How To Sing With Your Adam’s Apple

adam apple 2adam apple 1adam apple 3
Whether you want to sing hard rock, opera or R&B, when you sing high notes, you will need to know how to use your Adam’s Apple correctly.

So what is this apple thing?
Do only males have it?
Is it supposed to be up or down when you sing?

I’m going to answer these questions one at a time.

What is an Adam’s Apple?

Simply put, it is the your thyroid cartilage.  Well, that may not sound simple, but it really is.

Take a look at this picture of a larynx or voice box and you’ll see what I mean.voice box

Notice the “saddle” shape thing in the middle of the picture.

That’s your thyroid cartilage.  It is the largest cartilage of your larynx or voice box.  Behind it is are your vocal cords.  Your vocal cords are delicate and your thyroid cartilage protects them.

As you grow up, this cartilage tends to enlarge during adolescence and it’s size varies with each individual.

It’s official name is “prominentia laryngea,”  which means the prominence of the larynx.  Prominence means that it is something that stands out or is physically noticeable.

How large or noticeable it is depends on the angle at which the cartilage grows forward

Are males the only ones who have Adam’s Apples?

Nope.

Females have them too, but they are usually much smaller and less noticeable or not visible at all.

Everyone has a thyroid cartilage because its function, as I mentioned above, is to protect the vocal cords.

However, the growth of the cartilage is often associated with a change in voice.  While this saddle-like thingy is growing in the male voice, it can be accompanied by all kinds of seemingly uncontrollable sounds, from squeaks to rough outbursts that can often be puzzling or embarrassing.

Is it supposed to be up or down when you sing?

The quick answer is down.

Why?

If it goes up when you are singing it means that muscles are pulling it up and tightening up the area around your vocal cords, therefore creating tension where you want relaxation.  This will definitely interfere with your ability to sing high note.

Here is a simple way to understand this:

  • Close your eyes
  • Lightly place the tips of your index and middle fingers on the area we are talking about
  • Hum – this will allow you to easily feel the vibrations of your vocal cords, which is what allows you to speak or sing
  • Feel the place where the protuberance is, or, in other words, find the bulge that is your apple (thyroid cartilage)
  • Gently move your fingers around until you can feel the “saddle” part of the apple
  • Swallow and notice whether the apple goes up or down
  • Yawn and notice whether it goes up or down

You will discover that it goes up when you swallow and down when you yawn.

It goes up as part of the swallowing mechanism because there is a flap of flesh attached to the tongue called an epiglottis that has to go over the windpipe when you swallow so that you won’t get anything down into your lungs.

If the epiglottis goes down, it closes off the the air passage, which closes off the power that allows you to sing.

The higher you go in pitch, the tighter this area can become.

The tighter it becomes, the harder it is to sing high notes without cracking.

The secret is to RELAX YOUR APPLE

The way you relax your apple so that it doesn’t go up is to think of yawning while you are singing.

Try this:

  • Close your eyes again
  • Lightly place the tips of your index and middle fingers on the apple again
  • Hum again but on a low note
  • Notice whether or not the apple goes up on a low note
  • If it goes up, yawn and then think of yawning as you hum it again
  • Do this until it doesn’t go up at all
  • Once you master this, try letting the hum go a little higher but without the apple going up
  • If it keeps moving up, start over until  you can hum without it going up
  • Then move the hum up little by little, all the time keeping the apple low by thinking of yawning
  • Relaxing your jaw and tongue will help with this

Eventually, with the kind of concentrated practice that enables you to deeply observe what is going on with your apple, you will begin to sing higher and higher without breaks, tension, cracks or trouble.

Pretty soon you’ll be soaring higher than you ever dreamed!

But it takes work so do what you have to do and love every minute of it!

Reward yourself for your patience instead of getting frustrated with yourself.

All of this has to do with your mindset about your voice, and particularly your singing tongue mindset

Your work and perseverance will pay off!

If you have more questions about this important topic, please put them in the Comments section below.

Thanks,

Joy

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Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    Hi,

    I agree that there is so much confusion surrounding the Adam’s apple, so thanks for describing what it is so clearly! I should forward this to my singing students! :-)

    I would say that the “beginning of a yawn” feeling is one of the most important concepts to develop as a singer, absolutely!

    Keep up the good work,

    Andrew

    • Joy says:

      Hi Andrew,

      Good to hear from you and thanks for your comments.

      I took a look at your website and see that you also teach voice. Bravo! We need good voice teachers in the world.

      Thinking of that, and seeing that you are selling products from other people, you might be interested in putting my book in your Amazon widget so that you have another product that you can tell people about.

      It is called “Singing Through Life With Your Mouth Closed (100 Whimsical Sayings) and it is getting good reviews and filled with sayings that help singers to understand the singing mindset and the mind/body connection in singing.

      I find the sayings in it very useful for teaching voice so you may want to get it to use with your students and then encourage them to buy it from your website, once you have it in your carousel.

      It helps with many many deep-rooted issues that affect the voice, and is something that people keep going back to over and over again, according to the reports I am getting.

      Here’s the book page on Amazon if you would like to include it in your Amazon carousel widget on your page or purchase it for yourself.

      Enjoy and let me know what you think.

      Thanks!
      Joy

  2. Rj Saranillo Martinez says:

    Dear Madam

    Thank you very much this is a very good help for me because i can sing high notes in this days b’coz of this adams apple w/c stucks when i release power, Kasi when im still young i can really reach high notes specially the song of whitney Houston w/c is I have Nothing but now i cant do it

    I Hope That it will work! Thank you very much
    you may follow me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com?R.jsm2
    and on twitter: @aycee_2

    very Yours truly
    R.j

  3. Gud Day madam!
    Thanks for this article but my apple is still moving up, and even when I swallow.
    but I’ll try and try

    May I know are your are available here in the Phil.?

