a bad thing to exercise your voice with a little
bit of a deeper larynx. Now, here’s some other things that
are important for keeping a low larynx. We need physical relaxation. Physical relaxation of the breath, getting the breath deep in
the body as we’ve talked about, allowing the air to come down
and to expand the abdomen. If you’re up here you’re
probably going to have a much harder time
relaxing your larynx. The other thing
is your posture. If there’s a lot of tension
in the upper body and you’re feeling a sense of lift
up here just from your posture, that’s another thing
to drop down. You also want to feel
the feet into the earth, the hips dropping down,
shoulders dropping down, and next you want the
jaw to drop down as well. If you have a really
tight and tense jaw, that’s going to also make it
hard to find the low larynx. You want to have a feeling of
release and looseness in the jaw. And then also the face. Some people really
are singing like this and that actually does tend
to cause a larynx lift as well. So we want a looseness
of face, a looseness of jaw, a looseness and depth
of posture and of breath. And those things will contribute
to your ability, Annie, to lower your larynx. Now the next thing is
what vowel we sing with. If you want to get
a lower larynx, if you’re noticing that you’re
singing with too high of a larynx all the time and
it’s getting a little bit tight, certain vowels that you
exercise your voice with are going to work
better than others. Some of the best vowels
for lowering your larynx are, OH, OO, UH, AH, and UU. So again that’s,
OH, OO, UH, AH, and UU. Now you can kind
of see that my lips on most of these
vowels move this way. And that’s another
thing that can help you to lower your
larynx if you need, is having lips and cheeks
moving in and down. Okay. So we’re going to do an exercise now
that helps you with a low larynx. We’re going to do a B-U-B,
BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB. And now this setup of BUB-BUB-BUB,
is a really good exercise for getting the larynx down in case,
Annie or anybody else, you haven’t really
felt this before. So now this is the pattern,
we’ll do… ♪ BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB ♪ And what we want to avoid is… ♪ BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB ♪ where my sound gets
kind of nerdy and bratty. We’re looking in this exercise
purposefully for depth. So we want, ♪ BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB ♪ ♪ BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB ♪ I’ve got that deep sound,
that open larynx. So that’s the point, now I’m gonna
give you a chance to do it. Guys are gonna be down here,
♪ BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB ♪ And ladies up here,
♪ BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB ♪ And concentrate
on all those things… Relaxation here, depth,
loose jaw, narrowness, and make sure you don’t
squeeze the larynx. Keep a little bit of
that character sound in the sound if
you have trouble. Here we go… ♪ ♪ BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB ♪ Nice. ♪ Good. ♪ ♪ BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB ♪ Well done. ♪ Great. ♪ BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB ♪ Nice. ♪ ♪ BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB ♪ ♪ ♪ BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB ♪ Good. ♪ ♪ BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB ♪ ♪ Nice job. ♪ ♪ BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB ♪ Last one. ♪ ♪ BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB-BUB ♪ Great work. So again, it’s not
our final product to sing with a very
deep larynx. But, depending on
what style you sing, you might want
a lower larynx. And, all singers, even if you’re singing
a more contemporary sound, will need the ability to drop
your larynx as a technical skill. So I do encourage
you to work on that. Start off with the character
sounds if it’s new to you. And then think
about some of those physical relaxation
elements that I gave you. And then, you don’t
have to do it on BUB, you can do it on some
of those other vowels. But work with
some deeper vowels. To help find that roundness
and that richness in the sound is going to open up
a huge realm of possibilities for you no
matter what style you sing. So, Annie and everybody, I
hope that’s been helpful for you guys
today as singers. If you have questions you’d like
to see us answer on the show you can send an email to: [email protected]
[♪] We just encourage you not to
lose the joy and the passion.
[♪] Don’t let people tell you
that you can’t sing.
[♪] You know it’s not true.
[♪] Get with a great voice teacher
that you trust in your area.
[♪] If you guys are in
New York City
[♪] you can check us out at: www.NewYorkVocalCoaching.com
[♪] And if you like these videos you can visit: www.VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com
[♪] I’m Justin Stoney.
We’ll see you next time.
[♪] ♬

78 comments

my parents think I'm crazy – all they hear is me saying "mum" and "gig" – talking to myself – and trying to impersonate barney ;D

hey these videos are amazing
just a suggestion: you should be normalizing the volume of these videos – some of them are considerably louder than others which can be a bit alarming to people listening with headphones.

Anonymous from the UK,
Hi love your teaching technique, I am a female/transgender tenor (I am able to sing soprano/alto as well) When breathing from the stomach, I can create a quite convincing Baritone voice yet when i hit lower notes, like E2 my voice goes into the fry register Can you recommend any ways to prevent this/make my lower register fuller? I will be very grateful if you can.

