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Leon Thurman

Location: Minnesota, USA
Leon Thurman
Leon Thurman, Ed.D., is Specialist Voice Educator at The Leon Thurman Voice Center, his private voice education practice in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. From 1995 to 2007, he was Specialist Voice Educator at Fairview Voice Center, Fairview Rehabilitation Services, University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, in Minneapolis.
 
Dr. Thurman provides one-to-one voice skill sessions for singers and speakers, AND he presents workshops, clinics, seminars, and study courses on singing and speaking abilities, verbal and nonverbal communication skills, voice health, voice protection, and what he refers to as "human compatible learning and teaching."  Past clients have been: children (when appropriate), adolescents with changing and changed voices, adults, older adults, choirs, music educators, choral and voice associations, school districts, colleges and universities, job seekers (effective interviews), actors, entertainers, TV & radio on-air personnel, business executives, Human Resource departments, teachers and professors, clergy, candidates for elected office, lawyers, physicians, airline pilots, exercise leaders, and zoo guides. 
 
Dr. Thurman also is:
 
ABOUT THE ABOVE IMAGE:  it is an internal view of Leon Thurman's larynx.  It was taken from a videotape that was made in Houston, Texas, June, 1983, in the exam room of the late, beloved Dr. Van Lawrence.  Dr. Lawrence used a flexible-nasal laryngeal videostroboscope to capture moving images of a variety of vocal coordinations that Leon used while speaking and singing.
 
The front of Leon's larynx is at the bottom of the picture (toward his "Adam's apple"), and its rear area is at the top (toward his cervical spine).  In this image, Leon was sustaining the pitch C3. 
At the bottom of the circle is Leon's epiglottis (attached to the back of his tongue).
At the top of the circle is part of Leon's lower pharyngeal wall, sometimes called the laryngo-pharynx.
Forming the peak of the Gothic arch configuration (upside-down V shape) are the mounds of flesh that cover the tops of Leon's left and right arytenoid cartilages (they do not include the rounded 'bulbs' that are located below the arytenoid mounds). The cartilages were rotated and slid together by his Larynx's vocal fold 'closer muscles.'  Pitch changes were carried out primarily by coordinations of his vocal fold 'shortener and lengthener muscles.'
Leon's left and right true vocal folds appear vertically in the center of the Gothic arch. 
His false vocal folds appear to the lateral sides of his true vocal folds.  The left and right false vocal folds are located just above the two true vocal folds, and the two pairs of folds are separated by ventricular 'spaces' (can't be seen; the Ventricles of Morgagni).  The false vocal folds are not usually engaged during speaking and singing.  When they do join the true vocal folds in creating speaking or singing, the voice quality that is produced is the sound that Louie ('Satchmo') Armstrong made when he sang a song.  He's the famous jazz trumpeter-singer of years gone by, e.g., "It's a Wonderful World".
 
To the lateral sides of the Gothic arch are Leon's two pyriform sinuses (sinus is Latin for 'hollow cavity').  They are the left and right endpoints of the closed entryway into his esophagus.  The image isn't clear enough to show the curved horizontal 'line' that is formed between the pyriform sinuses when the entryway is closed, like they are when we're not swallowing. 
 
Note: The esophageal entryway is located behind the larynx.  When we human beings swallow a large amount of food or drink, the entire entryway opens to send it on its digestive journey to possibly become 'us.'  When we swallow moderate to small amounts, about one-half the food/drink enters the esophagus through the left or right pyriform sinus, and the other half enters through the other sinus.  In order to prevent food/drink from entering the airway when we swallow, the tongue is pulled backward so that the epiglottis is folded backward over the gothic arch area of the larynx, and at the same time, the larynx is pulled upward by the larynx-pull-up muscles.  Their coordinated 'pincer' action seals off the airway and channels the food/drink into the esophagus. 
 
Remember what happens when we swallow something and some of it "goes down the wrong way?"  When anything barely touches the tissues that form the closure of larynx and epiglottis, a powerful laryngeal/respiratory reflex action happens, driven by nearby high-speed brainstem neurons, and we cough, cough, cough to expel the possible lung invader.

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