How to Fix Voice Cracking and Vocal Breaks
We’ve all been there, you’re singing along to your favourite song like you’ve done dozens of times before, but for some unknown reason you suddenly experience a voice crack and vocal break. What gives? This singing tutorial will show you how to fix your voice crack and dissolve your vocal break for good!
Chest Voice Head Voice Connection occurs when you learn to balance the two main aspects of your vocal registers – vocal fold weight and vocal fold tension. Are you ready to stop your voice cracking?
Head voice vs Chest voice
Some 200+ years ago, a singer who was working on their voice decided that their low register resonated in their chest and that when they experienced a voice crack and they flipped up into their high range unintentionally that this disconnected high range resonated in their head. While this is a massive generalisation, the terms have stuck and here we are referring to our low range as Chest and our high range as Head (not to be confused with falsetto).
Your Head Voice vs Chest voice are actually both a result of the same mechanism, balance (or lack thereof) between vocal fold weight and vocal fold tension – allowed and created by the TA and CT muscles respectively. When you finally develop proper head voice chest voice connection you will soon realise that there IS physically a connection between your two main registers, and that it requires a special touch and navigation through the difficult passages of your voice to attain and maintain.
Which Register Voice should I use?
Neither. To achieve head voice chest voice connection, you first must learn to balance between weight and tension in what some call middle voice or the mix register. While the middle register isn’t ‘physically’ a real thing, it is a spectacular teaching and learning tool that will ultimately make the process of head voice chest voice connection a much smoother and easier one.
A better way to think of your registers and your voice, in general, is that it is in part of a gradient between your low and high range. Your low range needs some high frequencies, and your high range needs a balance of middle frequencies at the same time to ensure consistency in your tonal quality and a consistent connection between the two areas of your voice
Why does my Voice Crack when I sing?
There are a few different reasons for a voice crack when you sing, but in general most singers experience two vocal breaks in particular, the first break which occurs due to an imbalance in the registers, and then a higher second break that occurs due to lack of sufficient/appropriate resonant space to allow your higher range to vibrate and resound properly.
One of the most efficient vocal break exercises is the humble lip trill, which not only allows you to release and connect your registers, but also has the added benefit of releasing strain and requiring moderation of your airflow. In short, if you can’t sing a lip trill effectively, you most likely won’t be able to achieve head voice chest voice connection anytime soon – but never fear, this tutorial will help you bridge the gap between chest and head voice and get you on your way to proper connection.
Are Voice Cracks Bad for Your Voice?
Not necessarily, they are more a sign of underdeveloped technique than a sign of an issue with your voice. Most beginner and even intermediate singers experience voice cracks until they develop proper control, and even a professional singer likely has voice cracks before they warm up properly or even on the occasional bad day, think of voice cracks as a defence mechanism for your voice, protecting you from harming your voice from strain and excess vocal fold weight. Eventually, these breaks will dissolve and allow you to sing with chest voice head voice connection every time you sing – the caveat being with a proper warmup and regular singing routine.
How do I stop my Voice Cracking?
You don’t need to “stop” anything, you actually need to start balancing your registers instead of singing in a disproportionate way. No doubt you have a full and thick chest voice, but as you ascend it gets harder to hold on to this full sound – right? This is where you are going wrong. Chest Voice Head Voice connection occurs when you learn to ditch weight from your voice in an incremental fashion as you ascend up into your high range, and in reverse as you descend back down. For example, if you sing in the direct centre of your range, you would have partial vocal fold weight and partial vocal fold tension.
A great way to stop your voice cracking is to form your vowels properly and allow your mouth to form an oval shape top to bottom as you ascend higher into your range, allowing your vowel to travel up into the soft palate instead of being stuck in your mouth or travelling forward into your nose. This ‘backwards’ feeling as you ascend in range is the key to great singing and ultimately the secret to chest voice head voice connection.
The best voice training techniques for voice cracks
The best place to start is the free foundations courses here at Bohemian Vocal Studio, which will show you how to set up your posture, breathing and placement effectively and give you the best chance of beating your voice cracks and vocal breaks. You’ll then be able to develop the following important aspects of a great singing voice:
- Middle Voice
- Vowel shaping
- Resonance tuning
- Altering your resonant space
- Diction and delivery
- Balancing your onsets
- Balancing your registers
- Consonant grouping
Singing is ultimately a process of balance and coordination rather than one of force or pure muscularity. Developing a consistent and released balance that is neither too light nor too heavy takes time, practice and perseverance. After you’ve completed the short courses here at BVS you can book a Skype Session and we’ll take your voice a step further and work towards extending your range and building consistency and connection in your registers.
If you have any questions about how to connect chest and head voice, 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.