Working from the bottom up

The chest voice is very powerful. I recommend all singers learn how to carry their “low voice” up into their higher register by learning how to mix from the bottom up. If you want to earn a living at singing, it is crucial to learn how to belt and sing safely in your chest voice.

First and foremost, you need to train regularly. Singers who belt regularly, are at most risk for vocal damage. Become a vocal athelete first. The ability to siren, lip roll and tongue trill through your entire range is a must. This teaches your body to pay attention to balance and amount of effort and breath you are using.

There are certain sounds that are precursors to being able to sing high in your chest voice.

1. Put a sob or a cry in your voice.

2. Practise a “witchy” sound or neighing of a horse.

3. “Meow” like a kitty.

Every voice is different. You may find one of the sounds above easier to do. Don’t force the sounds…..just think the sounds. Do it every day, many times a time. Pay attention to the volume at which you can continually accomplish the sound through your passagio. It may be breathy as you move higher, but with practise you will get less breathy. Try to be the same volume on all the pitches.

Ladies …. work from middle C to high C (make sure you are in your chest voice).

Men … work A below middle C to A above middle C.

Remember, these are sounds. They are not meant to be pretty. You are not singing these sounds….it may appear you are speaking these sounds. You need very little breath.

Good luck! Let me know it goes. Do you have any questions?


The show must go on!

I woke up yesterday with a cold and hoarseness in my voice. I had three hours of performance to do later in the day, so I knew it was going to be a tough one with a lot of careful attention and energy to complete the job!

First, I had a hot shower and my usual … pot of coffee. I didn’t utter a word until 2:00 pm. I did a few exercises of lip trills and light sirens. I took a moment to gauge where I thought I was with my voice, compared to my “healthy voice”. I was somewhere around a 6 or 7. My goal was to be 8 or 9 before leaving for my gig. I had two hours.

I continued to warm up my head voice lightly. I paid acute attention to my body and energy to make sure I wasn’t putting any undue stress on my vocal cords. I did some sit ups and took a walk around the block. I continued to sip water all day.

This has happened many times before and I have learned over the years how to pace the day and night. It’s a delicate balance. I don’t talk. I only sing ….. when it’s absolutely necessary. In this case, it was necessary or else I would be letting down many many people who simply wanted to enjoy their Christmas party!

I made sure I could hear my voice well in the monitor. I would be singing at about half volume, so this was doubly important for this gig. I chose my repertoire very carefully…no “big” songs during this show. Instead, I focused on my “presentation” with by body and with my facial expressions.

When the night was finally over I was totally spent. I had maxed out my vocal cords for this gig, and I was mentally and physically exhausted from the energy it took to maintain a careful journey to get me through to the end of the night…..but it worked! As I headed out the door with my car jammed pack with my gear, my employer waved goodbye and said “see you next year!”