Adam and His Apple
Once Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, a lot of things changed. And
strangely, the particular fruit they stole came to be commonly thought of as an
I'm not here to speculate
about what happened in a beautiful garden so long ago.
I'm here to talk about the
organ of the body that came to be called (in English) the ADAM's APPLE. For when
trying to get past your vocal breaks or transitions, THIS ORGAN IS VERY
IMPORTANT. This article is about why.
FIND YOUR OWN APPLE
First, let me help you find
your own adam's apple. Your adam's apple is the visible part of your "voice
box," or larynx. The "voice box" is a sturdy little frame built
of cartilage, across which your vocal folds (or cords) are suspended.
Men find theirs easily because
it's visible in the mirror. It's the little lump, with a V-shaped notch,
protruding from their windpipe in front. Ladies often have more trouble seeing
To find yours...pretend your
windpipe is a delicate flute and you are going to put your fingers along the
flute. As you spread out your fingers a bit, lightly touch your fingertips to
your throat. Now swallow.
Do you feel the little bump go
up? That's your Adam's apple, or larynx. Now yawn.
Do you feel it go down? Good.
WHAT DO I DO WITH IT?
There are many sets of muscles
all around the larynx. But the only ones used to create sound when you sing are
housed INSIDE the larynx. They are the 2 tiny muscles (vocal cords) that run
along the inside edge of 2 tiny folds of skin (vocal folds), which get stretched
across the windpipe when you engage them to make vocal sounds.
When you breath, they hug the
edge of the "pipe" to let air through. When you speak or sing, the
swing together and form a seal in order to employ the air coming out of the
lungs to set them vibrating.
All this happens without you
seeing it and most of the time without you thinking about it.
Ahh...but then you start to
sing. You find that you have formed the mental habit of thinking that singing is
physically taxing, like lifting weights. As a result, you begin to "cinch
yourself up." You gather all the muscles in your throat and get them to
"help" you hit the notes you want (especially if they are high notes).
But this habit just increases
tension and causes vocal strain. So what can we do about that? WE
"TRICK" OUR VOICE.
HOW TO TRICK THE STRAIN OUT OF
Remember when you swallowed?
Do that again and feel with your hands around your throat area. Do you feel all
those muscles flexing? That is a fine habit for swallowing and a terrible habit
Remember the yawn? Try that
again. Do the muscles flex or relax? Unless you yawn like no one else, you could
feel your entire throat area go lax...or re-lax. That is a very good habit for
yawning AND for singing.
So we trick our voice into
relaxing...dumping it's ingrained tension...by mimicking the yawning action...
WITH A SIMPLE EXERCISE
To build this into your
voice...to make it a part of the way you sing, you really need more than just
this one exercise. But you will get to see with this exercise how simply you can
**If you find this little
exercise helpful, you'll find many more like it in my main program, Singing
Success. All of these exercises in combination address the many other strange
habits singers get into.
OK, to the exercise...
Pooch your lips out. (Push
your cheeks up slightly with your fingers if need be...to bunch up the skin
around your lips, so they'll be loose). Then make the motor-boat
Now while making this sound,
lower your Adam's apple so that you sound "dopey."
At first, this can be like
rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time--it takes
concentration--but don't give up. b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b...but very DOPEY.
Now sing this sound on notes
of a simple 5-tone scale. (do re mi fa so fa mi re do--those are the notes, NOT
the syllables to sing--just sing b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b). You are singing up and back
down that short scale, but you're making the strange, dopey motor-boat sound.
Now move it up one note (one
half step)...the next scale higher. Then the next higher. Eventually, you will
reach the note where your "break" happens. If you can keep your Adam's
apple down, you will find yourself removing that normal strain and instead of
the "break," you will have begun to build a "bridge."
Do not give up on this. This
one exercise alone can add a couple notes to your range! And believe
me...there's more where that came from. You have more engine under the hood than
you may know.