Exclusive Voice Physio Articles & Videos.

The Stronger & Fitter You Are, The Better You Can Support Your Voice.

Selina Asirus Tannenberg
Voice Physio by MoveMedics
The Body-Voice Connection
MoveMedics. Vocal Health. Laryngeal Muscles
Laryngeal & Perilaryngeal Muscles*

To understand how your voice and your body are connected, we first need to appreciate how we make sound.

Put super simply, you pass air through your Vocal Folds, they vibrate to make a sound, you then shape the sound with your articulators (tongues, lips, upper teeth…ect).

Breath & Voice
The airflow required to vibrate your Vocal Folds comes from your breath. This is how you take a breath:
 
  • Your Diaphragm descends to draw air into your Lungs, it relaxes to expel air from your Lungs.
Your Diaphragm is a muscle! Your Diaphragm lives at the bottom of your Rib Cage. Your Ribs are connected to your Thoracic Spine at the back and your Sternum in the front. Your Intercostal muscles span the spaces between your Ribs.
 
And of course, your Lungs, the balloons that move air in and out of your body, live inside your Rib Cage.
 
That is, your breath is created by musculoskeletal structures in your Thorax.
MoveMedics. Vocal Health. Breathing Muscles
Diaphragm & Intercostal Muscles*
Larynx & Voice

Your Vocal Folds live inside your Larynx (voice box). Here’s a closer look at the various structures involved with your voice:

  • Your Vocal Folds are two folds of membranous tissue in your Larynx.
  • Your Larynx lives in a myofascial sling that runs from your head to your chest. It is made up of the Thyroid and Cricoid cartilages which are connected to each other by ligaments, these cartilages form the Cricothyroid Joint.
  • The Larynx is wrapped in many muscles collectively called the Laryngeal Muscles.
  • You change Pitch by tilting the Cricothyroid Joint using your intrinsic Laryngeal Muscles.
  • Around the Larynx are other muscles, the Perilaryngeal Muscles, these connect the Larynx to adjacent structures such as the Hyoid bone and the Jaw.
  • You even have a muscle, the Omohyoid, that connects your Hyoid to your Shoulder Blade!

All these structures work intricately together to produce your voice.

That is, your voice is produced by musculoskeletal structures in your Larynx.

MoveMedics. Vocal Health. Cartilages of the Larynx
Thyroid & Cricoid Cartilages*
Body & Voice
MoveMedics. Vocal Health. Muscles Involved in Singing
It's all connected!*

Moving beyond your Larynx and Thorax, your voice then extends to your body – Hip Flexors, Pelvic FloorAdductors and Foot below; Neck muscles and Cervical Spine above; Abdominals in front, and Lumbar Spine behind.

These structures work together to support your breath, your voice, and your movement as you use your voice.

That is, your voice is sustained by musculoskeletal structures throughout your Body

 

To recap, your Thorax creates your breath, which allows your Larynx to produce your voice, and your Body sustains your voice.

This is how your voice is connected with your body. This is your Body-Voice Connection.

So you see, your voice is actually one amazing musculoskeletal instrument!

Strong Body, Strong Voice

Now that we know your voice is a living, breathing instrument (pun intended), we can appreciate how your Physical Fitness and Conditioning can directly affect your voice use:

  • To have effective Breath Management when you use your voice, good cardiovascular fitness is essential.
  • To be Energy Efficient with your voice use, a strong and mobile body is vital.

Just as the fitter and stronger your legs are, the easier and further you can walk. The fitter and stronger YOU are, the better and easier it is for you to use your voice.

In fact, having a Strong and Fit body is crucial for optimising your Vocal Capacity.

MoveMedics. Voice Physio. Breath Management
What Is Vocal Capacity?
MoveMedics. Voice Physio. Low Vocal Capacity

Your Vocal Capacity is your overall ability to use your voice.

When your have good Vocal Capacity, your voice is:

  • Free and Agile
  • Reliable and Confident
  • Energy Efficient
  • You have good Vocal Endurance
  • Well support by good, effective Breath Management

Which means you can:

  • Readily Access your usable Range
  • Have great Options for Artist Expression to achieve the desired results – head voice, chest voice, glides, register, belting… etc
  • Consistently perform well for the duration of your vocal tasks

And perhaps most importantly, you are at lower risk for overuse issues provided that your Vocal Load is well managed.

To optimise your Vocal Capacity, you need a solid foundation of Good Technique, a Strong and Fit Body to power and support your voice, and Smart Vocal Load Management to maintain a healthy balance between your Vocal Demand and Capacity.

 
The Magic Trio

You can have the best Technique in the world but WITHOUT a Strong and Fit body, you cannot fully APPLY your technique.

You can a have a Strong and Fit body but WITHOUT good Technique, you won’t know how to UTILISE your voice.

You can have the best Technique and a Strong and Fit body but WITHOUT smart Vocal Load Management, you can exceed your Vocal Capacity and succumb to overuse voice issues.

Hence, to maintain good Vocal Health and support Voice Performance, you should:

  • Learn and hone Good Technique with a qualified vocal coach.
  • Develop and maintain a Movement Habit to keep your body Strong and Fit.
  • Learn and practice smart Vocal Load Management.
MoveMedics. Voice Physio. Optimise Vocal Capacity
Vocal Load Management
MoveMedics. Voice Physio. Vocal Demand

Not all Vocal Tasks are equal. Some you can perform easily and sustain for a long time, others are difficult and demanding and can only be done over a short period of time.

Understanding how effortful each of your Vocal Task is for you is critical in managing your Vocal Load.

To learn more about Vocal Load Management, check out these posts:

Vocal Load Management Part 1: Technique or Capacity?

Vocal Load Management Part 2: Measure It

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Here're our posts on Vocal Health.

Voice Physio Blog. Measure Vocal Load

Leveraging Sport Science Research Vocal load management is important for all voice users but it is such an abstract matter! How do you measure something so intangible and subjective? And even if you can quantify it, how do you actually use it to plan and manage your vocal load and to help prevent overuse issues?...

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Voice Physio Blog. Vocal Load Management. Technique Or Capacity

Good Technique Does Not Exempt You from Voice Injuries I came across this comment online recently: “If you have good vocal technique then you won’t have voice injuries”and I wholeheartedly disagree. Good technique is critical for voice health, that is for certain, but there is something equally as important as technique and that is vocal capacity....

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Voice Physio Blog. Posture and Singing

The Obsession About Posture Posture is something all professional voice users have to think about. For singers, you need to think about your posture for singing and stage presence. For speakers, you also need to think about stage presence and how best to look confident and engaging to your audience. Posture also has a bad...

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Voice Physio Blog. Back Exercises For Singers

The Importance of Efficient Breathing Breathing and voicing are intimately related. Whilst you can breathe without voicing, you cannot voice without breath! Breathing is something we all have to do, it’s something we do without thinking. In fact, whenever you starting thinking about your breathing, it has a tendency to feel all weird and uncoordinated....

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Voice Physio Blog. MoveMedics

Physio for Your Voice Voice Physio? Say what? Yes, Voice Physio, physio for your voice. If you haven’t heard of this before, don’t worry, most of my physio colleagues haven’t either! I myself only became aware of it shortly after I’ve started singing lessons myself. You know how we don’t see things unless they are...

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