Three voice ranges men can sing in

Three voice ranges men can sing in

We’ve all heard of chest voice, and head voice – but did you know there is another ‘mystery’ vocal register called middle, or ‘mix‘ voice that sits smack bang in the centre of the two? Middle voice is KEY to building your vocal range and singing without strain.

Most guys when they sing, are pushing up their chest voice as far as possible, and then ‘flipping’ into a weak head voice when they can no longer sing any higher in their chest register – the secret, is transitioning into your middle register so that change is fluid and inaudible. The three different voice ranges men can sing in are the Chest, Mid/Middle and Head registers – if you train your voice properly, you would quickly find that you actually have ONE connected singing voice rather than a heavy ‘low’ range and light ‘high’ range – one connected and powerful singing range no matter what register!

Chest Voice

Chest voice is the register that most men naturally speak in, that low, rich and boomy sound you associate with the low range. The chest voice is controlled and created by the thyroarytenoid muscle, or “TA” and involves thickening of the vocal chords for a deeper, richer tone. Most listeners assume that Men always sing in chest voice when their voice is full, before flipping up into head voice when they are singing lighter – but the reality is much more complex and fine tuned than this over simplification.

Head Voice

Now, head voice is the light ‘flipped’ sound that most listeners assume men are singing in when they sing light or falsetto, which again simple isn’t the case. Head voice is controlled by the cricothyroid or “CT” muscles, and involves tensing or stretching of your vocal folds. When you are singing in PURE head voice, this means that you are tensing or stretching your vocal folds without any thickness care of the TA muscles associated with chest voice.

Mixed voice

Mixed voice is the central coordination of both the TA and CT muscles, resulting in a direct mix of tonality between your two main registers. I personally prefer the term middle voice or middle coordination, but “mix” or “blend” also works to describe mix voice too. When you are a beginner singer, it’s likely that you don’t have coordinated control over these two important muscles, leading to a disconnected vocal range that ‘flips’ in your middle up into your head coordination as your TA muscles loose control and strength. Over time, and with a great vocal coach, you can learn to coordinate your two main registers to balance in a MIDDLE coordination that is both powerful and extensive in range just like your favourite singers and the professionals!

-> Teach me how to sing like a star!

These three registers, chest voice, head voice and then their central coordination of MIDDLE or MIX voice are incredibly important for your singing voice, and will allow you to sing with POWER, range and a professional singing tone and high range with ease.

As you can see, middle voice is a powerful, yet strain free range in your voice that allows you to sing with a ‘chesty’ sound without pushing, and allows you to fully connect your chest and head voice. When it comes to ROCK singing, then middle voice is King.

Learn how to sing in mix voice

Learning how to sing in mix voice takes time, practice and the right approach. One of the ways I have developed to help my students learn how to sing in mix voice is the concept of projection. Now, when I say projection, I don’t mean projecting your voice far away, I actually mean figuratively imagining that your voice is being projected back towards you from a far point. This visual tool really does help you release any lock from your chest voice, or, TA muscles, and allows you to coordinate your two main registers into a third honorary register know as mix or middle voice.

Using my projection approach, you should soon be able to release your voice into the mix coordination and continue to strengthen and develop this powerful middle tone so that you can connect chest and head voice will improving your overall control and dexterity as a singer.

Another fantastic way I like to teach my students to access this mix register is by way of classroom voice – basically, if you speak in a high, but assertive voice like you would expect from a teacher gaining the attention of their students “Okay everyone, look over here!” without shouting, and without sounding meek – you will realise that there is actually another resonant tonality that sits in the centre of your range there care of coordinating your registers in this way for the classroom tone. Your tone should be pleasant and assertive, and you can use this as a cue when you are singing songs and approach this range, if you alter the character of your tone somewhat towards this pleasant and assertive tone, just like the pros do, you’ll notice an increase in range, an increase in power and a total change in your understanding of your vocal registers.

What other singing techniques do I need?

While middle voice is the proverbial ‘king’ of powerful singing, there are other subjects in the Kingdom you need to acquaint yourself with, such as vocal placement, resonance tuning, twang, vowel shaping, register release, Appoggio and many others. A great way to learn the right singing techniques is to follow this list of the Top 5 important singing techniques every singer needs to learn.

Top 5 singing techniques every singer needs to learn

With these 5 singing techniques, you will be accessing your mix register in no time at all, while building a strong, robust and consistent voice that is a joy to train, and even more joyous to sing with.

