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What Is ‘Neutral Larynx’?

I remember back when I first started voice lessons, I’d read articles and books about singing that would mention ‘neutral larynx’ and never really understand what it all meant. I know now that that’s because it’s a difficult concept for a beginner to comprehend, especially since at that stage there are still so many factors not quite working together for you yet.

For me the idea only really sunk in when I realised that ‘neutral larynx’ comes as the RESULT of all those factors working together – not as something that works independently of the rest.

You wouldn't want to play a blocked flute, so why get in the way of your larynx doing its job?

You wouldn’t want to play a blocked flute, so why get in the way of your larynx doing its job?

In the video below I’ve given some examples of what neutral larynx should and shouldn’t sound like. I’ve also mentioned a few things that you can do to increase your consistency with achieving neutral larynx.

They are:

  • Relaxing and releasing your muscles, especially in your shoulders. Remember muscle connectivity dictates that if one thing is tight, there will be a similar reaction in nearby muscles i.e. your larynx and throat.
  • Tongue Placement. Again, just like above, tight tongue muscles and unhelpful movement will affect the neutrality of the larynx.
  • Correct and low breathing. As mentioned in previous articles, dropping the jaw and deepening the breath will result in the larynx relaxing open.
  •  Not treating high notes as ‘special’. In other words, as your tension and stress levels increase with the rising of pitch, guess what your larynx is doing also? You guessed it, it’s tightening too. High notes aren’t special, they are just another pitch in your range, and you do not need to work harder – just smarter.


Teaching students to relax is the hardest thing a vocal coach can convey, and so much of it comes down to what the student believes about singing. Thankfully, with the right guidance, regular practice and most of all patience, most students will overcome a lot of the anxiety and unneeded effort that they are holding onto when it comes to their technique.

Hopefully this article has shed some light on what the term “neutral larynx” means; as well as helped you understand what might be preventing factors in achieving this more easeful space. I’ll be going into more detail regarding ‘how’ to create a more neutral larynx via my regular and FREE online singing lessons. Follow me on EmailFacebookYouTube and Twitter, to keep track of upcoming singing tips and tricks.

image credit: Grégoire Lannoy

Annalise Cutajar

International Vocal Coach - for more information see www.songbookstudios.com

 

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