Find Your Voice Session Six

The mix voice is a blend between your head voice (=resonating in the head cavities) and your chest voice (=resonating in the chest). Strengthening the mix voice and getting a strong blend between head and chest voice is key to singing higher notes easily and with more power. Generally speaking, this is something most singers benefit from working on.  Hitting high notes has a lot to do with strengthening this mix voice. Having smooth transitions between different registers of your voice is something most singers aspire to and definitely gives you greater vocal freedom.
Think about how a baby cries – there is no break in that sound or interruption. It’s a high pitched but powerful sound. It’s almost like we ‘unlearn’ how to use the voice like this. The ‘cry’ sound also helps tilt the larynx which as we now know is important for moving up through the registers freely. You definitely want to avoid ‘pulling up chest voice’ which puts a lot of stress of your vocal cords. Instead, pull your head voice down as much as possible so that your chest voice has something to blend with. Stay in your head voice as long as possible when you’re on the lip roll and indeed for the other exercises this week. If you’re having any trouble getting into your head voice, remember the ‘hooty’ owl type sound from one of the previous sessions.  There is more nasal resonance in a mix sound than a chest sound. The ‘nasal ring’ we talked about in previous weeks is also a feature of mix voice.
There is a point when you bring the head voice down low where it’s hard to keep it in head and it maybe wants to jump around – play in this space on different syllables. It doesn’t matter if it wobbles a bit. Let it find different coordinations. If you sing up on the word ‘hey’ you’ll hear some changes in the sound, or little breaks/interruptions in the sound – those are your transition points and working with the longer slides helps to smooth those out and blend them so you have one big useable voice.
1. Tee Tee Tee over a five note scale (try out the secret tip – squat bend as you hit the higher note-it’s a psychological tweak that distracts you from the idea of going high and is weirdly helpful to get you to you build the muscle memory). Don’t force when you’re singing with the audios.
2. Ong Slide/sirens
3. Liproll – longer scale.
4. Ah descend – 5 to 1 and 8 to 1
5. Boowhip!


How to work on a song

This is a method for approaching songs you’d love to sing and actually get them to a point where you know them inside out, have put your own spin on them and can confidently sing them.

  1. Ordinary listening – listen through and get an overview of the song.
  2. Detailed listening to get the structure of the song. Count your way through it to identify when the vocals come in for the first section, whether there are gaps, how long the gaps last, when the other sections of the songs come in and out. Get really confident on this and on the lyrics.
  3. Detailed listening – listen through to see if you can notice some key features. You may need to listen several times to see if and when:m-the singer changes register-the singer varies the intensity or goes louder or softer-the singer changes the quality of their tone from connected to breathy or vice versa-the singer uses ornaments.
  4. Work out if there are any challenges. Does the song have a big leap between notes or go high or low? Sometimes it’s necessary to change the key of a song, but often we can overcome these challenges by working out how best to practice a small section of a song. If necessary, ask for support or get a second opinion on how to approach these challenges, although as time goes on you’ll get better at working out how to do this yourself.
  5. Work on these more challenging sections individually during your practice time. After a few days, ask yourself if they are becoming easier.
  6. Go through the lyrics and decide where you want to increase the intensity of your performance. Try each line out in a few different styles, using a looping software, so you craft each part of your performance.

What NOT to do:

  • Beware of straining during your practice. If something is causing you to strain, pause, and work out why that is and decide how to reduce the strain. Maybe you’re straining from a chest voice coordination when you need to transition to head voice. Maybe you’re backing off a note each time you sing it because you’re not quite certain what the note is.
  • Don’t just sing the song from beginning to end along to the original track, or don’t JUST/ONLY sing it this way. What happens when you do this is that you simply rehearse any mistakes or areas of weakness without ever fixing them., and you can do this fifty times over and still find once you remove the original singer you’re not entirely sure where to come in and what the structure of the song is. It’s not the best way to improve. It’s not that you shouldn’t enjoy yourself singing along to your favourite repertoire, it’s that you shouldn’t only (or mainly) do this.