How to get a “mixed” voice


Everyone’s voice has a low section and high section. The low end is your chest voice and the high end is your head voice. The essence of good singing is utilizing both the chest voice and the head voice at the same time. This is called your “mixed voice”. Make sense?

Your chest voice is where you speak. Try saying “A – A – A” like the “a” in cat. Say it with some umph, and a little bit nasty. Make an open big mouth and say it again. This is your engine….and yes, it can sound rather obnoxious. But, don’t disregard this, this is your power house!

On the other end is your head voice. This is the light, airy sound at the top of your voice. Some people can’t access it very easily. Try and do a sigh with your light high voice. This is head voice.

The ideal voice is when the chest voice and the head voice work together at the same time. Unfortunately, often what will happen is one voice will “outweigh” the other, creating an imbalance of sound and sensation.

If you have any background singing with a choir or training with a classically trained teacher, then you were probably encouraged to sing with your head voice brought down even to your low notes, This can create a very strong head voice, but unfortunately doesn’t match up in balance with your chest voice, leaving you light and airy on your bottom notes with minimal strength.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you have been singing pop, country or rock music on your own and copying some “not-so-well-balanced” singers, then you may have developed a strong chest voice without allowing any head voice in the mix. You may notice that you have to sing louder and louder as you go higher and higher, and eventually you just can go further. Your sound is likely harsh and well, possibly, very annoying. And, let’s not forget to mention that you probably hurt!

“Getting in the mix” is the vocal workout you need. If done correctly, it will help your voice be stronger and more flexible than you ever thought possible. You will be able to sing any note you want.

It worked wonders for me, and I know it will for you too!

Have you got any questions? Why not drop me a line!

17 thoughts on “How to get a “mixed” voice

  1. So I’ve never been able to access my mixed voice and can imagine what it would sound and feel like but I have never been able to sing there. How would I begin to start singing in a mix at all. I’ve tried scales etc so what would I need to do?

    • Hi there
      Thanks for your comment.
      How do you know you are not mixing?
      I will touch base with you on email. Maybe you can send me an audio or videoclip and I’ll let you know what’s going on.


  2. I`ve tried to use my mixed voice but I have no idea if I`m using it or is it just head voice. Is there some indicator or feeling i should get when singing in the mixed?

    • Hi Mark
      Thanks for your question. An easy explanation is a mixed voice is a connected head voice sensation. If your head voice is airy then you may not be connected well, and this might be described as falcetto. However, if you can go from low notes into your high notes without a sense of “flipping” or “letting go”, then you are most likely mixing.

      The trouble usually comes when singers try to push their way to the high notes in what they perceive as the correct way to sing with power or volume. In actual fact, mixing well with strength and power (volume) comes from a number of good co-ordinations, including proper enunciation of vowels, and good breath support.

      Hopefully I’ve helped you know if you are mixing. If so, the next step to singing better is by strengthening your mix with exercises. Susie

  3. Hello! Thank you for this post. I have been having trouble to access this mixed voice. I can do a chest voice and also a head voice. But I can’t blend them! There is always a gap, a break! And when it breaks, I pass from a strong chest voice to a weak and thin head voice. How can I develop this ability? Thank you again!

    • Hi Taciano, Thank you for your comment.

      With practise, you can control your break. You need to revisit your exercises everyday.

      Some vowel/consonant combinations are easier to mix, so try starting with a “koo” or a “goo”, and grow into other combinations such as “mum” and “buh”.
      Notice the “g” and “k” will help you maintain your mix. This is your tongue helping with breath control, which in turn helps keep you in a mix (so your folds don’t blow apart from too much breath escaping).

      A “staccato” sense to your exercises will help you maintain your mix as well. This, again, is due to the breath pressure you create at the vocal folds. But be careful that you doing this correctly. Many students try to make staccato happen with their body or their throat, and this only gets in the way of the natural ability of the vocal folds to do their job. A sense of a bouncy “staccato” delivery of your notes will happen easily and automatically if you are creating the breath pressure necessary to maintain a good mix.

