I get many emails and audio files from singers asking how they know if they are mixing. They want to know how to sing in a mixed voice.
The #1 tell-tale sign that you are NOT mixing well is if your larynx is rising too high and you feel like you have hit a ceiling. This usually makes your throat very uncomfortable. You should feel no tension, no pain, and no choking in your throat when singing high notes. You will feel movement, however, as the larynx tilts and moves gently up and down to allow the vocal cords to stretch.
A great way to get in touch with the sensations in your larynx is to put your finger on your voice box as you make sounds. Notice, if you imitate an opera singer it will go down. If you imitate a whiny baby crying, it will go up. The challenge comes when singing high notes, to maintain the balance of a flexible larynx that easily moves and easily tilts. This is necessary for optimal control of your voice.
Here are some helpful hints to keep your larynx neutral and flexible, and help you stay in a good mix:
1. Decrease your volume. You will instantly notice an ease when you sing the chorus of your song at a decreased volume. You may not like your sound….it may be breathy. This means you need to practise at this level working on your laryngeal tilt. Stop shouting.
2. Add a “cry” to your voice. What does this mean? This is a sensation that will help with vocal cord closure. This is a sensation of a sob or moan in your face and body. Some singers have a lot of trouble getting in touch with this coordination. It may appear to be a feminine trait, but it will give instant results for better cord closure. It helps keep the larynx neutral. You will notice also, that you immediately sing less loud using this coordination.
3. Work on your breathing exercises. See my previous posts. Practise your song with these body sensations in mind.
4. Narrow your vowels. Some words will automatically get you in trouble on the high notes. You must try to remember what the sensation feels like on vowels that are easy to mix, such as “oo” as in “cool,” and “oo” as in “book”. Sing your entire chorus with these vowels. Add the consonant “n” to get that sob/moan sensation…”noo” as in “nook”.
5. Be careful of your word formation. Watch out for challenging vowels and consonant. Practise forming all words with the sensations you felt in #4. Staying in touch with these sensations will show you the challenges of singing words like “girl” and “get” in your high register. Do not allow these difficult words to throw off your coordination. Instead, alter the word and keep your sound “in the mix”.
6. Have fun and ALLOW these suggestions to help. Stop listening to the sound of your voice, and start focusing on how your voice feels. Good luck!! If you have any questions, or you want me to listen to your voice, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.