Thank you Justin. I see how it looks and feels with your demonstration, but how do you keep or maintain the larynx down as you transition very high up the scale while sounding natural?

Hi Justin, I find that Yawning, and placing my fingers on the throat is a great way to lower the larynx. As a singer myself, I sing all styles with a low larynx, then I am sure not to creep up to my throat, and I save my voice. It is very challenging to go up the scale with this low Larynx, but it becomes second nature. Thank you for the videos.

lol that piano looked like a green screen. Great job. I loved this explanation. And I coach myself. I was beginning to lose control of my larynx in my high mix, so this helped a little.

I want to know how to sing higher with a low larynx because as you go higher, the larynx tends to rise. Even when I think about it, my larynx will rise as I get higher to the point where It sounds gross no matter what. 

Your videos are fantastic and an absolute godsend for a post-classical singer wanting to improve contemporary technique. Perhaps you should replace complimenting ("good", "great" etc.) with reminders of the key objectives of each scale. For example, you could say "don't let your larynx jump over your bridge" or warn us of common bad habits relevant to a particular technique such as "careful not to hold tension in your neck" in the larynx lowering exercise. Thank you!

Thank you Justin! Great video; I took notes and am practicing. I just had a quick question. Is it possible that after working in a call center for 10 years my larynx tends to stay high and not allow me to use lower register? My voice feels weak and doesn't resonate when speaking on normal conversation. I've had this issue for past 3-4 years. Thank you for your time!

yeah this is a great exercise. i have been incorporating it in my warm ups and my larynx staying lower while singing higher.

I got very sick several years ago and my soft palette dropped and my larynx flipped upwards, causing a very unpleasant voice. Very depressing for an ex singer….hoping I can exercise it to at least help a little

You're such an amazing teacher, Justin! I wish I lived somewhere close so I could take lessons from you in person. And also wish I were a millionaire so I could live in fucking NYC.

Could you please upload a video on keeping the larynx low whilst going onto the high notes? I'm usually fine going all the way through until I reach G sharp or A. After that I can't help but subconsciously raise my larynx despite trying not to.

laryngeal descent begins in inspiration , the depressor muscles of the larynx ( Sternohyoid
tirohioideo
Homohioideo ) are activated with deep inspiration , producing a tracheal traction lowers the larynx. I mean, I think it is not so necessary to manipulate my sounds to know if my larynx descended.saludos very good video!!!

I've been told i'm a soprano, i have some pitch/vibrato problems and i end up shouting while singing higher notes. can someone recommend one of these videos that will help me? also, my voice is high enough that i can do whistle tones but some of them come out raspy/hoarse: if that helps give an idea of what kind of voice i have.

When I'm making that dopey voice I feel like my larynx is being pulled down with the root of my tounge, won't that just create more tension?

Hello Justin,
Love your videos!
About this video: When you drop (not push) your larynx down, should the back of the tongue drop down as well? Is it not a bad practice to put the tongue back?
I heard that the back of the tongue should stay high. But I do not get that – when I drop my larynx down, the back of the tongue has to go down as well…

Well, how can I send a question to you? I want to ask How I can recognize low larynx and high larynx in my singing voice?

No matter what I do I can not keep my larynx low! unless i'm singing low notes. its soooooo annoying! i will catch myself and try to lower it but then I lose the note! I will even move my larynx without making sound to get a better feel of the difference between a low larynx and a high larynx. I can lower it on vowels but consonants or even vibrato i catch myself going back into high larynx. same thing when i have to talk loudly (i work in a restaurant) by the end of the night my neck muscles hurt and my throat feels like i swallowed glass. But I don't wanna sound like a man and i can't lower my larynx without sounding like a man. ugh.

Hi Justin , did you know you are probably related to the WW2 code-breaking genius Alan Turing? His mum was Sara Stoney .

my Larynx constantly rises the higher i go in my register, its became a habit, teacher will say stuff like don’t tense or just relax but that doesn’t help i cant stop tensing which them makes the larynx raise. how can i fix this as i have tried to look everywhere with everyone just giving the same answers

I forgot about this episode. I've been doing this exercice lately and i'm finally improving my lower register and I don't sound nasal anymore. Thank you very much!

I feel like my larynx goes down and also back when I do the voice, but if I just try to lower my larynx I just get a deeper voice not dopey.

Also a thing that works for me to low just a little bit my larynx is to simulate like the crying feeling, this will drop down a few the larynx!

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