The untrained voice and belt singing

The definition of (chest) belting according to Seth Riggs is using an excessive amount of air (air blast) and vocal cord tension in an attempt to sing louder.

Over the last 50 years, singers have been using their voices in many new and demanding, interesting and entertaining ways. Whether we like it or not, the untrained voice is creating sounds that many cultures desire and enjoy. Traditional singing techniques consider these sounds wrong. What is a singer to do? Take traditional vocal lessons and never be able to create these sounds? Or train elsewhere and learn how to make these vocal sounds without harm to the vocal cords.

Belting is indeed “a flavour” that the Western world has embraced. This can be a learned technique, but for the most part is self-taught. Good singers who are very “intune” with their body energy and support can acquire a belting voice with much practise and careful attention. An example of this would be Celine Dion and Adam Lambert. Unfortunately, when a singer is not careful about the problems associated with “belting” incorrectly, it can result in hoarseness, vocal nodes, fatigue, and even total loss of the voice.

Singers need to be aware that traditional training is not always the best path to study voice. Musical theatre voices are changing as well. Producers are hiring singers who can belt more now than ever. Again, we may not like these changes, but this is happening. The trained voice is being set-up for failure in the music business.

Having said that, Speech Level Singing does not encourage or teach belting. Belting is a preference in style. SLS sets a singer up with a strong, well-balanced voice, that allows the singer to sing in any style they wish.

I will try and unravel more about vocal styles in upcoming posts.

In musical theatre, singing and acting go hand in hand…

So you want to go into musical theatre. You’ve studied voice and music in university and now you are ready to work……….Ahhhh, too bad you didn’t taking some acting classes too. The director is looking for the whole package……….well, unless you just want to be in the chorus.

The director not only wants you to read some lines, but he wants you to belt a song…..that’s it……..show us your best belt.¬† Do you know how to do it? If you studied classical voice then you’re in trouble. You don’t learn how to belt with classical training.

A good belt is when your chest voice can carry up into “the mix” through your second bridge and beyond. Notice I said “the mix”. That means there is head voice in there too, however it’s just not predominant. Without the head voice you end up with this sound that is quite unpleasant. It is strained, dark and sounds like you’re yelling.

Belting is something that can be learned. Classical training is not going to strengthen your belt. Try speech level singing. Learn how to get into “the mix” and strengthen your chest¬†register up through your 2nd bridge.