Today's question is about developing a chesty mixed voice/belting in mixed voice. This question comes from Kevin:
Q: "How would you make your mixed voice more Chestier? I already have a decent mix but I'd like to make it more Chestier. I'm doing it by lowering my larynx and opening up my mouth more but I'm not satisfied with my current level yet."
So you can already sing in a mix but it's kind of light and lacks power or fullness. How do you get it fuller and more chesty?
Before we get into that firstly let me just say that mixed voice is NOT about "mixing" your chest voice and head voice (non-breathy falsetto) together. It is not some "inbetween" voice. Mixed voice is simply your chest voice working the right way. Instead of straining, it just keeps going up. If you want to know more about that contact me anytime.
Anyway, about developing a chesty mixed voice: basically it's a matter of "stretching" more chest up into your mix so that your voice begins to thin LATER in your range rather than earlier. It's a STRENGTHENING process that you'll have to grow over time like a muscle. We achieve this by improving our vowels and being more aggressive with the support.
You see, the way you SHADE your vowels will determine how much you can "dig" or "lean" into your voice. If your vowels aren't dead on and you try to go louder then you'll just strain, and then you'll be told "you're taking your chest voice too high! Go lighter and it will grow in time!"
But it never does. It doesn't just get stronger unless it's already in the right spot. So lots of people always ask me for "exercises to strengthen my mix" it's not about that.
It's about having a teacher who can show you how to shade your vowels the right way. The way you choose to sing your vowels will either allow you to sing into your voice strongly with freedom or to hit a wall and strain. It isn't about just going up and down a scale, that only works if your technique is ALREADY in the right spot!!
While you're undergoing this process, you'll need to keep your lighter mixed voice connection stable and strong as well. If you try to lean in with more power before your voice is ready for it, or without proper technique you'll wear out your voice and actually weaken it instead of strengthening it!
Here are some of the things to look out for when you try to bring more chestiness into your mixed voice:
What you’ll want to do is focus on opening your mouth and jaw more (showing the teeth) so you can get more weight into your vowels (yes even on the EE's and OO's). For example, if you sing with the mouth too closed, all your vowels will become smaller and your voice will thin out more. You'll get throat tension too and you'll strain. If you want a chesty mixed voice or you want to belt in mixed voice then you need to shade your vowels to an OH/OO sound (but it should still sound natural!)
So if you were to sing "Baby I've been" in the higher part of your voice, it would kinda shade like this "Bih-bih-Ohv-bin". You'll have to watch the video to kind of get the context behind it.
The jaw will be open vertically on all those syllables which will help keep this "UGH" undertone under everything. This allows the larynx to stay stable so you can lean into the voice without straining.
The louder you sing, the more support you'll need. So you might want to bend your knees, clasp your hands together and basically squeeze the muscles in your abs, legs and chest/lats, so you can keep the throat and neck relaxed while supporting this bigger sound.
To go louder you'll want to think of crying into the sound and holding the breath rather than plain shouting. This will help you get more power into your voice without feeling like you have to push from the throat.
If your vowels become muffled or airy as you try to make them louder you'll overblow your voice and wear it out and weaken it. So you only go as loud as you can without this happening.
The next thing is super important: always make sure you can maintain that lighter mixed voice. You won’t be able to sing loudly in the high range unless that light mix is there so warming up and training your lighter connection until it’s very stable is important before trying to lean in too heavily in the high range. I call this keeping the bridge strong. You’ll only be able to go as loud as the bridge can sustain.
Lastly, lots of mini-sessions can really help you warm up the voice thoroughly. It may take you a good 30-60 mins training each day just to warm up the mix until it is ready for you to dig into it fully on difficult songs. Some people can warm it up quicker, others need more time. A huge key that helped me develop this was just spending a good hour working up to it rather than expecting it to work straight on the dot first up.
To learn all of this properly I recommend 1-on-1 Skype lessons with me or get my program.
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