      Another useful tip to maintain your breath control is to engage the muscle at the top of your stomach. Simply focus on this area as if someone were going to hit you. Don’t do this down low in your stomach….just at the top where your rib cage meets. And, when you breath notice how your ribs and back naturally engage too. Notice the smallness and the exactness of these sensations. Notice how it also engages your head, neck and posture. Stay in this coordination as you do your exercises, and see if it helps.

      Remember, it does not take much breath to sing. Most amateur singers use way too much breath, which in turn causes many problems. So try the opposite. Allow yourself to enjoy the sensation of singing with less breath. Your ribs and back muscles will learn to engage while you are singing…and this will help you maintain your mix.

      Good luck. I hope these suggestions have helped! Susan

  4. Hi I have two sons who sing beautifully, one who from 10-12yrs used his mixed voice easily and accessed it whenever he wanted, he turned 13 a few months ago and lost his mixed voice, but his chest voice is deeper and rich sounding. We think he will get it back once puberty is done. My concern is for my other son who is 14 and his voice did change, but he has never been able to mix his voice, he has a strong chest and pretty decent head voice, but sounds like scuttle when he thinks he’s in mixed range. He sounds horrible which leads us to think that he’s not accessing his mixed. My other son did it so effortlessly, but couldn’t explain it, it was so more natural for him. How does he find his mixed? Could puberty be affecting the ability to access it?

    • Puberty is a very delicate time for young men to be singing. The larynx is getting larger and the vocal cords are thickening and elongating at a rapid rate.
      It’s important for young men as singers to simply allow their voices to evolve through these changes, and know that it will subside eventually.

      It is not unusual for young men to have a gap or a break on some pitches in the middle voice register simply because the voice is unstable at this age. The most important exercises they can be doing are lip bubbles, tongue trills and sirens through the entire vocal range. Allowing the voice to go up and through this break is a healthy exercise, although it may not sound very nice at this age.

      Because the rate of change of each voice going through puberty is different, it is not possible to predict or know why one son might mix more easily than another right now. There can be so many variables involved.

      My guess is your older son simply has more pronounced changes happening, i.e. thicker cords, larger larynx, and therefore a large gap in his middle voice right now. This may make it more challenging for him to access his head voice register.

      I predict, this will subside and he will settle in once again to his beautiful voice. If he sang beautifully once, he will figure out how to sing beautifully once again. By continuing with exercises that move him easily through his register break, he should be able to progress to vowel and consonant combinations that lead to full song.

      I would be happy to analyze a voice recording if he wants to send me one. My email is I would in turn send back some exercises that I think would be helpful. Susan

  5. Hi there. I just wanted to ask how do I know if my voice has matured or fully developed from puberty? I’m 16 years old. Also, i don’t know how does a mix voice sounds like and would I able to access it if I am going through puberty? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Ethan,
      Try not to think about whether your voice has finished “changing”. It doesn’t alter the way you should be exercising your voice. In fact, vocalizing through these important years of vocal growth will help guide you with the control necessary to sing with good technique. Keep vocalizing everyday through your entire range to develop a strong mixed voice.

  6. Okay so ive been using my chest voice for all the singing ive done, i did pass through the period were belting means higher, however I found out alot about the voice, also turns out ive been partly using head voice or a re-inforced falsetto with me thinking it was falsetto, so thats sort of good, for that my head voice is stretched down pretty low, that completes a step to building a mix by over lapping those two registers right? I have started doing some excersises that get me in mix for about a week however when i decided to use it when im singing i can hit some notes higher than usual belting but i can feel it having a limit, so after a certain note my voice just breaks, does this mean that the mix voice also has a range that has to be stretched out? Also people say including some vocal coaches that mix feels free, for me it feels like a bit too compressed? Like crying to to the point of hurting but defenitly feels pushed, should i stop till i get a vocal teacher? Or am i close to hitting mix?

    • Hi Daniel,

      Mixing definitely doesn’t hurt. The only way to know for sure what is going on is for a professional voice teacher to listen and watch you. Sounds to me like your larynx might be rising, and this is causing the push and hurting feeling you are experiencing.

