Hello Mr. Taylor,
Naturally I have a lower chest voice and can sing lower than most girls my age, and I can sing higher than a lot to as a soprano, but my chest voice range runs out pretty quickly. What kind of exercises or things could I do to help increase the range of my chest voice? I end up squeaking pretty fast:3
First off, chest voice doesn’t need to be taken up much higher than a G for a soprano. Most singers end up “pulling” chest voice up to and through their second bridge, but end up topping out and cracking. The better solution is to find a mix voice.
A mix voice is often mistaken as chest voice, because it has a similar fullness of sound without the tension of pulling chest voice too high. The Mix Voice is a combination of both Chest and Head voice. Chest voice mostly resonates in the chest and mouth, and head voice mostly in the head. A mix voice is a combination of both (giving you the freedom of head voice and the bite of chest).
Creating a Mix Voice is somewhat difficult in the beginning, but a good teacher should be able to help you get there. But try these tips below and see if you can’t get there yourself.
Tips for Creating a Mix Voice
- The higher you go, the more you have to narrow your vowels. So an “ee” sound will cheat more towards and “ih” sound. Think of the corners of the lips moving towards each other instead of away from each other.
- Keep a steady flow of air, neither adding or taking away air pressure. Adding more air will create tension and force the larynx higher, and taking away air will only make the sound weak and unstable.
- Keep a level or lowered larynx. The higher you sing with a full sound, the more the larynx is going to want to rise. You can counter this by singing with a more of a dopey sound. Think of imitating Scooby Doo’s voice and you should be good (naturally you won’t always sing this way, it’s just to help you counter the rising larynx… you can do this less and less once you get more comfortable singing with a lower larynx).
I also find it easier to transition from Head to Chest while coming down from your head register. Start in your head voice and work down the scale until you’re well in your chest range, making sure to keep the vowel super narrow. Once you play with this for a bit, you should be able to connect from head voice to chest voice without a break between.
If you can do it going down, you can do it going up. Just be sure not to add air pressure as you ascend up the scale. Keep it open (though narrow) and free, and let the resonance space do the work.
This isn’t a process that will happen immediately, and it’ll feel very unstable at first, but keep it up and you’ll notice your voice getting fuller and transitioning easier before you know it. Be sure your safe while practicing though and get some tips at Improve Singing through Practice before starting a strict regime
Hope this helps and good luck!
Vocal Coach Ken Taylor
As always, comment below with any questions, comments, or screams of outrage