Even then, somehow I knew how important my head voice was to the rest of my voice. Now I know why, and what to do about it. Let me explain:
The vocal cords are, as I've written about before, controlled by two sets of muscles... one set works the chest voice, one set works the head voice. When strength of these sets of muscles is unbalanced, the "hand-off" between chest and head voice is shaky and unpredictable. The chest voice tends to become "throat voice" (very, very bad) in the upper chest register instead of blended voice (very, very good), which you can't feel in your throat unless you put your hand on it and feel the wonderful , strain-free vibration.
Guess which muscle set is usually weakest with contemporary singers? Right... the chest register set. So... that tells us what to do about the problem: Strengthen the head register set!!
By warming up and exercising the head voice. I have used vocal exercises, classical songs such as Italian Art Songs, and strange sounds such as the "siren" and head voice "woop" -ing (kind of like the Three Stooges). As you do this there are things you need to be careful of:
- NEVER, NEVER sing your head voice so high that you feel vocal strain. Find out how to take your voice up with no throat tightening (such as the pulling method I teach in "Power, Path & Performance" ).
- Take your voice up GRADUALLY and CAREFULLY... a scale at a time that you raise a half step at a time.
- Know that you can do ANY vocal exercise wrong... including mine. Like martial arts, golf, dance, etc... form is everything!
- Do not sing in a breathy head voice... this is like the sahara desert to your dehydrating vocal cords. Sing in clear, focused, bell-like tones.
- Do not go higher than your throat channel can stay open!
What to do? Strengthen the muscle set that works your chest voice! Again.. be careful how you do this.
- NEVER, NEVER sing your chest voice so high that you feel vocal strain. Again... learn how to pull your voice up, like I teach with Power, Path & Performance vocal training.
- Do not lean forward while trying to get your chest voice higher! This will close your chest and cause too much breath pressure to be applied to your poor vocal cords.
- Try for a buzzing feeling instead of a "hooty" sound.
- Try for a "talking" tone rather than a "sing-y" tone. If your speaking is thin or hooty, you must train your speaking voice, too.
- Learn to adjust your head, body and breath pressure so you can allow the "buzz" to travel up and down instead of trying to sing everything the same way... which WILL cause strain, and a terrible vocal break.
- Try to make the top of your chest voice sound almost just like the bottom of your head voice.
Comments always welcome... remember, if you're reading this through your email, you'll have to actually click the headline and go online to find the comment link. Happy singing!