How to Get Your Voice in Shape, Part 2: Chest + Head Voice Strength
When you’re ready to start singing, or to begin singing again, it’s easy to think that you’re going to just jump back into the world with no issues. As a voice coach, I see many singers who are surprised when they realize they really can’t just jump back into their singing… and when they do, their confidence is shot. Once someone is ready to start singing again, we instead work through my four part plan to strengthen their voice so that they’re healthy (mentally and physically) to enter the world of music again. Last week, we discussed how being consistent is the first step in singing. Today, we’re going to talk about step two: creating a foundation between your chest and head voice.
Strengthening Your Voice
Before we dive into today’s topic, I want to quickly remind you that last week I shared part one of these four steps. We talked about building consistency as a singer again and you can read about that HERE. There’s two ways to approach all four of the steps I’m sharing about strengthening your voice and make it work for you. The first is a weekly method. It’s pretty simple: you do one part a week. That means the process will take you about a month. The second option is the Binge Method where you just run through all of the parts and get a feeling and self-assessment of where you are. This means you might go through the steps more quickly. The final way is the Twist. It reminds me of when you go to the ice cream shop and get a twist of chocolate and vanilla. All this method means is that you’d be combining the weekly and binge methods based on where you are and where you need to go.
Now, onto part 2 of this process!
Core Exercises to Build Foundational Strength
Most singers want to quickly build strength and stamina. When we’re ready to start working on building that foundational strength, there’s a few easy exercises you can do. I want to note that this is NOT everything you need for foundational voice strength. To learn more about that, check out my Foundations Training for more in depth training. Today, we’re talking about just 2 (of the 6) pillars in my training. We’re going to really pay attention to our chest and head voice today, nothing in between with these two exercises. Remember, we’re not truly worried about the quality of your tone right now. If you need a refresher on head and chest voice, check out this post.
Chest and Head Voice
The first thing we’re going to do is work on going from our head voice down into our chest voice at the same volume and strength. You’ll have to use that middle voice to bridge between the two but I’m not concerned about that step right now. Just focus on going between head and chest. You can do a scale and use a simple word, like “whee” (like you’re cheering at a game).
The most important thing about this is that you’re not pushing into chest voice when you come down. Everything needs to match in volume and tone. You can continue to move through the keys (I walk you through this exercise in the video!). Once you’re done, go up the scale. It seems like a very simple exercise, but the reality is that not many singers can truly go between the head and chest voices without changing volume or pushing their voice because their voice isn’t strong enough.
When we’re starting to get our voice in shape (or back in shape), it’s important to take things slowly and let yourself learn again. I know that this exercise can seem very basic. But it’s vital to hear and understand what you’re doing as a singer. If you are more advanced and you know that you can do these scales, take the time to go slowly through them. Really listen to how your voice sounds and feels. You may be surprised to find that you have some weaker spots. This is why we take working back into singing slowly!
A second exercise!
After you’ve gone through the scales, you can apply the same concept to octaves. Find an octave that you can sing both the low and high note and switch between the two. This is another quick exercise to switch between chest and head voice. Remember, it seems simple but it’s quite complex and requires you to pay attention to what you’re doing.
There you have it! Part two of getting your voice in shape is about getting the foundational strength between your head and chest voice. We want these two parts of your voice to feel balanced and connected – not like one is being pushed out over the other. Next week, we’ll talk about part 3 of getting your voice back in shape together.
Tune into today’s video to go through these exercises with me!
Want more help?
Check out my FULL Foundations Training with six areas of foundational strength to work on! By working on your voice foundations, you’ll be able to build a stronger voice, reduce vocal fatigue, and so much more!