After reading and then responding to a singer thread on that forum I frequent!
What is with the prudishness of certain singers?
The body houses the voice. What is so cutting edge about then USING the body and knowing how it functions and moves and stretches and actually TOUCHING IT?!?!?!!?
The primary "taboo" I am speaking of in this post is the....LARYNX!!!!
Reading and speaking to some singers you would think this is a "touch and you'll turn to stone" body part!!
The larynx is simply a complex combo of cartilage and muscles and ligaments and membranes...
You don't need permission from some guru to touch it and explore it!
If it is cartilage and muscles and ligaments and membranes, it will respond in a similar way as other cartilage and muscles in your body!!!
If you feel tight in your shoulders - you stretch. If your hamstrings feel locked, you stretch. Sometimes you even go for a massage...
Why would the larynx be any different????
If you are listening to somebody who says "Don't touch!" you have lost your sanity!! It's YOUR body for crying out loud! It's your voice and wouldn't it be AMAZING if you actually learned about how it feels and moves and stretches not just by someone telling you or looking at a diagram in a book but just touching it and massaging it gently and swallowing to see what happens and breathing and feeling it stretch????
Vocal tensions/fatigue/hoarseness/exhaustion needs just as much attention as other muscles in your body that develop tension/fatigue and exhaustion!
The intrinsic nature of the laryngeal muscular is enough to suggest that! Add to that the connection to the tongue, and the surrounding muscles of the jaw, the neck, the face - and massage could be necessary!
YOU WILL NOT HURT ANYTHING IF YOU TOUCH YOUR LARYNX!!!!
Feel the shape, gently shift it between your hands so you see that it "gives" and is flexible! Keep your tongue heavy and your jaw loose as you massage. You may feel "clicks" which is just ligaments releasing! RELEASE IS GOOD!
Many singers have tongue tension - the tongue is anchored to the hyoid bone and the hyoid bone dangles the larynx from it. If the tensions begin one place they could travel to another - and finding ways or releasing through gentle massage and breath can reinforce the release!
The larynx needs to be released and open. If it is high and tight, issues arise. How will you know what is happening if you don't touch it?
If you are dealing with vocal fatigue/strain/hoarseness etc - laryngeal massage can be key to releasing muscular stress. And then FULL BODY MASSAGE can continue that release.
Ask your ENT, see a speech pathologist, ask your voice teacher! You will not learn until you ask and explore and find out.
Saying "don't touch" is simply the stupidest thing I have heard in awhile. No wonder singers get the reputation of being neurotic!
If you don't learn HOW your body functions, your voice will never be optimum. Part of learning HOW that body functions to house the voice and support it means exploration by touch...it's your choice.
There is nothing taboo about the larynx - it houses your cords and needs TLC too!
If as a singer you are going to create a taboo about your larynx then perhaps it's time to go do something else. Seriously.
These self-imposed taboos and neurosis are precisely what stops singers from finding truth.
I thought a quest for truth was more important.
Susan Eichhorn Young
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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