I’ve noticed that my voice seems to fluctuate a lot in clarity, and I would like to be able to control it enough to speak clearly and sing well when I need to. I recently read a book about singing and saw that the recommended position of the Adam’s Apple is in a relaxed placement, not too high, as in swallowing, and not too low, as in yawning. I realized this morning that I have a tendency to ‘swallow my voice’ when I talk unclearly, sing very high or very low notes — the Adam’s Apple rises almost to my chin. Are there good exercises for overcoming this and having a more relaxed throat?
The book you read had the correct idea – just as the voice is stable in breathing, so it is in speaking and singing. If it is moving, it is likely compensating for a lack of breath support. It might also suffer from poor coordination between the breath and the phonation.
The Adam’s Apple is a small protuberance of cartilage in the front of the larynx and allows us to see and feel it moving. If you very lightly touch it, you can monitor the movement. NEVER PRESS ON THE LARYNX.
First, just touch the larynx and feel how stable it is while you breathe in and out. Now, allow an easy “sigh” on an “AH” to sound on an easy pitch in the middle of your speaking voice as you exhale, and notice that the larynx does not move. It just stays there and vibrates. You will feel the vibrations of the “AH” in your fingertips.
Continue sighing easily in the middle of the speaking range using different vowels: “EE, AYE, AH, OH, and OOH.” Notice if the larynx moves on different vowels. If so, determine if the tongue is pulling up or back in the mouth. Keep it flat in the bottom of the mouth. The tip should always remain in contact with the lower front teeth. Notice also if the larynx moves when you move your lips or jaw. It need not. All of these articulators can move independently.
Next, form an “NG” hum like at the end of the word sing. Notice that you can breathe while keeping the formation of the “NG” and that the larynx remains stable. Now feel like you sigh an “NG” sound on an easy pitch in the middle of the speaking voice with each exhale.
Once you can do this, start to slide the hum up and down in pitch without the larynx moving. If the larynx moves it is likely doing so because of a lack of support in the lower ribs.
If you grunt, you will feel the ribs expand. Release the grunt but keep the work in the ribs. Repeat all of the above steps and add the strong work of the ribs. Eventually you will be able to glide on a siren from the lowest to the highest pitches in your voice with a stable larynx and steady support of the ribs.
Once you have mastered this on an “NG” hum, you can transfer the same ability to vowels.