Why is everyone so obsessed with Belting? I ask myself at least a few times a week here at Bohemian Vocal Studio. If you’ve built your voice from the ground up (like I teach here at BVS!), then sure, belting is a great ‘cherry on top’ of the solid, strong voice you’ve developed – but it’s not a voice type, or even an approach to singing itself, it’s really an effect, just like distortion, that can be produced in a safe manner if you’ve been shown how (you can book a session with me now to develop your singing technique!), but can just as easily be abused and misused in a way that is first of all just plain unpleasant, and secondly can be truly damaging to your voice. Basically, If you haven’t yet been taught how to sing a relaxed, high note in a pleasant, bright, resonant timbre – don’t try to belt it, you’ll hurt your voice.
The top 5 misconceptions about belting…
It’s a dark tone, I need to sound darker in my high register! – Absolutely not. To belt correctly, you need to develop a bright, open, relaxed and resonant vocal timbre that is free of any dark ‘covering’ or strain. This is probably the top issue that I face with students obsessed with belting from day 1 – “I want to sing darker!”, or “I don’t care about singing clear, I just want to belt!”. Belting is an effect, not a cause – if you develop your vocal mechanism correctly from day one, learning to belt correctly is a total cinch. Tip: Power comes from a bright timbre that is forward placed and well supported.
You have to move ALOT of air to belt. – Again, another common misconception. To belt correctly, you have to hold back your air in place of air pressure. When you belt, the pressure of the air held and compressed by your diaphragmatic breathing technique increases, but the airflow itself actually decreases. I refer to this as airpressure vs airflow. The more you ‘hold back’ your air using techniques like Inhalare la Voce and develop your breathing approach, the more resonance and power you’ll have in your bag of singing tricks. Tip: Adduct your vocal chords and adjust your air flow properly.
Just sing higher with Chest Voice! – I actually had a renowned singing coach tell me this personally once, I can only shudder to think of what this would do to your vocal health. Run screaming from anyone who ever tells you anything like this – all that bloody screaming is probably STILL better for your voice than ‘pulling chest’. No, belting is no pulling your chest voice higher – there’s a reason why your “middle voice/mixed voice” is referred to as your BELT register. That’s right, you must transition into mixed voice before you can belt properly, I recently posted a lesson about the mixed voice.
You have to modify your vowel late – This is the only point I can see some sense in, even if it’s isn’t technically 100% correct. Modifying your vowel a little later is actually caused by differences in the frequencies you’re creating/resonance chambers you’re making use of when you belt (vs. regular/classical singing), it’s not the reason that you’re belting.
You either have it, or you don’t. – Another psychological vocal setback is the attitude of “I’m just not a good singer” or “They just have it naturally” – Did you know how to shift gears in a car before you were shown? Did you know how to work out ((5+7) x 7) + 22 = 106 until you learned Math correctly? Did you know how to cook a curry before looking up a recipe? Of course not. And those that are quicker to learn these skills may very well have a natural aptitude, sure, but they don’t have any physical advantage over you in any form – they just got there accidentally or worked out how to do it a little sooner. You really CAN learn how to sing better, increasing your range, sing with power and improve your voice – you just need the right information, the right approach and just as important, the right attitude.
I’ve put together fun quiz to see if you’re ready to learn how to belt and sing with power:
[HDquiz quiz = "35"]
If you’re ready to start building your own powerful singing voice and develop the right technique so you can belt with ease and develop your voice into a total powerhouse, you can book a session with me now!
Feel free to leave any feedback below, don’t forget your quiz results too!
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.