Voice Placement When Singing
Voice placement when singing is one of the most important lessons you will learn as a vocalist. Placement in singing refers to efficient and controlled management of your resonance, in particular use of the three main resonators for your voice – the oral, nasal and pharyngeal resonators. Voice placement when singing has three stages that need to be followed in a particular manner when you first start developing your voice – by following this simple three-stage process, you will find your singing voice experiences significant gains and continual progress in every stage of learning how to sing, right from the complete beginning stages through to becoming an accomplished and professional singer with exception vocal technique. If you want to find your singing voice, voice placement when singing is paramount to a powerful and resonant sound.
The First Stage of Voice Placement
Voice Placement when singing starts with efficient use of the three main resonators of the voice. By first ‘placing’ your voice in these resonators, you will experience a release from strain and tension when you sing. While this initial stage of placement won’t exactly hand you a powerful and versatile singing voice right off the bat, it will set you up for ongoing progress as a singer while developing the second and third stages of voice placement when singing.
Now, the second stage in vocal placement is often taught to beginner singers with little introduction to the actual meaning behind vocal placement – this initial instruction to “Sing Forward” often creates a strained and nasal singing voice that has many issues, breaks and an unpleasant tone. Now, a forward placement IS actually a positive aspect of any great singing voice, however, forward placement should only be approached if you first understand how to direct your resonance into the mouth, pharynx and nasal resonators first. After all, what is the point of “singing forward” if you’re not singing efficiently in the first place?
The ‘forward’ placement that occurs in a great singing is really a result of correct vowel formation, which allows them to access the most efficient resonators in a very controlled way, while directing the resonance forward to the harder and brighter parts of the vocal tract. “Forward” singing is really a result of sending the vowel back into the pharynx while also achieving placement at the same time.
Advanced Vocal Placement in Singing
When you have first achieved placement in the main resonators of the voice, along with a natural ‘forward’ placement, you can then start blending and balancing your resonance between each resonator to achieve a ‘dominant’ resonator in each register of the voice. Initially, you will start with chest voice resonating in the mouth, mixed resonance occurring in the nasal resonator and pure head voice sitting in the pharynx in a fairly classical and ‘hooty’ vocal tone. Over time, you will learn to blend between each resonator (and register!) to create a powerful “mixed resonance” often referred to as mixed voice, or simply middle voice.
Mixed Resonance allows you to retain the rich tonal depth of your chest register while enjoying the extensive range afforded by your head voice. Mixed Voice really is the most powerful key to building a great singing voice, and voice placement when singing is the first step towards creating a powerful mixed voice.
A great place to start is the Foundation 101 singing course which will show you exactly how mixed voice functions to create a powerful, yet strain-free resonance that travels from your lowest note to your highest note in one long and fluid connected resonant tone.
If you have any questions about voice placement in singing, 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.