How to connect Chest and Head Voice
Learning how to build a bridge between your chest voice and your head voice takes time, practice and the right approach. This tutorial will show you the easiest way to connect chest and head voice by using the mix coordination, or what is sometimes called the middle register.
Chest Voice is associated with engagement of the TA or thyroarytenoid muscles, and Head Voice is associated with the CT or cricothyroid muscle. By centrally coordinating the engagement of these two important processes, you will be able to sing in mix voice – allowing you to sing with the rich depth of chest voice while accessing the extensive range afforded by head voice.
Learning how to sing well and how to connect chest and head voice is a simple process of coordination, and shouldn’t be treated as a muscular or forceful pursuit – take your time and remember, your voice is only as strong as the foundation you are building it upon.
Stop singing in chest voice (for now)
I can’t reiterate this point enough – almost everyone that comes through my studio starts out pulling their chest voice higher than they should, only to complain their range isn’t very high, or their voice is strained – that is, until they learn to release from chest voice and sing using their mix coordination between chest and head instead. Building your middle register should be a priority for any singer looking for power, range and control over their voice.
I’m often faced with the question “how do I hit high notes chest voice?” – which in itself is a flawed question, and the answer is actually to learn how to sing in mix voice instead. It sounds like chest, it’s as released as head, and it allows transition between your other regitsers without effort or a break.
The answer to MOST of your singing questions, is “Mix Voice“.
Can you learn how to sing in mix voice?
Learning how to sing in mix voice is a necessity for every singer – we all start out with a disconnected head and chest register, and must learn to correctly coordinate the musculature in an even way to access this powerful part of our voices. I personally like the use of visual tools like projection, or ‘classroom voice’ to release the voice into middle coordination, where it can then be built and strengthened before a return to a more natural tonality. I recently put together a super simple tutorial on accessing the middle voice:
So you’ll see, the SOUND of middle voice is not really that different to full chest voice, and allows a powerful connection through to our head register – the middle voice is the answer if you’re looking to sing higher chest voice notes.
Can’t I just sing higher in chest voice?
No. Chest voice is a full-length vocal chord coordination that works well for our low range, but would require too much air pressure and tension to vibrate at the fast speeds required for high notes that middle voice can create so easily.
I like to think of chest voice and head voice as a ‘final destination’ in either direction of the voice – middle voice is simply the train that carries you in either direction.
Can I just sing lower in head voice?
Again, no. Head voice is a ‘zipped’ chord coordination that is too thin and light to vibrate with the deep frequencies that middle voice allows us to sing with – meaning you won’t hit the notes, or worse, you’ll damage your vocal chords while they’re in this ‘short’ coordination if you use too much force or pressure. Remember your singing voice is actually a coordination of the muscles responsible for chest voice and those that allow your head register – learn how to balance between these two registers in your middle voice for a powerfully connected, resonant and strain free singing voice.
What about belting?
There’s a reason that the mix voice is often referred to as the ‘belt’ register. Belting involves a ‘stretch’ of our middle register up to the point where we SHOULD release into head voice, but instead keep our voices in a full middle coordination for that belty, full, resonant sound at a higher pitch. So, in actual fact, you HAVE to release into middle voice before you can learn how to belt correctly!
Where can I learn more about middle voice?
My YouTube channel is FULL of excellent and simple tutorials that will not only help you discover your MIX, but also help you with increasing range, onsets, tonality and SO much more. If you’re ready to take your voice to the next level, you can book a Skype session with me today and I’ll show you how it’s done!
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.