For those who would like to understand more about the mechanics of vocal functioning, the following is a fairly brief overview:

The vocal cords (also called “folds”) are located inside the larynx (pronounced “lair-inks” NOT “lar nicks”).  The larynx is the small protuberance in the throat (much more pronounced in men than in women) that houses the vocal cords, which are attached from front to back.  Air pressure from below causes the cords to open and close very quickly, creating sound.  One objective in vocal training is to create exactly the correct amount of air pressure that will allow the cords to vibrate freely and efficiently.  We are looking fo a balance between air pressure and vocal cord resistance.

When the singer uses “extrinsic’ or unnecessary muscles to create vocal sound (usually the muscles of the neck, throat and tongue- the swallowing mechanism), an imbalance is created.  When these muscles tighten in an effort to control pitch or dynamics, external and unnecessary muscular tension is created, which causes the larynx to rise and prevents the vocal cords from vibrating freely.

In correct vocal production the larynx stays in a relaxed and stable position, allowing the cords to easily adjust for pitch and dynamic requirements without outside “help” from interfering muscles that should not be used for singing.  The larynx should never be allowed to lift up to reach for high notes, and it should never be forced down to create a “darker” quality.  Instead, it should remain stable and relaxed.

As the air travels up from the lungs and through the vocal cords, the cords vibrate-faster for higher pitches and slower for lower pitches.  The sound is then reinforced when it reaches the cavities in the cranium, mouth, throat, and chest.  This is one reason voices are so unique; each person has a different resonating system of resonating cavities in the body, and the sound is reinforced differently for each singer based on the size and shape of the spaces or cavities in the cranium and the body.

A vitally important point to remember is that, as the pitch ascends, less vibrating mass of the vocal cords is used to create vocal sound.  One reason that singers often find high notes difficult is that they try to maintain the same feeling of vocal coordination on the high pitches as on the lower pitches, in the “chest voice”.  This is incorrect; instead there needs to be a feeling of release into the higher registers, rather than pulling up weight.  One could say that the singer needs to “release” as the pitch ascends, without entirely “letting go” of the vocal cord adduction.  If you completely let go, you will then flip into falsetto.

I like to use the analogy of shifting gears in an automobile. As the driver increases speed, he must shift into higher and higher gears to avoid stressing the engine.   A new driver attempting to learn to use a stick shift for the first time will take considerable practice before the gear shift becomes smooth and unnoticeable by the passengers.  In the same way, an untrained singer must invest time and practice to make the transition between chest voice and head voice a smooth one, unnoticeable by the listener. This transition occurs if two things are in place- a gradual lessening of vocal cord mass and tension, and at the same time, a resonance shift or transfer, or the sound waves from the mouth and chest, to behind to soft palate and the back of the head.   This is known as “split resonance”.

Finally, the sound is further affected by the articulators- your lips and tongue.  If the larynx and articulating system are relaxed and free from tension and muscular effort, the resulting sound will be free and aesthetically pleasing.

All of these tiny muscular coordinations can be created in the singer by the use of a scientific approach to training the voice, known as vocal technique.  When good vocal technique is in place, through months or years of training, the singer is then free to focus on the emotional delivery of a song, without worrying about whether his voice will work or not.  With correct training, a new “neuromuscular response” is created, (also known as a habit), which then allows the singer to become an artist.

For professional singing lessons in the Atlanta, Marietta and Alpharetta GA  area, or to register for voice training online by skype, facetime, or speakerphone,  please visit the website at www.singlikeastar.com, and click on the GET STARTED tab to register for a professional vocal evaluation and consultation.

For free singing tips and voice lessons, please subscribe to our You Tube channel at