How to Become Familiar With Your Head and Chest Voice

By | October 24, 2017

Many new vocal students, in the beginning of their studies, know nothing of the head and chest voice. Just running through some demonstrations exercises is helpful. If you want to know how to become familiar with your head and chest voice, and be able to tell which is which, try my demonstration described below.

When guiding vocal students along, once we have covered breathing, we begin “vocalizing.” Some students who come to me are already singing, but many are pure novices. I always think it’s shame not to sing with your full range, whether amateur or professional. Without your full range, many beautiful songs will be beyond your reach.

Generally, I choose an exercise that is a very simple pattern that I repeat and raise by a semi-tone, one half step (one fret on a guitar) each time. I choose a simple exercise from the Bel Canto technique that is sung to the sound of ha-ah-ah, hey-ey-ey, ho-oh-oh. The actual notes are “mi, re, do” over and over again, (each one is a whole step apart).

I will have my student sing the exercise and warm up the voice first. Then I’ll pick a spot low in their range, that will be unquestionably — full chest voice. I instruct the student that this is the chest voice and to feel what it feels like to sing there. Feel the vibration and sensations in the chest area. And then I play the exercise at the higher end of their range, even if they are not using the head voice much, I haven’t run across people that don’t use it all. I explain that they are now using the head voice and to feel the difference. I instruct them to touch their nose, their temples and upper lip and feel the vibrations. It feels different and sounds different aside from the obvious difference in pitch.

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