The mark of a pro singer and the most commercially-used part of our voice is our mix.
In fact, I believe that when you find out how to access your mix voice, you will find your authentic, unique voice! The mix provides for us ease, power and a multitude of tonal colors to choose from.
Without a strong mix voice, it is a struggle to sing up and down our entire range without sudden, uncontrollable, ugly-sounding breaks, flipping or changes in tone quality. Sometimes we can push through our breaks with brute force, but ultimately we will end up sounding flat and getting tired quickly--needless to say, it's just not a good thing to do!
First, let's get familiar with your 2 voices:
- Chest Voice: your lower notes that resonate mostly in your chest and mouth--this sounds like your speaking voice.
- Head Voice: your higher notes that resonate mostly above your mouth--this sounds like imitating Mickey Mouse's voice.
Your goal is to create a bridge or smooth transition between the chest and head voice so that they unite as 1 connected voice. Jeffery Allen puts it best: "The head and chest voice should never be divided."
Most bridges are located on these similar notes:
- Men: the transition is between E-F-F#. For baritones, it is from A-Bb-B .
- Women: the transition is between A-Bb-B. For sopranos, it is from E-F#F.
So, how DO you create a bridge that allows you to MIX throughout your range with ease?
Here are my 3 tips to creating a healthy foundation for finding your (MIX) voice.
TIP 1: ACTIVATE YOUR BREATHING
Take a nice, activated breath and rid yourself from all unwanted tension. There should be an absence of sensation between the belly (where you support your breath) and the face (where the tone is amplified).
*Just remember this saying: "belly to face and nothing in between".
TIP 2: HIT THAT SWEET SPOT
The Sweet Spot is between your nose and mouth, in the front of the face where the mustache is. Aim your vocal vibrations there and use a "cry"-like sound, similar to a newborn baby. Click here and imitate a baby cry. Allow the sound to travel up above the mouth and ears, and then forward into the Sweet Spot. Feel the sound vibrating freely along the lining of the mouth, tongue and palate and mustache. Memorize the sensation. Next, practice getting used to this coordination at a comfortable speaking volume first--it is the quality of your tone, not the size or volume, that is desirable.
*If you are struggling to keep a clear, connected tone that is not breathy, try using "vocal edge". Made most popular by American Idol and used by over 150 Grammy Winners, this creaky sound is similar to a squeaky door hinge, and causes the inner edges of the vocal cords to connect in a brilliant way! Click here to learn how to create a connected vocal edge and mix.
TIP 3: KEEP YOUR FACE RELAXED & OPEN
Sing loosely and keep an open face. This means giving total freedom and relaxation to your facial muscles, neck, jaw and tongue. Create space in the back of your throat by having the feeling of a slight yawn (lift the soft palate and drop the jaw). Stay relaxed and gently ease into the area that wants to break/crack. Don't grip, let your face structure sag, reach up or down, or attack or push your chest voice out. Check yourself often to make sure the tension isn't creeping back into your voice.
*Allow your voice to crack instead of pushing through the break. You will find after enough practice a pleasing yet powerful tone emerging in your voice. If you push, the tension will go to your throat, and you will not be able to round off the "yelly" nature of your tone.
Mixing takes practice and time.
It requires a laser focus on constantly sending cues to your body. There is no room for mental, emotional or physical distraction, so leave all that outside of your practice space.
I can teach you how to do it, but you then have to take it and develop it on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. It is not learned, it is developed! A masterful singer trains privately for years with a qualified coach to develop and maintain their mix.