Urban legends of Vocalization

There are a lot of rumors and urban legends which we don’t know for sure are true or not about vocalization. I’ve picked out some of the most common rumors and urban legends about vocalization, and will review them below:

1.Lifting up the soft plate is good when singing
Even if you lift up the soft palate, the resonance chamber won`t increase significantly because the soft palate is very small.
Many people worry when they are lifting the soft palate. They start and then second guess themselves and worry they could be controlling the hard palate.
The truth of the matter is, that it is impossible to lift the hard palate up because it is composed of hard bone.
Most people press the tongue down when expanding the oral cavity to make more space in the oral cavity when they are trying to lift the soft palate. I believe this is referred to to lifting the soft palate down.

2.Showing your teeth is good when singing
I sometimes hear that the voice sounds better if you let out your voice while still showing your teeth.
In a study I ran, I asked one group to show their teeth all the time and another group not to show their teeth at all when singing.
As a result, I concluded that if you show your teeth all the time when singing, you do in fact contract the cheek muscles as well as the corners of mouth go upward which do make the voice sound better.
If you do not show your teeth at all when singing, the orbicularis oris muscle becomes stiff and you cannot move your lips easily, which makes the voice sounds boxy or worse. Therefor, showing your teeth is better than not when singing.

3.Pulling your throat down is good when singing
The purpose of this method is to expand your pharyngeal cavity vertically to improve your voice. Although there are some problems and risks to consider when doing this.
The larynx is suspended by each the right side and left side of the stylopharyngeus muscle and the stylohyoid muscle(stylohyoid ligament).
If you pull the throat down too much, these muscles or ligaments are really extended and could deteriorate your vocalization.
Furthermore, if you use/perform this method too much, it is possible to rupture the stylopharyngeus muscle.
The actions in this method also obstruct the cricothyroid articulation from moving freely, because you have to contract the sternohyoid muscle or the thyrohyoid muscle forcefully when pulling your throat down.
These actions make it hard to control your tone’s pitch or the high register.
I would like to recommend you to expand the pharyngeal cavity forward but not downward, and then the move the hyoid bone forward while at the same time keeping the epiglottis standing up to increase the flow of exhalation.

4.Singing and warming of the throat
I hear often people want to heat up their larynx deeply because it is commonly known that the performance of vocalization is deteriorated if the muscles get too cold.
However, if you heat up too much, the movement of muscles become sluggish. It is because of this reason that I do not recommend to heat up your muscles too much or use extremely hot/burning tempertaures.

5.Dance is not good for the voice
The shock vibrations from the ground and movement is suspected to burden the vocal chords when dancing and singing at the same time.
I have confirmed through studies that even if you bring pressure or vibrations to the throat, by way of dancing movements it does ‘not’ negatively influence the performance of the vocal folds.
However, if you sing a song when you are landing from a jump or high place, you cannot exhale your breath well which will effect vibrating singing techniques and could briefly obstruct vocalizing.
This does not mean that dance is bad for the vocal chords. Dancing while singing only affects breathing, which would just alter a person’s ability when singing.

There are still so many rumors about vocalization, and most individuals will believe what they want without researching, thinking there is no right or wrong way. As a ‘Voice Care Specialist’ I advise a person to always follow this golden rule: if you cannot believe and trust in a method, then you should be careful about trying it.

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