The singing world is in a revolution. Frankly, the entire world is in a revolution….but definitely so is the “art” and function of singing.
What I want to discuss is the child’s voice on Broadway. Think about it. You usually hear one of two things:
1) The child sings in his/her lower register (chest voice) and has to yell and strain to reach notes above his/her first bridge (around A, B flat, and higher).
2) The child sings in his/her high register (head voice) and has very little power in his/her sound….especially in the lower register.
What’s missing? The MIDDLE voice….the “mixed” voice!
Some teachers get it right, and students are able to ascend nicely through their bridge with a powerful “mixed” sound. Other students learn it on their own! They are simply aware of the sound they want, and how to do it without strain and constriction (shouting). These are naturally talented kids, and quite often it’s not the teacher who taught them how to do this!
The typical traditional voice lesson strengthens the head voice in a way that does not match the chest voice. This can give the singer a beautiful, technically correct sound in their high register, but does not teach them how to connect with the power and strength of their chest voice. This approach is perfect for singers who want to sing classical music and sing in choirs, but not so great for young singers who want to sing on Broadway.
If a student wants to learn how to “belt” so they can sing musical theatre, the teacher usually does one of two things:
1) tells them that belting will damage their voice and should not be done, or
2) trains their chest voice register alone without knowing how to negotiate the bridge into the head voice. This creates a “shouty” loud voice at the top of their chest register, and quite often sounds strained, constricted, and even hurts!
Does any of this ring true for your child? If so, please leave a comment. I would love to hear about your experience. Susie