So you want to be a rock singer?

The following conditions are present for singing rock music.

Rock singing is high intensity. Rock singing requires optimum effort to avoid laryngeal constriction. Optimum effort means singing feels as easy as speaking in the throat. Breathing is high effort – breath control exercises are recommended.

Avoid constriction of the false vocal cords by thinking a “happy smile” inside your throat. Add the sensation of a sob or moan.  Stop any exercising if your throat tickles, scratches or makes you cough.

Vocal cords – Usually glottal, aspirate, and thick to stiff – say “uh-oh” on different pitches to experience glottal onset. (Engage the muscle at the top of your stomach, and middle of your ribs – to help with breath control).

Aspirate means air. Most rock singers sing with variations of an aspirate voice. This means that some breath is escaping. The folds are relatively short, and thick, similar to speech voice, and stiffen when stretched for high pitches.

The thyroid cartilage is tilted – say “meow” or whimper like a puppy dog. Practice this at the same volume in your low voice and high voice. Feel the “sweetness” added to your sound.

The cricoid cartilage and the thyroid cartilage are connected by a joint, that allows the two cartilages to rotate relative to each other creating an open space. (This is an over-simplied way of describing what actually goes on between the two sets of cartilage).  Try to find the small space between the thyroid and cricoid cartilage by putting your finger on your thyroid notch (your Adam’s apple). Now slide down slightly, just below the bump. This is the space. Tilting the thyroid cartilage when you “meow” or whimper may feel like the larynx is trying to rise. However, this sensation is likely the thyroid cartilage trying to tilt (which stretches the vocal cords).

The cricoid cartilage is engaged – when a singer is belting and/or shouting. This is high intensity voice production and has the potential to injure the voice. I suggest practising “happy” shouty singing with optimum breath control and thyroid tilt to get the cords to stretch. (Check your puppy dog whimper on all pitches and then do a happy shout and maintain that pitch for a duration). Remember, if it tickles, scratches or hurts, you are doing it wrong and should stop.

The larynx – this is the entire voice box. In general, rock singing requires the larynx to mid to high. However, if the larynx goes too high, the singer is unable to bridge to their head voice.

The tongue/jaw/mouth/soft palate – Rock singers typically have wide open mouths with the tongue raised in the back of the mouth, with the tip meeting nice with the back of the bottom teeth. The soft palate is high. (You can get this open big feeling by pretending to bite into a big apple, and allowing your tongue to hang out over your bottom lip).

Here is an exercise that is essential for rock singers.

Men: Hung-gee over your first passagio   [flowplayer src=’’]

Ladies: Hung-gee over your first passagio   [flowplayer src=’’]

Please let me know if you have any questions. Feel free to leave me a comment.

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