    Does it took for Years to relax an apple?
    b’coz when i swallow it goes up, then i always singing in the church even in low notes it still goes up and even when i speak(specially when I recite in school I really need to make my voice louder)

    sincerely yours,

    Rj

    http://www.facebook.com/r.jsm2
    @aycee_27

    • Joy says:

      R.j,

      These are good questions. Thanks for asking them.

      Remember though, that your Adam’s Apple (thyroid cartilage) will always go up when you swallow, so don’t worry about that. It’s Nature’s way of keeping you from choking on food or liquids.

      The way to make your voice louder is to use your lower abdominal muscles (and your diaphragm muscle) to support your tone. Do a search on my site for the word “breathing” without the italics. The search box is in the top right hand corner of the page. You’ll find a bunch of things there that can help you.

      Also, letting out as little air as possible is the BIG KEY for keep the apple (thyroid cartilage) down when you sing.

      The slow leaky tire exercise is great for learning to let out a minimal amount of air.

      I am not in the Phil. area. Sorry about that but are you wanting singing lessons?

      Let me know if these things help.

      Thanks,
      Joy

      • Rj Saranillo Martinez says:

        aammm… May I know how this cartilage protects our vocal cords?

        • Joy says:

          Sure. If you click on the picture in the article, you will see that the large “saddle shaped” cartilage is the thyroid cartilage. The vocal cords are behind it. The cartilage acts like a “shield” to protect the vocal cords from any undo pressure that might be put on that area. For instance, if an object hits it or someone presses down on it too hard. It also protects the trachea, which carries air in and out of our lungs.

          You’re asking good questions!

          Be well, sing well,
          Joy

          • Rj Saranillo Martinez says:

            thank you! maam for answering my questions….
            promise I’ll never forget you When I’ll be star someday!

            Rj

          • Joy says:

            Rj,

            You are already a “star” with your kind manners and spirit of gratitude.

            And let me know if I can help in any further way.

            You might benefit from the digital resources for powerful singing I have created too.
            Have you considered any of these as a means to help you with your singing goals? They have helped many people to get more strength and freedom into their singing voices.

            And, as always, I’d be happy to serve you in any possible way that I can so do not hesitate to ask me questions. That’s why I’m here!

            Be well, sing well,
            Joy

  4. Rj Saranillo Martinez says:

    ammm… sorry maam but I dont have any credit card because we are just poor…
    even though this self training of adams apple is difficult but Im really trying just to reach my dreams (I started May 31 until to the present b’coz I believe in you… I hope it will work..!!)

    :D
    Yours truly
    Rj

    • Joy says:

      No worries. Singing is never dependent on money, only heart and a desire to learn. I will help you all I can.

      Joy

      • Rj Saranillo Martinez says:

        Gud Day maam Can you answer My Doubts?

        Is it Good to drink Hot Beverages before doing this training?

        How bad is it to drink Cold Water before performing?

        Is it Bad to scream? because sometimes when Me and and My friends cheer, we really screm and shouting…

        Why is it some People can shout in high pitch but when they sing they cant reach that pitch?

        What is the difference between are voice when we shout and singing?

        >>>>>please answer my question Madam because I’m Really Curious..

        Thank you

        Rj

        • Joy says:

          Rj,

          These are good questions.

          Cold water is not good before performance because it is important to keep the muscle area warm and supple.

          Warm beverages are fine, but not too hot. Certain herbal teas are especially good for the voice and throat, such as fresh ginger tea.

          Screaming is, in my opinion, not a good thing for a singer. There is a lot of strain that results from screaming and often people become hoarse afterwards.

          I think the reason people scream higher is because most people are secretly afraid to sing in front of other people. That’s because singing reveals the
          deepest parts of ourselves and we tend to want to keep that hidden because we are afraid of rejection.

          Most problems that occur in singing involve physical reactions to emotional beliefs, and there are many of them.

          Shouting is different than singing because there is no sustained musical pitch involved like there is in singing.

          I hope that helps.

          Joy

          • Rj Saranillo Martinez says:

            there are still some doubts in my mind:
            Why is it a child can sing high notes very easy or effortless?

            How can I cure a strain muscles in my vocal chords? and how can I avoid vocal strains?

            Can You give me some tips on how to remove my anxiety?
            IT goes like this I really want to sing infront but when Ill be there My Heart beats fast?

  5. Gud Day again Maam!

    I think you will really not believe Me that I Can Now Hit the Seventh Octave! Effortless!
    Everybody seems to think that I’m Crazy, that I sound Like Boiling kettle or even much higher in pitch that I can Hit to G#7 and C#8 maybe, Mariah Carey, Nicola, Minnie, Georgia Brown and Adam Lopez Inspires Me… To prove to you it’s True, I’m going to upload a Video of My Full Vocal Range E1-A7 7.5 octaves

    Stay Tune…

  6. Nial says:

    Hello,
    Thanks for this informative post. I’m 17 male, my adams apple goes up when speaking and singing. I have a problem going high notes. I can’t do falsetto and head voice. When I try, just air comes out, no sound.
    Can it be related to my adam’s apple’s moving when I sing?
    Thank you

    • Joy says:

      Hi there Nial.

      Thanks for your question. I want to encourage you to think about your voice as one voice with no breaks or differences between the high and low notes. Read this article. I think you will find it helpful. Then ask more questions. I am here to help you.

      Joy

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