#1 – Foundation

Your foundation actually includes quite a number of techniques, but it’s SO important that I’m going to cram them all into the number one spot on this list. Your foundation starts with posture, which in singing looks something like: Head up, shoulders back, chin parallel with the floor and ribs wide. This last point, a widened rib position leads me to the next technique in your foundation, known as Appoggio singing technique, which will allow you to control your breathing via extension of the diaphragm rather than contraction of the ribs and chest like often happens in speech. A great way to set your ribs wide for Appoggio singing is to raise your sternum without breathing in – you’ll often find that this sets your ribs apart while contracting your stomach, the perfect setup for a powerful Appoggio voice.

You then simply need to learn how to sing from the diaphragm so that you can control your air flow and air pressure properly. My free foundations short courses Breathing 101 will show you exactly how to engage your diaphragm and the best breathing exercises for singing.

#2 – Resonance placement

Vocal placement is the simple concept of limiting any unnecessary frequencies that may not be resonating in the most efficient manner. This is often mistaken as classical ‘mask’ technique by even some of the most popular voice coaches out there, so make sure your approach to singing includes a practical way for your to PLACE your voice. A great way to build vocal placement is to sing a gentle “NG” or “NG” sound, while attempting to limit any frequencies or vibration from occurring below your top teeth. Over time, your voice will recognise that you wish to create only the most efficient band of frequencies, and this placement will appear when you sing actual song, allowing you to sing with more power, a higher range and completely void of any strain. Vocal placement has been key to building my own baritone singing voice.

#3 – Balance your onset

Another powerful singing technique that is often overlooked in even the most popular singing courses is balanced onsets. There are three different types of onsets that your voice is able to create in singing, but only one that is healthy and useful in the long run;

  • Breathy onset – air is released before your vocal chords come together
  • Glottal onset – your vocal chords are forced shut before air blows them apart
  • Balanced onset – your vocal chords and your air pressure meet at the perfect moment to create strain free vibration and resonance

Learning to balance your onset in this manner will allow you to sing completely free of strain, without any undue force, and without any unintentional breathiness.

#4 – Consonant groupings

I personally like to group consonant sounds into their respective types and then develop an individual approach to each of these consonant groupings considering my student’s voice type, accent and vocal physiology. A great example of this is for any thick European or Slavic accent, from Swedish right through to Polish, where a consonant sound such as “W” is actually created with glottal stop in the larynx – my approach to lifting this placement from deep in the throat would be to replace the “W” sound with a pure and well placed “OO” vowel. So, instead of a word like ‘Well’ causing strain and a throaty placement, it would become a lilting “OO-ell” that is clear, concise and placed with a powerful and efficient resonance. Learn to create your consonant sounds the right way to immediately release strain from your singing voice and build a responsive instrument that can sing ANY song.

I often build a number of consonant groupings with my students, from plosive and glottal consonants, right through to sibilance, open resonants and closed resonant sounds.

#5 – Resonance tuning

Tuning your resonance to the right mix of frequencies as you ascend in range and access the different resonators throughout your voice is the only way to increase your vocal range and connect your registers. As you ascend in range, it’s important that you make slight changes to your frequencies, or vowels, so that they resonate in the most efficient manner and never lose their depth or richness, no matter how high or low you sing. The most common form of resonance tuning is called vowel modification, and involves making subtle changes to the character of your vowels as you ascend in range, such as AH becoming OH, then ER, then OO as you sing towards your head voice. While this isn’t the most efficient or fine tuned way to tune your resonance, it’s a great introduction to the concept for a complete beginner because it works so easily.

As you start to progress in skill as a singer, you’ll note that vowel modification is simply way too general and clunky to fine-tune your resonance the way that your voice needs to build a professional singing range, so it’s important your approach to singing develops control over the individual elements of your voice that make vowel modification possible so that you can learn to control them in a much more efficient and powerful way. Here’s a great tutorial I’ve put together to show you some of the different ways you can tune your resonance:

If you’re ready to build your vocal registers and build an impressive vocal range, you can book a Skype session with me today and I’ll show you how it’s done!

Feel free to leave any feedback in the ‘leave a reply’ box below!

YouTube singing lessons | Learn to sing on YouTube

Learn To Sing On YouTube

If you’ve been trying to learn how to sing for a while already, you’ve probably spent some time trawling through YouTube videos looking for ‘the secret’ to great singing. You probably also found that it was a bit of a black hole of endless videos and marketing terms and reaction videos instead of the professional singing resource you were hoping it was going to be. So how do you make heads or tails of the information on YouTube when it comes to learning how to sing?

The most important thing to understand about YouTube is that it’s really not a repository of knowledge, at least where singing is concerned, it’s really just a collection of marketing videos of varying qualities trying to get you to subscribe or even buy something. Sure, you might get a feel-good feeling about a smiling coach who promises you the world, and there might even be a nice little tid-bit of useable information hidden in there somewhere – but as a comprehensive vocal approach, YouTube just plain old sucks, and let me tell you how I know this;

I Was Once Stuck In The YouTube Vortex Too!

