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using head voice to strengthen mixed voice
March 19, 2015
7:50 am
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LE3012015 Chew Yong Keng Justin
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last week I had a ttraining session with my coach. We have been strengthening my chest voice since day one. Now my break is at an A4/Bb4 without a lot of warm up. However, anything above Eb5 for me although is still chesty, I would have to add some grit to it to get the chestiness. I feel like the cords are suddenly not coming together as much as possible. Furthermore, it's kinda hard to sing long phrases above Eb5 with a thunderous, clean and belty sound like Daniel Heiman. My coach then told me "you need time to strengthen your head voice" those notes up there require cord closure in which a strong head voice can hep you get. It would also give you the agility. If you don't have a head voice, you can't get the cord closure you need. To get a mix like adam lamberts or daniel heiman, you need a strong head and chest voice.

Fellow singers, what are your thoughts on this?

March 19, 2015
12:55 pm
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OwenKorzec
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Your coach is correct, trust their guidance.

March 19, 2015
8:50 pm
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Phil Moufarrege
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Your teacher is correct.
But I am not worried about your teacher, or even your high notes. I am worried about your attitude.

I have told you this before but it fell on deaf ears, but I'm going to tell you it again:

Singing is way more than "hitting some high notes". Your problem isn't range. Your problem is that you haven't learned how to just SING in your comfortable range and CARRY A TUNE. The stuff you are obsessed with is only 5% of the entire thing. a singer isn't better because they can hit a G#5 instead of another singer who "only" sings a G5..

This doesn't mean stop working on extending range, keep going by all means - but your main focus needs to be SINGING WELL.

How often do you listen to a song within your comfortable range and hit pause and hit record and try to sing it back and hold up to the original standard? Then play back your recording and listen to where you were off and where you were on? How close can you get it? Listening to the inflections, the fades, swells, intensity of the notes, breathy or clear? Have you created a set list of songs to work through everyday and can make sure you can sing through them and pace yourself through the entire set? Can you sing it up to a good standard?

I'm sure this post will piss you off but it needs to be said because too many vocal coaches know exactly what I'm talking about but will say nothing and wll proceed to just teach you technique because they feel it's out of their place to speak up. I used to be like that too but then I realized I didn't want students who could only sing scales really high but couldn't sing simple tunes

I recommend you start a project to do some covers of songs that are well within your range and to see how you can handle them and post them up, I can give you feedback. A good thing to think about would be: if you had to perform a concert by next week and the highest notes go up to A4 would you be able to deliver the songs up to a high standard? If the answer is yes I would love to be proven wrong - I want you to succeed. if the answer is no then I think you'll see my point in this post.

@PhilMoufarrege
Online Vocal Coach, Singer/Songwriter
Grow-The-Voice.com | PHILMOUFARREGE.com

March 26, 2015
3:32 pm
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mystarryeyes
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@ Phil: Well said.
Re Chew Yong's break being around A4/Bb4. The stretching chest issue still confuses me. My questions are: Does stretching one's pure chest voice eventually, effectively, physiologically move one's break area higher? Or are we really speaking about moving chest resonance higher, mixed into the head register?

Many thanks,

John

March 26, 2015
7:34 pm
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Phil Moufarrege
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It's better to think of it not as a break but as gear shifts or areas where resonance needs to shift. So you have that one at F4, then at around A4 there's another, then around C5 there's another then F5 another etc. They change slightly depending on how much weight you roll up. As you get better rolling weight up you feel like there's less of these gear shifts I guess because they just happen so smoothly like in a car you don't notice a good driver changing gear.

At first it can feel like you are literally "stretching chest" because most people would typically go into falsetto at around their first "break" being F#4. So when they finally build the coordination to thin out the voice properly and take it up it feels like you are stretching something (in a good way not in a strainy yelly way) this stretchy feeling when done properly is a good indicator that you are using compression instead of letting the voice become "floppy" and just breaking. It should stretch like a rubber band but never feel tight in a bad way.

believe it or not singing can get to the point where it does feel relaxed. never effortless but it is a very reasonable amount of effort nothing that should feel ridiculous.

@PhilMoufarrege
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Grow-The-Voice.com | PHILMOUFARREGE.com

March 28, 2015
12:05 pm
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mystarryeyes
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Thanks for the in-depth answer, Phil.
At certain times, most often whenever I make the decision to practice accapella, I seem to be able to sing in a way you describe, and all sounds pretty good and fairly easy. I endeavor to retain that feeling when I resume with musical backing, however with the added sound pressure levels, I'm not always able to keep such a controlled, tight rein on things, then my voice gets away from me, so to speak. That said, judging by your comments, I think I'm on the right track, just have to get a firmer handle on things once the music gets loud!
I do have in-ears, but when I don't use them, for practical reasons - I insert one of those silicone rubber ear plugs into my right ear. It's a trade-off, but it does help keep me grounded and helps prevent me over-singing, whilst singing with a loud band.

Smile

All the best,

John

October 7, 2015
4:05 am
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benny82
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It's all about getting the correct setup for head voice first, and probably the most important thing for that is balancing compression. So here is the deal: You need proper compression to get out a loud an powerful sound in head voice BUT compression can come in two ways:

1. through vocal fold musculature
2. through exhalation force (the so-called "Bernoulli effect").

As a beginner, even if you have powerful high notes, your compression will be imbalanced, usually because you get the vast majority of compression through exhalation force. High exhalation force means you can't really support and you get into trouble with agility. If you support correctly and don't have the muscular compression, you will go into falsetto.

So the main thing is to strengthen and train the muscles that get you vocal fold compression. This is harder on high notes and takes a lot more time compared to low notes, because subglottic pressure naturally has to be higher on high notes. So the higher the note, the more pressure your vocal fold muscles have to be able to resist. If they are not able to resist, they will pop open and you will re-create closure by pushing more air again.

You need to learn that compression on the middle range notes first (the "low head voice notes"), mainly in the area of D#4 - G4 (varies a bit among voices). On low notes creating compression is usually too easy and it will not work out the muscles enough. On the top notes it is too hard in the beginning and it will not get you anywhere to train those notes if you don't have the compression yet.

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