      I suggest backing up. Sing with less volume, and work through the middle of your voice many times every day.

      Remember, the larynx needs to stay relaxed, mobile, and learn the sensation of tilting. You can check this by doing a simple buzzy hum from your lowest notes to your highest notes. If you flip into falcetto, feel strain, or want to sing louder to maintain the connection, it probably means your larynx isn’t tilting to allow the cords to stretch and thin. This is why it may seem compressed to you.

      So, methodically visit this sensation of your voice correctly everyday. Pay attention to the “smallness”. This is the edge of your cords….the cry sensation. Try not to push through this. You may have trouble keeping the connection as you go higher. Try to engage your body from the ribs down to keep this crisp, edgy connection. It may get lighter as you sing higher, or feel like falcetto….but if you do the exercises correctly, it will start to get easier. Remember, it doesn’t take much breath to sing…..but it does take control of your breath to sing.

      I suggest bottom up exercises from low D to about F# above middle C, as well as the reverse…from F# above middle C and down. Exercises from top to the bottom are very challenging unless you are mixing well.

      So, again, lighten up and figure out the true balance of your voice right now, where you can move through your middle voice without strain, and without flipping. Only get louder when you have this under control. Hope this helps. Otherwise, please see a voice professional for even a couple of lessons, just so you know if you are on the correct path. Thanks for writing, Susie

    • Hi Jeff, Thanks for writing. Yes, a mixed voice definitely resonates in the throat. If you put your finger on your larynx, you will feel it vibrate. However, the chest voice alone resonates in the throat as well….and this is not mixing….so beware.

      The true test for mixing is the ability to ascend and descend through your entire range without a break and without strain. Learning to mix well means exercising the cords to thin and stretch as you sing higher. The only way the cords can do this well is if the larynx is in the proper position. The best way to get the larynx in the correct position is to practice sounds that cause it do that coordination.

      Here are some sounds to practise. I suggest a range from middle C to G….and increase the range as this gets easier. Your goal should be to keep it light and crisp at first. Pay attention to the “edges” of your sound. This is a tough area of the voice for a male to get the cords to really thin out. Careful you are not just in head voice (falcetto). Ideally, you will be in a mix if you “allow” both registers to exist. It may feel like you are “sitting on a fence”. To manage your control, find the volume that allows you to balance this sensation. It may seem “small”. That’s OK.

      1. The puppy dog whimper
      2. Meow
      3. Nay, nay, nay (speech level singing)
      4. Hung …….. hold out the ung in a hum
      5. A buzzy hum
      6. Miren (slide with siren and “m”)

      Again, thanks for writing. Let me know how it goes. Susie

  7. Hello there. I have a question. I have been very familiar with my mixed voice but I found that my mix sounds brassy. I sing pop and when I try to sing in my mix, it’s as if I suddenly sing rock/heavy metal. How do I sing in my mix without sounding brassy?

    • Hi Wyatt

      Thanks for writing.

      Yes, I think I understand what might be happening. You are mostly like resonating on the hard palate and in the throat. You need to work on rounding out your vowels so they resonate further back on the soft palate (add to the sound you have already, not take away). The challenge is getting a nice sounding vowel that “rings” without raising the larynx too much, and without locking up your jaw or getting tension in the back of the tongue. Watch vowels like long “a” (as in ape), or long “e” as in eat. They can easily cause problems.

      I suggest starting with a buzzy hum and then opening up to the long “a” and “e” vowels. As you ascend in pitch these vowels need to “narrow” so they can continue to resonate in the soft palate area. You may feel like you aren’t saying the correct word (vowel)….and that is correct. We, the listener, will still ear the correct word (vowel), but you are changing the long “a” to be more like the short “e” as in “bet”. And the long “e” will narrow as well.

      Be sure to find the volume where you can handle this nicely. Don’t push or strain. It may be breathy, that’s OK, just as long as you don’t “flip”. It will get easier as you continue to practise. Now, the trick is getting your breath management in good shape so you can continue to ascend in pitch and stay in a mixed voice.

      Good luck! Let me know how your progress goes! Susie