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”.