3 Hacks To Boost Your Middle Voice Singing
We all know our low range as chest voice and our high range as head voice, but what about the middle of our voices where these two register intersect, or if you’re just starting out on your journey towards building the voice of your dreams, lack connection? This is where the concept of Middle Voice or simply “Mix” will boost your singing skills and allow you to finally bridge your two main registers and finally connect chest and head voice – here’s 5 Hacks To Boost Your Middle Voice
#1 – The projection method
I love this method of procuring a middle connection through the passage between chest and head voice. The most simply way to connect your registers is by figuratively projecting your voice through the middle part of your range, as though your voice is coming back towards you from a distance, say the corner of your room or the back of an auditorium. You can think of this as reverse projection if you like, and this shift in mental focus often results in a singer who was previously unable to sing into their middle range without either pushing or flipping up into a light falsetto, actually bridge with a powerful connection and convincingly consistent and controlled tone.
#2 – Fry in, Fry out
I’ve heard that some people are able to make a connection between chest and head through their middle voice by employing a touch of vocal fry. I personally find this method to be a little clunky, but where I’ve had students who were unable to project their voices effectively just yet, have seen results from what I like to call Fry In, Fry Out. Basically, as you ascend towards your vocal break, instead of pushing or fully releasing into falsetto, instead you travel up towards your head register with a touch of vocal fry. The ‘backing off’ motion of allowing a touch of fry allows a light connection between chest and head voice, avoiding the push of a belt or the air of falsetto and allowing full connection to the head register. Now, this method is all good and well, but how can you use this in a practical manner, I mean, isn’t everyone going to hear the vocal fry? Not if you fry out, my friend, fry out. Try alternating between the fry method on your ascend, and then a clean descent, so ascend through your break once with fry, and then back down without fry, then in reverse, travel down from head voice with some fry through the break, then back up through the break without fry – you’ll soon realise that you can actually make this middle voice connection without the need for fry anymore, pretty neat, right?
#3 – Classroom Voice
Another one of my favourite middle voice exercises and approaches is the concept of classroom voice. Think about getting the attention of the back row of kids in a classroom “okay everyone, look over here!” in a pleasant but assertive tone. Now, try this at a higher pitch somewhere in the middle of your range – no doubt you’ll see that you can actually hit the difficult parts of your range in a comfortable and powerful way. Now all you need to do is ascend from your chest voice in the low range gradually moving towards this ‘classroom’ tone and then gradually release towards head. This method is one of the most effective and powerful ways to increase and improve your middle register.
While the middle register isn’t a physical, literal ‘extra’ register, the figurative intent of treating the middle portion of your voice as a gradient between chest and head voice, or as it’s own figurative register is one of the best ways to increase your range and develop power and consistency as you bridge between your registers.
How to connect chest and head voice
The simplest way for me to explain the mechanism of connecting your registers is to refer to chest voice as full vocal fold weight, and head voice as full vocal fold tension. As you ascend in range, you gradually release the vocal fold weight from your chest register while incrementally increasing tension as you ‘fling’ your voice up into head voice in a connected way. One of the best ways to build a bridge between chest and head voice is the humble lip trill. Now, connecting chest and head isn’t just as simple as ‘doing a lip trill’, there has to be a specific intent behind how you practice the trill, and where you are figuratively sending your resonance. Imagine that your chest register is located at your teeth, your middle register (using one of the above methods) at the back of your throat where the soft palate is at the top of your mouth, and then head voice way up in the back of your head towards the crown of your hair – over time this will help you connect your registers better, and even cooler than that, you can use this same figurative approach to connect each of your vowel sounds too!
Balance is key
Learning to sing with balance is the key to great singing. Every single element of your voice can be traced back to balance, and every issue you experience is a result of an imbalance of some kind. Breath support is a balance between airflow and air pressure, an onset is a balance between the release of air pressure and vocal fold closure, your registers are a balance between weight and tension, your tone is a balance between frequencies. Using of the above 3 Hacks For Boosting Your Middle Voice, combined with a connected bridge between chest and head voice, PLUS a balance in each aspect of your voice will lead to a formidable and impressive vocal range that is as powerful as it is pleasant.
Are you balancing your voice? A great place to get started is the free courses here at Bohemian Vocal Studio which will show you how to set up a strong foundation for your voice to be built upon. When you’re ready to take your voice up another notch to the next level with professional voice coaching and guidance, you can book a Skype Session and we’ll work towards extending your range and building control and consistency in your voice every time you sing!
If you have any questions about middle voice singing or the middle register feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!
Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.