Building a powerhouse connected singing voice.
I’m a vocal coach that specialises in working with singers to help them strengthen and condition there voice to improve not only there singing technique but also their vocal power and (tone) and of course range.
I thought I would share with you a golden rule that beginner, intermediate ,even professionals singers often forget or neglect to follow, that can really help to reduce the time it takes to develop or maintain a powerhouse singing voice.
If you don’t follow this golden rule be warned the consequences will catch up with your voice sooner or later! This can really impact on your ability to build a powerful rock metal, or pop singing voice. Even worse your voice could actually loose its power and the strongest part of your natural voice your (chest voice) will begin to break down which will make it harder for you to connect your chest and head voice into one long powerful connected register.
This one tip will literally save you days weeks months even years of vocal frustration, because when you go to scream or belt out high notes (there is no way to fake vocal strength, you either have it or you don’t)!
Let me start off by pointing out the obvious, not everyone that wants to become a singer is born with big thick vocal chords that can support a big sound. If your lucky enough to be born with big thick chords and you want to be a singer then good for you.
Providing you receive some form of correct vocal training and coaching early on to learn how to safely strengthen, and condition your voice your vocal growth and progress can be very rapid and assured.
However if your dream is to be a singer and you were born with a weak voice and or under-developed vocal chord strength. Then singing even an easy song can be a real challenge and you will struggle to sound good or stay on pitch.
How do you know if you fall into this category of singers?
1. Your voice probably cracks or wobbles in pitch when you sing higher or lower than your natural speaking voice range.
2. You sound good singing the lower notes of a song but cant hit the high notes without using falsetto (and it just doesn’t sound right).
3. Your voice lacks that radio friendly tone and can sound thin airy and breathy or unfocused.
4. You struggle to hear your voice over a band or even when accompanied by a piano or acoustic guitar.
5. Your voice blows out quickly and becomes tired after 1 to three songs and you loose the ability to hit high notes the voice suddenly disappears altogether in that part of your range.
6. Voice lacks power when you sing and you have to strain to make a bigger sound.
If you found yourself nodding and identifying with any of the above check points.
Don’t give up, if you really want to become a singer and your dream is to have a career in music you can!!! It just means that initially you will have to put more effort into strengthening and conditioning these under-developed singing muscles.
First of all everyone’s voice is different no two sets of vocal chords are exactly the same size or length, and of course the resonating spaces in singers also differ greatly in size and dimensions, ie throat, pharynx, windpipe, jaw shape, sinus head cavities, upper chest resonating spaces etc.
If you want to learn about the various elements that combine to determine and influence the unique identity of a singers sound. Refer to my earlier blog article:
If your new to singing and have a weak voice that cant hit the high notes or suffer from any of the vocal challenges I listed above. Then you can really do yourself a favour by following the #1 golden rule to reduce the time it takes to develop a powerhouse voice.
Spend at least 15-20 minutes of each vocal exercise session on exercises to develop and strengthen your low notes and upper notes of your chest register.
Sing or hum a simple scale ie a major scale DO, RE, ME, FA, SO, LA, TE, DO, on all of the vowels ie, lar, la, ee, o, u.
Start the exercise on your lowest comfortable speaking note, and repeat each scale position ten times, before moving on to start the scale a semitone higher than your original starting note. Only move on to a higher scale position when you can sing all the notes in the scale without wobbling and your voice is able to stay connected and there are no breaks or cracks. Once you can do this correctly, then continue up to the next highest starting postion and so on. Only sing as high as you can and still remain connected!
If your voice breaks into falsetto then stop and start the exercise again lower down the scale where you can stay connected!
(If your not sure what a scale is and not sure how to perform this exercise properly) I highly recommend taking a lesson or two to learn how to develop your voice safely and correctly. If you don’t do the exercise correctly you can expect little or no progress and lots of frustration!
Be patient don’t rush through these exercises they are the foundation for making you into a stronger singer! (if you want to scream or belt out high notes) with power then you need to strengthen and condition your chest voice to properly promote a fully connected vocal sound. Otherwise you will find it next to impossible to connect your chest voice and head voice into one long seamless register).
There are no short cuts (for singers with weak chest voices to be able to connect up the chest to the head voice correctly)! If you avoid strengthening up your chest voice your high notes will flick over into falsetto every time!
Alternatively, If your an experienced or professional singer that is experiencing loss of power in your chest register or your finding the gap is growing wider between your chest and head register the solution to remedy the vocal weakness is going to be the same. Follow the #1golden rule for building and maintaining a powerhouse voice.
Sirens are a highly effective exercise for reducing the gap between chest and head and helping to maintain and build the strength of the connection between both the chest and head voice.
Once again if your not sure how to perform a siren safel and correctly i recomend taking a lesson to learn how to get the best results from this exercise.
Note if your a singer with a naturally strong low chest voice, and you are having problems developing the conection between your chest and head voice register, I will cover this topic separately in an up coming blog.
Put simply if you want to develop robust power in your voice and produce more tone and weight into your higher notes and screams then you need to remember to build your voice from the ground up. Strengthen up your chest register and spend time working on specific exercises designed to safely stretch and extend the range of your chest voice. The higher you can sing in chest the easier it becomes to connect into a solid head voice. Once you’ve built this connection you can begin to really strengthen up the power of your head voice screams.
Singers with big powerful voices that produce warm rich tone even into there highest notes, ie Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Sebastian Bach (ex Skid Row) Axl Rose (Guns N Roses) or Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) Melissa Etheridge or Bonnie Tyler and Beyonce Knowles, etc have one thing in common with each other. All of these singers were either born with strong chest registers or they trained to condition and build the strength in the lower, middle and upper chest notes first.
The mechanics of how high notes in head voice are produced.
In order to sing higher notes above your natural chest voice range . Your vocal chords will begin to thin out so that they can stretch and create higher pitches ( known as head voice). Singers with powerful rock voices are able to scream and take more of a full bodied sound through into their higher notes, because they have taken the time to build up the strength and the mass of the vocal chords in the lower and middle and upper chest register. As the vocal chords begin to thin out the added size and thickness or (mass of the vocal chords) are able to thin down and still have enough mass to produce a fuller sound.
Reminder use it or loose it!
Singers that ignore the development of there lower registers will end up with a big problem later on.
Firstly low notes will lack power, and will have little or no resonance (warmth), this means the voice will sound breathy weak and wobbly (no singer wants that)!
Secondly, high notes will sound thin (because the required muscle mass of the vocal chords will be lacking) and when the chords thin down to produce your head voice screams the result will be a shrill tone that nobody will want to listen too.
Many professional singers as they get older develop noticeable weaknesses in there upper chest register because they neglect to maintain the strength of this part of there voice, they create a bad habit where they begin connecting into there head voice at a lower place in there range. IE Sebastian Bach from Skid Row and Rob Halford from Judas Priest begin to develop noticeable problems in connecting there upper chest voice to there head voices, if you don’t maintain the strength of the upper chest register you will begin to notice that the place where you would normally connect into your head voice becomes a lot harder to get too.
The answer is simple if you want to develop a powerhouse voice and take a bigger fuller sound into your high notes and metal screams then remember to spend sometime during your vocal exercise sessions to strengthen and extend the range of your chest voice. Not only will you develop a powerful mid range voice. This will also help you build a solid connection into your head voice and establish a powerful connected tone from your lowest note right through to your highest note just like the pros do!
Better singing everyone.
If you want to learn more about the topic we covered or discuss your voice with me email: firstname.lastname@example.org