How to Find Vocal Registers: Chest Voice, Mix Voice, and Head Voice
Today we’re talking about vocal registers – what they are, how to find them, and how to go between them. Why is this important? Because it’s very easy to spend a lot of time wondering which register we should be in, how we can stay in one longer (usually chest voice), and how to not feel weak as we go between them.
If you have strength and connection across these registers you won’t have trouble using different dynamics and textures or singing full and strong in all parts of your range. Being able to do this means that you can express a variety of emotions seamlessly. And it also means that you have a much bigger chance of singing without having to think a lot! Today in this video we’ll be breaking down where each of these registers begin and how they feel, so you can learn to build a stronger voice!
Let’s start with where you speak. It’s in a different range than where you laugh, cry, or get excited in. When we sing, we’re being asked to go across our chest, head, and mixed ranges – on top of singing accurately with the right pitches. It’s a lot to do at once if you don’t really know where your voice registers are. Knowing that we use our different registers on a daily basis doing regular things, helps us to find them better.
Finding your voice registers.
Take a moment to try an exercise with me. Say “go” in your chest voice. This is the voice that you speak in. It’s in a range that’s familiar and comfortable. Now, try saying it in your head voice or higher range (this could be your falsetto). Think about when you’re cheering at an event as an example. That’s an easy way to quickly find your chest and head voice registers are. The sometimes elusive ‘mix voice’ is somewhere in the middle and can be a little bit tricky for some singers to find. But don’t fear, there are many ways to get there. One quick way is to say “No” – in a whiny sound to find that mix voice.
When you’re working on a new piece, don’t worry about the pitches at first.
There are other important considerations when going across your registers. For one, we want to avoid tightness in your abs and throat as you sing. Another important thing to know is that as you move into those higher parts of your voice, your body is more likely to want to hold onto the sound. This is really normal when we’re moving into parts of our voice that are outside our comfort or fitness zone. I like to think about it as fitness because with some extra training, it’s possible to reach those parts of our voices. Knowing these things actually helps us with our registers!
Keep your sound balanced from top to bottom
As you work through exercises and scales, singers often think they have to choose one voice to stick with the entire time. But the truth is that you don’t. Instead, simply focus on keeping your sound balanced from bottom to top and to bottom of the exercises. Work to have the same volume and power on each note, knowing that you will be switching between your voices – and that’s okay!
Explore your voice. Allow yourself to try things that may or may not be the perfect sound that you seek. Not everyone experiences the same things when it comes to registers. So it’s important to explore your voice, allow it to do some new things, and keep some key focuses that enable results.
If you want some exercises to help with this, check out this week’s YouTube video! I’ll walk you through how to find and change between voice registers!
Ready for a tweak to your warm up? Check out my tips on Lip Trills from last week!