Actually, before YouTube was even created I was stuck in an endless singing lesson vortex, but that’s a conversation for another time. Now, I actually started learning to sing in the late 90’s as highschool came to a close for me. First with a book I bought from the back of a guitar magazine, and then onto a teacher and so forth. There was a few online singing courses available at the time too, but it really wasn’t something that was on my radar at the time – I wanted to be in the same room as the person teaching me and really stuck to my guns with local singing lessons.

Unfortunately, there’s some truth to sayings about wide nets – my choice of local coaches really was limited between the stuffy classical lady who hated rock (and I suspect just hated me too) and the dubious pop guy who kept trying to get me to “sing like you speak” which even at that time, set off alarm bells in the back of my head. While I eventually had great success when another coach came into my life just at the right moment, I did start also looking online at the time and eventually came across YouTube some years later as my singing ability was really starting to take off thanks to the incredible vocal foundation that I’d been able to build with this simple process.

Even as someone who at the time was able to sing quite well and connect chest and head voice, sing with formidable power and had also started to dabble in coaching too – I came across all manner of crazy terms and techniques that I had never heard of, in fact, I suspected at the time that some of these terms were just made up for dramatic effect. Open Throat, Appoggio, Modes, Medial Compression, Edge, Overdrive, Mix Voice, Curbing – what the hell were all these techniques that apparently everyone but me was using?

And here’s where the YouTube vortex began.

I started trawling through YouTube videos looking for the magic secrets to the techniques, notes and tone that was still eluding me in places, and I actually started to spend more time looking at singing videos than actually singing myself. Does this sound familiar?

I then realised many years down the track that YouTube was actually more of a marketplace and platform for people to gain followers and clients, and that it’s really not a repository of knowledge in any case, at least where singing is concerned. By this point, I’d actually started my own YouTube channel trying to debunk half of the crap out there, doing a few covers to ‘prove’ my singing approach was legit, along with trying to create the online resource that I would have loved to have had access to as a green singer – I did videos about accents, consonants, mixed voice, Open Throat, belting, distortion – you name it, the BVS vocal channel was rising fast. And here’s where it happened again, I started spending more time creating videos than actually singing for the pure joy of it.

And here’s where the YouTube vortex began… again.

And you’re starting to see a pattern here. YouTube is really designed to keep you on YouTube – what would be the point of an online platform that encouraged you to pack up your laptop and actually go and do something? Even someone as well meaning as myself who tried to go against the grain and actually just SHOW people how to sing gets sucked into the vortex as other channels gain more viewers and other coaches make a better living by simply sitting there watching a video of someone else singing while occasionally chiming in “yep, he’s doing blah blah – which is in my course”. Can you tell that reaction videos are my pet peeve?

The only way to sing better is to actually sing, and the only way to coach people is to actually coach them. Reaction videos do nothing but encourage you to spend more time on YouTube instead of more time singing.

Less Clicking, More singing!

At this point, I was pretty done with YouTube because it just seemed the vortex was stronger than I could handle – even my own little coaching vortex of video after video started to wear me down. Instead, I started to focus on my students and use their experiences learning to sing, along with my own 20 year experience learning to sing and decade of coaching expertise to create an approach that was all inclusive and would set absolutely any singer at any level up with a rock solid vocal foundation and the keys to becoming a great singer.

And here’s my conclusion on learning to sing on YouTube; why watch ads masquerading as singing lessons when you can get the real thing?  The Foundation 101 course here at Bohemian Vocal Studio is designed for singers just like you that are SICK of the YouTube vortex and want to quit all that clickin’, and start doing some actual singing.

The approach that I’ve designed after 20 years learning to sing, and with 10 years coaching experience is one of the simplest yet in depth vocal methods you will find. But, i’m not going to sell you some BS about a magic secret, or being better than anyone, or being the best course ever, or being a guru, or dropping the names of pros and celebrities that I have worked with – I’m going to let you make up your own mind with this exclusive Mixed Voice Singing Lesson and let my approach do all the talking.

Are you ready to sing better? Check out your free Mixed Voice Singing Lesson here.

Want to see what all the fuss is about with the Foundation vocal approach? Here’s just a few examples of what I’m achieving now that I’m free of the YouTube vortex and using the Foundation approach to vocal technique – just imagine what you’re going to achieve once you’re finally able to sing with the voice of your dreams, not just watch videos of someone else singing with the voice of your dreams.

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