With speech level singing, one of the main directives is to sing in your mix. Your mixed voice is simply the ability to sing from the bottom of your range to the top of your range without flipping, without raising your larynx, without shouting, and without laryngeal constriction.
There are some sounds that set you up nicely for finding your mix. Try this. Make a puppy dog whimpering sound, or a small child whining sound. This will stretch the vocal cords by tilting the thyroid cartilage forward. Move this sound up slowly into higher pitches. It may feel as though you are still in your chest voice because the cords are not necessarily thinning (although they may thin as well), but they are stretching. This is a necessary set up to get “in the mix”. If you have trouble doing this (because you feel your throat tighten up), then add the feeling of a moan or a groan. Think and say to yourself “oh, poor me” in a whiny higher pitched voice 🙁
Don’t do this loud. Don’t sing it…it’s simply a sound. This coordination will help tilt the cartilage which helps you achieve higher notes. This is the mix. This is stretching the vocal cords.
There is the risk of false cord constriction when making these whining sounds. That’s why you need to practise at a medium volume that matches the volume of your speaking voice. If you find yourself getting louder as you get higher, then stay in the range where the volume is maintained.
You need to visit these sounds everyday! The laryngeal muscles will learn new movements but you need to take it one baby step at a time. If you force the sounds then you are using different muscles, and that isn’t achieving a good mix!
Try it! Questions? Let me know how it goes!