Middle Voice Singing
Learning how to sing in Middle Voice is the key to connecting chest voice and head voice and singing with a powerful, connected resonance. No doubt you’ve head of “Chest Voice” and “Head Voice” before, or “Low Register” and “High Register” before – but did you know there is actually another extensive register that bridges, connects and overlaps these two main vocal registers? Often called Mix Voice, or Singing in Mix, Middle Voice Singing is the powerful, pleasant and PROFESSIONAL singing tone you hear from your favourite singers, and it’s truly the difference between trying to sing, and singing well.
‘Mix Voice’ is the balancing point between your registers
Some approaches to singing treat the middle register as a ‘springboard’ or ‘doorway’ between your two main registers, but in actual fact, your MIX covers a much larger expanse of your voice than this would lead you to believe. I personally like to think of my vocal registers in this manner;
- Chest Voice – Full length vocal chords
- Head Voice – Fully shortened vocal chords
- Middle Voice – Everything in between!
The concept of building a ‘mix’ or ‘middle’ voice is that you EXTEND that sketchy connection/flip between head voice and chest voice, so that no matter where you sing, the transition is super smooth and controlled.
Learning to increase your singing range doesn’t have to be so difficult, once you’ve learned how to increase your range with Middle Voice Singing, your high range will be endless, and that pesky ‘break’ between chest and head voice will be completely under your control. Since I launched Bohemian Vocal Studio in 2010, I’ve taught literally THOUSANDS of singers how to sing in middle voice and build their mix, from professional touring musicians to absolute beginners alike – learning how to sing in mix voice is the secret key to every singing voice.
Middle voice is like the centre of a pyramid
Bizarre analogy, I know – but bear with me. If you think about chest voice being like the base of a pyramid, and head voice being top – then MIX or MIDDLE voice is the direct center of the pyramid/your voice; it’s not ‘head’ tone, but it’s also not ‘chest’ tone – it’s in between the two. Here’s three of my favourite ways of unlocking the middle register for my students:
#1 – Classroom Voice
Classroom voice is pretty self explanatory. If you keep a pleasant, but assertive singing tone, your vocal chord coordination will naturally lean towards a “Mix”. Imagine being a teacher in a room full of school children and trying to gain the attention of the back row of kids, without yelling at the children in the front row: “okay everyone, look over here!”. Your voice should be raised in pitch, not too loud, but still full and assertive – if this works for you, congratulations, this is the key to your mix!
Classroom Voice is personally my favourite way of coaching my students how to access their middle voice, and from there I like to use a number of other visual tools to make the connection stronger and more fluid.
#2 – The Cry/Vocal Fry
This mainly works for higher voice types, and wasn’t one that worked for me personally as a low baritone – but I’ve had some great success with my Tenor and Soprano students by instructing them to release into a “cry” or “fry” coordination, where a slight relaxation or change in tonality lets them springboard up into their middle register. It’s not the Vocal Fry itself that helps them access their mix, it’s actually the relief of pressure that they get when they aim for the fry/cry sound that allows their vocal chord coordination to zip up slightly into their mix. If you’ve got a higher voice type than me, then by all means give this one a go! If you’d like help developing the cry approach in your voice, make sure to book a Skype session with me today and I’ll show you how!
#3 – Projection
Another of my favourite ways to personally access my mix and coach my students how to release their middle register, projection is the idea that the sound comes ‘back’ towards you, is projected ‘back’ to you around your first vocal break, allowing a fluid release into your middle register. It’s probably easier for me to show you this one:
So you’ll see, my ‘projection’ method isn’t PROJECTING your voice to a far away point, it’s actually quite the opposite and involves the visual method of figuratively sending your voice back towards yourself from a far away point. It sounds crazy, I know, but it REALLY works!
Using any/all of these methods above, can you feel how easily your voice ‘slides up’ while keeping a full tone now? Bingo – that’s middle voice. It does take some time and the right practice to develop, so if you’re finding this difficult you can book a session with me by using the booking calendar to your right.
Release is key.
Try it yourself with a lip-trill, or even a light hum or resonant ‘N’ sound – it’s super easy to go into your high range, right? That’s because you’re releasing rather than holding on to your tone. Now, try it with a vowel – can you feel how you’re “holding on” to the lower tone/frequencies in your voice? Without even hearing you sing, I can make the educated guess that you DIDN’T release in the same way you sang the lip trill when you sang the vowel. That’s because you’re singing high in CHEST VOICE rather than releasing into MIDDLE voice. Remember the pyramid analogy? It’s not heavy, but it’s not light – it’s a MIX of the two. Assertive but pleasant!
Your voice is only as strong as your foundation!
Without a healthy and powerful foundation, the roof of your voice will collapse into a ‘break’ or ‘flip’ like falsetto. Develop proper diaphragmatic breathing and learn how to support your voice correctly with proper singing posture, diaphragmatic breathing, resonance placement and vowel tuning – and your middle voice will grow exponentially with very little effort!
When you’re ready to power up your singing and learn how to sing in MIX voice, you can book a Skype session with me and I’ll show you how to do it!
Let me know if you have any questions or feedback 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.