How to Relax your Vocal Cords [4 Easy Steps]

    A major problem for singers is to relax their throat while they sing, and with this post on how to relax your vocal cords, you can finally relax your vocal cords.

    Just like different types of yoga are used to relax the body, different warm-up exercises are used to relax your singing muscles. It is very normal for any singer or an actor to get nervous right before the performance which tightens the throat muscles.

    This can sometimes lead to a raspy voice and hence impact your ability to sing/speak confidently. Nonetheless, a few easy steps can be followed to overcome this problem.

    How to relax your vocal cords

    Warm-up exercises

    There are several warm-up exercises that can be used to ensure a smooth voice during the process of singing. One of the most common ones includes: Yawn-sigh technique, Humming, Vocal straw exercise, two-octave pitch glide, vocal sirens exercise, just to name a few.

    Let’s take the example of the yawn-sigh technique, don’t worry it is not as technical as it sounds! You are just supposed to yawn/inhale the air with your mouth closed (from your nose) and exhale through your nose in such a manner that it appears that you’re sighing.

    This will aid in relaxing your voice and throat muscles, which tend to get constricted by the constrictors in your throat as our body enters ‘fight or flight’ mode when we are nervous.

    Sip on hot beverages

    As simple as it sounds! Just sip on some hot water or tea before your performance so your throat gets clear. Make sure that the fluid is warm since it will help relax the muscles.

    Perform throat massage

    Quite an obvious step! Most of the artists are unaware of the fact that laryngeal massage can be a great help in reducing the strain on the larynx (voice box).

    Therefore, massaging the larynx before the performance can be of great help to the singers. Apart from the voice box, there are a number of muscles found in your throat, the major ones being the cricopharyngeal and sternocleidomastoid muscles.

    The sternocleidomastoid muscles are found on the side of your neck, starting from your ears to your shoulders. Stimulating these muscles is very essential in order to enable a smooth voice.

    Massage these muscles in a downwards direction and continue doing so for about 60-90 seconds. This will help release all the tension in your neck and the respective muscles.

    You could also stretch your neck and chin area and pull down your skin. Raise your chin for a second and continue doing this for about 20 seconds at using one-second intervals.

    Next, relax your tongue root by pressing your thumb against it on the underside of your chin with your thumbs. Make sure to keep this pressure for a minimum of 30 seconds for the best results.

    Some general tips for massaging can include the follows:

    • Pick a few specific phrases in order to set a benchmark for comparison before and after the massage.
    • Make sure to compare different pressures in order to attain a suitable one. Preferably, use firm pressure.
    • Make sure to be precise with your movements.
    • Prepare a pattern that works for you and repeat it before performances.

    Breathing Techniques

    The way you breathe can release tension, specifically if you do so from your diaphragm. Breathing from your diaphragm helps release the tension on the vocal cords.

    Sounds like a technical task, but just practice breathing from your stomach instead of your chest which will enable the vocal cords to open properly and fully.

    Another tip is to lay down while placing your hands on your abdomen. Lay down in a way that your chest and hands are falling off the bed or sofa.

    It is obvious that the throat is the powerhouse for all the singers and hence stimulating it is quite an essential step in order to attain a clear voice, but there are a few other essential body parts to stimulate in order to prepare yourself for singing. They are as follows:

    (1) Jaw

    Three major jaw muscles work together to exert pressure on the larynx. They are the masseter, pterygoid and temporal muscles. Massaging from your ears to your jawline will help relax all of these muscles. Make broad circles in both directions and move your mouth as if you are chewing gum.

    (2) Tongue

    As mentioned earlier, tongue movements can help reduce tension in the throat muscles too (refer above)

    (3) Hyoid bone

    The hyoid bone is a U-shaped bone in the crook of your chin, leading to the larynx. For males, it is essential to find Adam’s apple, also known as the thyroid cartilage and if you are a female, you are supposed to find the cricoid cartilage which is a protruding bump in the middle of the throat. Once you find it, press your thumb on it and massage it sideways.

    (4) Larynx

    Repeat the same motion to massage the larynx as in the previous step. Hold your larynx to your right side and take slow, deep breaths through your nose. Repeat the same to the left side.

    These few easy tips and tricks can help you in relaxing your vocal cords before any performance.

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