More on belting

Healthy belting requires ultimate breath control to avoid damage to the cords.

First, no pushing. Simply allow. It requires a lot of energy and effort to belt safely. This effort and energy is felt in your abdomen, pelvis, ribs and back. You should feel no tension in the throat. The throat is very open and the tongue is high in the back of the throat. This doesn’t mean you will feeling nothing in the back of the throat. But, you should have no pain, strain, tickle or cough-like feelings.

Belting high notes should be done with thin cords (although it may sound like some singers are belting in the chest voice). The volume of a good belt sound is no louder than the volume of your loud speaking voice.

Try this.

With good cord closure (compression), allow some air to escape with your high note. In other words, belt “hey” while allowing the “h” to help you let some air leak through your cords.

Keep your jaw relaxed and your mouth wide open like biting into an apple, or just like the feeling before a yawn. Again, the tongue should be high in the back of the throat with the tip sitting behind the front bottom teeth, and the soft palate is lifted.

If you feel tension at the back of your tongue then you are straining. Start again with a relaxed high tongue and open mouth and throat.

Staccato exercises in your high voice (thinning of cords) are great for stopping the breath, gaining control, and prepping to belt and sing rock.

This means your breath is drawn down deep into your lungs, and your abdominal muscles, back muscles and rib cage muscles are engaged in the effort of controlling your breath.

And don’t forget, you should always warm up and warm down with lip rolls, sirens and tongue trills.


Controlled effort

One of the most important things you can do as a singer is to learn how to balance your voice. In other words, know how to negotiate the first passagio, so you have no issues with the transfer of resonance as you move back and forth through that bridge. Men, your first bridge is around D to F above middle C, and ladies your bridge is anywhere between A (above middle C) to high C. One key element to negotiating this passagio is the idea of “bridging early”. Don’t avoid this sensation, but don’t flip into falcetto either.

One of the easiest ways to know if you are bridging is simply to match the volume as you sing higher. Your body needs to figure out how to control the air (send less air) as you ascend in pitch.  You need to allow that heady feeling and turn on your body anchor. Without enough body effort you will likely notice the sound starts to become “weaker” or “not intense enough”.  You will likely want to sing louder, but that’s not how to improve your voice. Instead, turn on your body! Pretend you are lifting a heavy suitcase in each arm. Notice your rib cage engage as you exert some pressure there. Be careful not to tense up in the neck area. This may cause undo strain.

Good singing does take effort. The effort is a controlled feeling of energy all over the body.  Effort in the wrong places, such as at the vocal cords or inside the throat, will only constrict the sound. We want a free, open and controlled sound!

Some coaches don’t talk about effort simply because it can get in the way. But without the correct effort how do you expect to improve your voice? Never under estimate the value of “effort”.